Examining Psychometric Dimensions of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Inventory: A Cross-country Comparison between Taiwan and the United States
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The Taiwanese early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) system is modeled after the federal legislation and practices of the U.S., incorporating specific cultural beliefs in Taiwan. Nonetheless, in EI/ECSE assessments, several challenges are presented, including: (a) limited resources and funding, (b) lack of reliable and valid instruments, (c) lack of progress monitoring for at-risk children, (d) no (or limited) active role for caregivers as informants in the assessment administration process, and (e) lack of communication between parents and professionals. The Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Inventory (ASQ: Inventory) is a dual-purpose tool that can be completed by early childhood practitioners and parents for developmental screening and progress monitoring. This instrument is considered a potential solution for the challenges in Taiwanese EI/ECSE assessments. Thus, the ASQ: Inventory was translated into Traditional Chinese following rigorous procedures. Its technical adequacy, cultural appropriateness, and utility were investigated in this study. Results indicated that the Traditional Chinese ASQ: Inventory was an instrument with solid internal consistency and construct validity and that it was well accepted by parent and professional participants. The instrument was also able to document progress in children's skills measured in chronological age intervals. Additionally, items in each domain were dispersed across a wide range of difficulty levels. When comparing between the two language versions using item response theory modeling, most items demonstrated invariant response patterns between the English and Traditional Chinese ASQ: Inventory. At the sample level, Taiwanese children scored significantly higher than U.S. children in problem-solving and personal-social, whereas U.S. children scored significantly higher in fine motor at the ages of 36, 42, and 48 months. The findings of this initial investigation suggested that the Traditional Chinese ASQ: Inventory should continue to be studied with the Taiwanese population. This instrument may help accelerate the referral and identification process in EI/ECSE and promote the concept of caregiver-completed assessments. By completing the questionnaire, caregivers may have increased awareness of child development and will be able to closely oversee a child's progress and focus on strengths in his/her learning profile. Future studies should focus on studying the technical adequacy of this instrument and exploring the development of a computerized ASQ: Inventory system.