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A Factor Analysis of the Verbal Sections of the Scholastic Aptitude Test SAT

Author(s):
Coffman, William E.
Publication Year:
1966
Report Number:
RB-66-30, RDR-65-66, No. 17
Source:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Report
Page Count:
24
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, College Entrance Examinations, Factor Structure, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Verbal Tests

Abstract

The purpose of the research reported here was to make a preliminary exploration of the factor structure of the SAT-Verbal Test as a first step in the development of specifications for the test in terms of factor structure. The principal axis factors of a modified tetrachoric covariance matrix with communality estimates based on an iterative procedure were rotated to orthogonal simple structure using the quartimax and the equamax methods. The procedure was repeated twice, once with iterations based on the assumption of 7 factors and once with iterations based on the assumption of 11 factors. The equamax rotation of the 11 factor solution permits an interpretation in terms of a speed factor, 3 vocabulary factors, 2 reasoning factors, 4 reading skills factors, and a residual factor. The equamax rotation of the 7 factor solution is compatible with the 11 factor solution and indicates that differentiation in the vocabulary, reasoning, and reading areas is a function of item content. The quartimax rotation of the 7 factor solution permits an interpretation in terms of a general verbal aptitude factor accounting for over 72% of the common variance, a speed factor accounting for 9% of the variance, a small vocabulary factor accounting for 4% of the common variance, and 4 residual factors.

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