Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly D. Bradley


Parents want the best for their children. But for those who also believe in equal educational opportunity, they struggle with the moral dilemmas raised by school choice. To investigate where parents stand in this dilemma, this study is devoted to the creation of the Parents’ Awareness and Perspective of School Choice (PAPSC) scales, a survey instrument capturing a continuum of conversations surrounding parental school choice, from parents’ awareness of school choice policies or programs to debates surrounding parental freedom of school choice. This study also emphasized the use of well-developed, validated survey tools in educational policy and school choice research. This study documented the development process of the PAPSC survey which involved two phases. The first phase included the construction of a conceptual framework and an item matrix for inclusion of theoretical considerations relevant to the items, a pilot study which collected 119 responses from parents with K-12 children living in a small town in Kentucky, and initial Rasch analyses to examine if the scales met the formal requirements of measurements as defined in the Rasch model. The second phase involved a revision and addition of survey items to improve construct validity, a full implementation of the survey which collected 950 responses from Kentucky parents with P-12 children, a second series of Rasch analyses to establish psychometric properties and validation procedures, and subsequently, differential item functioning (DIF) analyses to measure how item endorsabilities varied with different demographic variables. Results confirmed unidimensionality for two of the original scales and one revised scale in the PAPSC survey. All scales exhibited good item and personal reliabilities, and their rating scales were performing as expected. There was one misfit item in the Parents’ Perspective of School Choice scale. The results yielded a new three-scale, 23-item Web-based instrument surveying parents’ awareness and perspectives of school choice policies and programs.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)