Investigation of the Validity and Reliability of a Placement Quality Survey for Measuring Rural Student Work Integrated Learning Placement Quality
This study assessed the validity and reliability of the Placement Quality Survey (PQS) for measuring rural student clinical placement quality among allied health students attending rural placements. Secondly, the association of the PQS with students’ choice of rural placements and rural self-efficacy was determined. Students attending 5–8-week placements completed a paper-based questionnaire and were also invited to complete it again later the same day for reliability testing. Reliability and validity were tested. Analysis of variance was used to investigate relationships between PQS items and composite scores with student discipline, venue of student placement, and rural self-efficacy. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology students (N = 163) participated. From the exploratory factor analysis a single factor was extracted which accounted for 62.1% of the variance. The standard one factor confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated reasonable fit but with the addition of a covariance term provided a good fit. Increased preference for rural placements was demonstrated for eight out of nine nine-item PQS items. Rural self-efficacy increased quality ratings, supporting construct validity. The Cronbach’s alpha indicated a high level of internal consistency. All item-to-item correlations indicated a high level of consistency. Test-retest Pearson’s correlations and intraclass correlation coefficients of repeatability indicated the reliability of the scale over time. This study validated the PQS in a sample of rural allied-health students. The results provided support for reliability. The study addresses the critical need for placement quality data to improve allied health students’ experiences and learning outcomes on placements and encourage systematic quality improvement processes.
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