Student Perception of Ability Scale (SPAS)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The SPAS uses perceptions of subject-specfic performance to measure academic self-concept.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Grades 3-6

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format


Administration time

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Available languages


Fee for use Access may be limited or unavailable
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

No overall scores are reported.

Subscore reporting

There are six subscores:

  • General ability
  • Arithmetic ability
  • School satisfaction
  • Reading and spelling ability
  • Penmanship and neatness
  • Confidence in academic ability
Scoring procedures

The measure is self-scored.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

There were two samples of children: one sample of grade three children from five schools in Edmonton, Canada (N=310) and one sample of students in grades 3-6 (N=642) from middle class suburban areas in Canada (Boersma et al, 1979).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) estimates ranged from 0.69 to 0.86 for the subscale scores and was estimated at 0.92 for the total score (Boersma, 1979). Test-retest reliability estimates (4-6 week interval) ranged from 0.71 to 0.82 for the subscales and was estimated at 0.83 for the total score.

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Item pool developed based on consultation with elementary school teachers and review of existing self-concept measures (Boersma et al, 1979).
Evidence based on response processes
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure
Principal components analysis found a six-component solution, consistent with six subscales (Boersma et al, 1979). Female students scored significantly higher than male students overall, consistent with previous research (Boersma et al, 1979). Students with learning disabilities scored significantly lower than their peers (Boersma et al, 1979).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Correlations with the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale (Piers, 1969) were not significant, consistent with theory that general self-concept is distinct from academic self-concept (Boersma et al, 1979). Subscale scores and overall score correlated positively with grade point average (Boersma et al, 1979).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Boersma, F. J., Chapman, J. W., & Maguire, T. O. "The Student's Perception of Ability Scale: an Instrument for Measuring Academic Self-Concept in Elementary School Children," Educational and Psychological Measurement, Vol. 39, No. 4, 1979, pp. 1035–1041.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.