The Norm Study of ONSE

The Norm Study of ONSE

The Norm Study of ONSE (Ögrenmede Nörogelisimsel Sorunları Saptama Envanteri/ Inventory for Neurodevelopmental Problems in Learning)

Family Form

Olcay Guner, Nur Dincer, Emre Konuk, Merve Soysal, Hejan Epözdemir[1]

 

INTRODUCTION

How learning occurs and the cognitive functions involved in the learning process have been a major concern of many researchers over more than a hundred years. Many theories and constructs have been developed to explain the process (Caine & Caine, 2002).  The assessments of the functions which are assumed to play a part in learning have also been a major concern. Numerous tests and checklists have been designed to assess different functions which are thought to play a part in learning (Swartz et al 1999).

Although some assessment instruments for learning problems are also available in Turkey, instruments which enable a thorough evaluation of attention and learning and consequently the development of an intervention plan are lacking (Ünal and etc. 2004 and Karaman et al, 2006) So, a new inventory for the assessment of areas involved in learning was developed based on the fact that the available instruments are mostly adapted from another culture and are not standardized and since many tests and checklists are culture-bound the results that are valid in one culture may be quite different in another culture. In addition, many instruments evaluate only a few functions involved in learning, thus making it impossible to see the whole picture. Finally, these evaluations are usually carried out on one-to-one basis with the child, excluding the observations of the parents and the teachers, two very valuable sources of information.

As a result, the scarce resources which were available in Turkey and the need to develop a culture-sensitive instrument have led the authors to develop a new instrument. ONSE was developed out of this necessity by the clinicians who are working at Institute for Behavioral Studies (DBE).

In the development process of ONSE, the learning model (information processing) founded by Dr. Mel Levine has been used as the theoretical basis, since this construct overlapped with the authors’ conception of the learning process.  Dr. Levine has defined eight neurodevelopmental constructs which are necessary for optimal learning (Levine, 2002). These constructs are the attention control system, the memory system, the language system, the spatial ordering system, the sequential ordering system, the motor system, the higher thinking system and the social thinking system (Levine, 2002). Consequently, ONSE was designed similar to Dr. Levine’s model and at the end of the analyses the subscales of ONSE were indicated as presented below:

  1. Attention control subsystem consists of 37 items. Having a good attention control requires us to choose the right stimulus that will take us to our goal, process the information and store it in the right place; to stay focused during all this time and delay the pleasure if necessary (Levine, 2002).
  2. Impulsivity subsystem consists of 29 items. Impulsivity is a behavior characterized by the tendency of an individual to act on impulse rather than though (Ekşi, 1999). For example, a child can’t wait in the line, acts without thinking and gets in trouble and etc.
  3. Complex cognitive processes consist of four subsystems; sequential ordering, problem solving, arithmetic and memory (Levine, 2002).
  • Sequential ordering subsystem consists of 14 items. It requires a child to follow a specific order such as time, seasons, month…It requires a child to use appropriate finger and hand movements while tying his shoes and explaining the theme of a movie in the right order (Güner, 2006). We usually use sequential ordering in our daily lives when we cook, try to get to our appointments, tell a joke; in our school lives when we are spelling a word, doing a math problem, planning our study time and etc.
  • Problem solving subsystem consists of 12 items. It requires us to think step by step when we are trying to solve a problem or an event, to evaluate every step taken, and regulate the speed used while trying to the result (Levine, 1993).
  • Arithmetic subsystem consists of 6 items. The category suggests that creating concepts and learning with using these concepts makes learning and remembering easier (Levine, 2003). For example, red fruits, fruits with seeds and etc.
  • Memory subsystem consists of 9 items. It is an ability that we mostly use in our school lives (Lindsay , Tomazic, Accardo , Levine, 1996). Its job is to store the information. If our memory system is leakless and non-damaged then it makes our school lives easier.
  1. Language subsystem consists of 30 items. It is the most important communication tool that we use (Güner, 2006). It is one of the most common skills that we use at school in terms of writing, reading, spelling and mathematics. To be able to get the information and transform it, it is important to master it. We use our language ability when we write a paper, answer test questions, read a mathematic problem and understand it; in our daily lives we use language when we communicate with other people, read a poem, explain our feelings and etc.
  2. Spatial ordering consists of 21 items. It requires us to be able to master every part of a whole at the same time and to place them in our minds in the right order (Levine,1990). For example, finding out the broken part of an engine at first sight, being good at giving directions and finding directions and etc…
  3. Fine motor skills subsystem consists of 14 items. It is the ability to use our finger and hand muscles appropriately. If we can carry out the connection between our brain and fingers fast and simultaneously then our fine motor skill is working well. For example, using scissors, writing, tying a shoe and etc…
  4. Gross motor skills consists of 6 items. It consists of broad muscle activities. Gross motor skill requires to hold a ball with using the big muscle groups in our body, ride a bicycle, performing a physical activity, dance and etc.
  5. Social thinking subsystem consists of 16 items. It is also called “emotional intelligence”. It consists of many subsystems that play an important role in determining the success in our social lives. Some of these subsystems are; being political, communicating, being a good listener, being thruster, starting a relationship and continuing a relationship, and etc (Güner, 2006 and Levine, 2005).

