The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Validation of a Mckinney-Vento Act Implementation Scale

Saturday, January 19, 2013
Grande Ballroom A, B, and C (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
James Park Canfield, PhD, Researcher, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Purpose: Homeless children often experience barriers to educational attainment. The McKinney-Vento Act was designed to ameliorate access to school enrollment and other barriers that homeless children experience in educational attainment. Whether this policy is working or not is a debatable question because there have been minimal evaluative efforts that have investigated state and local compliance. To date there are no national studies and only a few qualitative studies designed to examine implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act. Thus, a quantitative measurement tool designed to evaluate compliance would aid in future research as well as further the current knowledge base on homeless policy.

The primary objective of this study is to determine whether an implementation scale based on McKinney-Vento Act provisions comprised of three constructs (preparedness, accessibility, and collaboration) can be validated. Conceptually, the notion of implementation is defined as adhering to notions of preparedness, accessibility, and collaboration in upholding the rights to obtain education for homeless children. It contains three domains: preparation (having specific policies and procedures for working with homeless children made available to school personnel), accessibility (executing policies and procedures for making education available to homeless children in geographic, economic, administrative, cognitive, and psychosocial terms), and collaboration (contacting and utilizing outside agencies to aid homeless children obtain an education. This study aimed to confirm this conceptual model through examination of item responses.

Methods: A convenience sample of 201 mid-west school social work conference attendees completed a cross-sectional survey including a 26 item scale developed to measure implementation through preparation, accessibility, and collaboration. Additional variables were included to assess level of licensure, practice interaction with the homeless, and awareness of homeless policy and issues. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted along with several tests of model fit including: CFI, TLI, RMSEA, SRMR, and X2. Convergent and discriminate validity tests were run as well as alpha coefficients and alpha-if-item deleted coefficients for each construct.

Results: The alpha coefficients for each construct, compliance (.94), preparation (.87), accessibility (.91), and collaboration (.92), indicate high levels of item association between the items. All tests for model fit met their respective cut score criterion which indicates that the proposed model was statistically appropriate. Convergent and discriminate hypotheses were upheld, providing evidence of validity for proposed constructs..    

Implications: With preliminary confirmation of this measure’s validity and reliability, future study should focus on two aspects: further confirmation (i.e. test-retest and construct validity), and scale utility. Samples in other locations would aid in determining if the constructs hold up over different geographic areas. Ideally this scale will be used to enhance policy analysis on the McKinney-Vento Act by creating a quantitative option to evaluate the provisions under this legislation.