Reliability of SQ Numbers

Average SQ variation is +/- 7 This variability is considered middle range and "will provide accurate and efficient assessments" in the calculation of IQ numbers.

To test the reliability (or stability) of SQ numbers, several experiments were conducted in the spring of 1999. In Vallejo (CA) High School's Business Academy program, where most of the students know each other quite well, the SQ survey was conducted with two classes squeezed into one large room. SQ scores were calculated normally for each class, then recalculated by the marks of the visiting or different class. For one class, the average difference in individual SQ scores was 14.8 points, while it was 13.9 points for the other class. Since the variations were both up and down (no discernable pattern), an SQ score can be described as plus or minus 7 from an individual's true SQ score.

A second experiment took existing class data, divided the data in half, then calculated the resulting changes in SQ for the two marking halves. One split class showed +/- 6 in SQ scores, another split class showed +/-7. A third class with a low internal correlation (the students didn't know each other well) showed +/- 8 when split. A +/- 7 statement appears in individual SQ printouts just above the SQ score (at lower right)

Individual SQ's can vary substantially

Even in groups that know each other well, some individuals get highly variable scores. When Business Academy period 4 was marked by period 2, one student's SQ increased by 33, while another's dropped 29 points. But period 4 students as a group averaged +/- 7 SQ points.

In Vallejo High School, six students took the SQ survey twice. All were Business Academy students moving from a small class that knew them well to a larger, more impersonal class. Their scores changed from 112 to 119, 120 to 99, 117 to 117, 72 to 106, 54 to 99, and 84 to 121. The last three scored much higher where they were less well known. Different teachers marking these same students on their social skills changed from D to A, B to C, A to B, E to A and D to ---, and B to C.

SQ numbers more reliable than perceptions of a skilled observer Even though SQ scores for some of the above six individuals varied substantially, their marks by teachers often varied even more. The changes from D and A, or E to A point out the lack of consistency in recommendations that an employer or college admissions office might receive from a high school teacher. Each teacher may have good reasons for their marks, but a reviewer ought to be careful using just one or two opinions (including his own from an interview). Teachers regularly show a preference for SQ numbers over their own opinions: "Too much to put on one person's judgement."

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