Iowa Measurement Research Fund Report

Further Validation of the Healthcare Interest and Career Expectations Assessment (HICEA)

Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Division of Quantitative and Psychological Foundation

Counseling Psychology Program

Given the importance of accurately measuring the cognitive-person components of career development and the lack of measures targeting rural Iowan minority children and STEM interest, the Project H.O.P.E. team created and has been utilizing a set of measures. We were awarded funding last year (2013-2014) to validate the developed measures of health career development of 8th grade Iowan minority students.


Participants and Procedures

We collected data from 250 8th grade participants. The HICEA measures (described below) were administered along with the concurrent validity measures via an online survey. The measures required approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Healthcare Interest and Career Expectations Assessment

Interests.  A 14-item subset assess students’ interest in performing various healthcare career-related activities and searching for information about healthcare careers.  Individuals are asked to indicate how much they like doing each activity with one of six Likert scale style options including Like Extremely, Like Very Much, Like Slightly, Dislike Slightly, Dislike Very Much, and Dislike Extremely.  Item examples include, “Searching for information about healthcare careers,” “Shadowing a healthcare professional,” and “Taking classes related to careers in the healthcare profession.”

Self-Efficacy.  Perceived self-efficacy is assessed in two different areas—career search and tasks associated with healthcare careers.  Twenty items are keyed toward self-efficacy related to searching for a career.  Items ask individuals to indicate how confident they are in their ability to perform various career search tasks on a Likert scale (Complete Confidence, Much Confidence, Moderate Confidence, Very Little Confidence, or No Confidence).  These include items such as, “I feel confident I can find information about healthcare jobs that fit my talents,” “I feel confident I can talk to a school counselor about my healthcare career interests,” and “I feel confident I can find information about healthcare jobs that involve math.”

Another 11 items are keyed toward self-efficacy related to various tasks that are associated with healthcare and STEM careers.  Individuals are asked to indicate on a Likert scale how confident they are that they could perform the various activities (Very Confident, Fairly Confident, Somewhat Confident, Somewhat Unconfident, Fairly Unconfident, or Very Unconfident).  These were developed based on the scientific method and include items such as, “I feel confident I could form a hypothesis about an animal’s life cycle,” “I feel confident I could gather information to help me form a hypothesis,” and “I feel confident I could look at the results of an experiment and draw conclusions about what they might mean.”

Outcome Expectations.  Career outcome expectations, both general and healthcare-related, are evaluated through 15 items on a Likert scale. Participants are asked to indicate how much they agree with each statement (Strongly Agree, Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree).  Examples of items include, “If I try to learn more about different careers, then I will know what I want to be when I grow up,” “If I choose a college major with a lot of math and science, I will be able to pursue a career in healthcare,” and “I’m going to start paying more attention to my strengths, weaknesses, and interests so that I can choose a career that is a good fit for me.”

Concurrent Validity Measures

Math-Science Self Efficacy Scale (MSSES). This scale is comprised of 12 items. In each item, students responded to the stem "Indicate your ability to do each of the following statements by circling the appropriate numbers: 1 = very high, 2 = high ability, 3 = uncertain, 4 = low ability, and 5 = very low ability. Scores could range from 12 to 60 with higher values indicating lower self-efficacy. Internal consistency reliability for the Math-Science Self-Efficacy (MSSE) scale was reported as .84.  in Fouad and Smith (1996).

Math-Science Outcome Expectation Scale (MSOES). The math-science outcome expectations scale (MSOES; Fouad & Smith, 1996) is comprised of 7-items to be answered using a 5-point Likert scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Lower scores on this scale indicated higher agreement outcome expectations. For the purpose of this study, one item was omitted, leaving three items related to math and three items related to science. Participants were asked to “Please rate how much you agree or disagree with each statement below. Select the appropriate letters to the right of each statement.” Examples of items are: “If I do well in science classes in middle school, then I will do well in high school” and “If I take a lot of math courses, then I will be better able to achieve my future goals.” Fouad and Smith (1996) reported an internal consistency reliability of .80 with a middle school sample. For this study, the MSOE scale showed internal consistency reliability (pre-test α = .84, post-test α = .88).

Math-Science Intention Scale (MSINT). The math-science intention scale (MSIS; Fouad & Smith, 1996) consists of six items ranked using a 5-point Likert scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Lower scores indicate a higher level of overall agreement with the statements of intention. For this study, participants were given the same instructions as those for the MSOES. Examples of items include: “I am determined to use science in my future careers” and “I want to enter a career that will use math.” For this study, the MSINT yielded an internal consistency reliability of (pre-test α = .35, post-test α = .52).

Math-Science Interest Scale (MSITR). The math-science interest scale (Fouad & Smith, 1996) was developed using Holland’s theory of vocational types. Participants are instructed to rank 20 items on a 3-point Likert scale of 1 (Like) to 3 (Dislike) how much interest they have in specific activities. Sample items include: “Visiting a museum” and “Participating in a science fair.” Total scores for the scale can range from 20-60, with lower scores indicating more interest in the activities. Fouad and Smith (1996) reported a reliability of .90 for this scale, while Navarro et al. (2007) similarly reported an internal consistency reliability of .91. For this study, the MSITR scale demonstrated an internal consistency reliability of (pre-test α = .91, post-test α = .91).


We are still in the process of  finalizing the analyses of the data for this project. We have been able to present preliminary findings through the following presentations.


Ali, S.R. (2013, August). Project HOPE (Health Occupations, Preparation, and Exploration) for Rural Under Served Students. Symposium presented at the 121stAnnual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, HI.

Ali, S.R., Burke, M., Brooks, D. & Pham, A. (2014). Socio-political development and career education programs: A pilot study. Symposium paper presented at the 11th Biennial Conference of the Society for Vocational Psychology. Coimbra, Portugal.

Jones, D., Cannella, E., Ali, S.R. Effectiveness of an SCCT-Based Healthcare Career Intervention With Underrepresented Middle-Schoolers. Submitted poster for the American Psychological Association 123rd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada. 


The following publications are also in progress that we hope to have under review by the end of the semester.


Publications In Process:

Ali, S. R., Fosenburg, S., Menke, K.A., Rowe-Johnson, M. & Burke, M.K. (in preparation). The examination of the socio-cognitive effects of a large scale implementation of Project HOPE with middle school students: A Hierarchical Linear Analysis.

Ali, S.R., Pham, A.,  Loh, Y., Burke, M., Jones, A., & Cannella, E.  (2014). Socio-political development and health career education programs: A quasi experimental pilot study.