The development of ONSE was conducted in three steps. Firstly, the need for a standardized, thorough and culture-sensitive instrument to obtain data about the child from two major observant, namely the parent and the teacher have led the authors to a thorough review of the relevant literature.  Nine clinicians have developed questions according to Dr. Levine’s neurodevelopmental construct for learning, making use of the common expressions of parents, teachers and children used to describe a certain behavior. So items were written and crosschecked and consequently ONSE was prepared for the administration for both family and school forms separately. The next step included the data gathering. ONSE was given to parents and teachers of children between the ages of 6-16 years of age. 696 family inventories were filled out by the mother or the father of the child or both of them, consisting of 473 clinical and 223 non-clinical children.  546 school inventories were filled out by the class teacher, consisting of 373 clinical and 173 non-clinical children. And lastly, the reliability and validity analyses were done for both family and school forms.

The reliability analyses of ONSE included internal consistency and test-retest correlations which were conducted for both family and school forms separately. While for the family form Cronbach’s alpha coefficients of the ONSE subscales were found between .80 and 95, for the school form they ranged from .89 to .97. The other evidence supporting the reliability of ONSE was to quite high test-retest correlations in one-week interval for both family and school forms (r=.87 -.97, r=.85-.98 respectively).

For the validity of ONSE several analyses were performed including construct, concurrent and content validity for both family and school forms seperately.

To determine the construct validity, factor analysis, correlations of two forms, inter-scale correlations and the comparision of clinical and non-clinical samples were calculated.

The results of the factor analysis showed that both inventories were divided into eight basic categories. However the neurodevelopmental constructs of Dr. Mel Levine that were adopted at the starting point were renamed after the content and factor analyses were carried out. The categories were renamed as; attention control, impulsivity, complex cognitive processes, language, spatial ordering, fine motor, gross motor and social thinking. “Complex cognitive processes” system was formed with four subsystems, namely sequential ordering, problem-solving, arithmetic and memory, a system which resembles the “executive functions” mentioned frequently in literature. The item number in the Family Inventory was reduced from 256 to 194, and in School Inventory from 245 to 197.  The results of the Family and School Inventories support each other; the correlations are significant, although the coefficients are not as high as to signal identical tests.  This finding supports the view that these two instruments measure the same constructs, but that their individual contributions are also significant.

 

The results of inter-correlations of the ONSE were acceptable for both family and school forms (r= .17-.92, r= .21-.95, respectively).

Lastly the comparison of clinical and non-clinical samples was another evidence of construct validity. The results demonstrated that all of the subscales of ONSE mean scores of the clinical sample were significantly higher than those of the non-clinical sample

In order to determine concurrent validity, the correlations between the Turkish version of WISC-R and both forms of ONSE were calculated. The results indicated that except for the impulsivity system, gross and fine motor systems, and spatial ordering system all the systems have significant correlations with the total standard score of WISC-R.

The content validity is examined with item-scale correlations. Item-scale correlations were calculated for both family and school forms seperately and they were found to be acceptable and supporting the content validity.

Overall these results demonstrated that ONSE is a valid and reliable instrument to use with Turkish children and adolescents. The items in the inventories were evaluated as very comprehensive and leading to a better understanding of the child, both by parents and teachers, thus supporting the mission of the inventories.

The purpose of this study was to calculate the age-based norms of ONSE Family Form for the Turkish child and adolescent population. For this purpose, a norm study was performed on the standardization sample.

 

METHOD

Sample

ONSE was given to 631 mothers of children between the ages of 6-16 (311 girls, 319 boys). Table 1 presents descriptive of the sample.

Instrument

Demographic Information Form (DIF): Information about certain variables such as gender of children, mother’s and father’s age, mother’s and father’s education, occupational and employment status of parents, number of siblings etc. variables were obtained through the DIF.

ONSE (Inventory for Neurodevelopmental Problems in Learning) Family Form:

 ONSE Family Form is consist of 194 items and 8 neuro-developmental subsystems including attention, impulsivity, complex cognitive process, language, spatial ordering, fine motor, gross motor, and social thinking. It was reliable and valid instrument which are reported the details above.

Procedure

The data was gathered by a professional research company. As for the main criteria, Socio-Economic-Status (SES) was determined. Data was collected from 4 levels of SES that are A, B, C1, C2 according to the father’s SES, if considered as the head of the family (see Table 2 for SES criteria). The company indicated the schools to reach mothers for data-gathering according to SES criteria related with areas in Istanbul. Table two presents the criteria for socio economic status.

 

Results

The norm study of ONSE was done in two steps. Firstly influence of demographic variables such as gender of children, mother age, mother education, number of siblings, SES were examined. And after that the norm calculation of ONSE was done by age.

  1. Influence of Demographic Variables

For the norm study of ONSE, DIF (Demographic Information Form) was used and analyzed for demonstrating effect of demographic variables. But in the current study, only the results of some of them such as gender of children, mother’s age and education, SES, number of siblings etc. were reported.

  1. Influence of Gender on Raw ONSE Scores

Raw scores of children were compared according to gender using independent sample t-test. These result indicated that attention, impulsivity, language, and fine motor subsystems were significantly different by gender according to their mothers report. Regarding to these results, boys skills lower than girls’ in these areas. Table 3 presents the influence of gender.

  1. Influence of Mother’s Age

Influence of mother age which were categorized as “young mothers”, “middle-aged mothers” and “senior mothers” on the scores were examined using ANOVA (see Table 1 for age-group). The results indicated that there were significant differences on the complex cognitive process system including sequential ordering, problem solving, memory, and arithmetic, and subscales of language and spatial ordering. Group differences on the scores were investigated by Post-hoc analyses with Scheffe test. Although all group differences were not found to be significant, the overall tendency of the mean scores demonstrated that means of these subscales decreased when mothers’ age increased.

  1. Influence of Mother’s Education

Influence of mother education which were categorized as “primary school”, “secondary school”, “high school”, and “university and above” on the scores were examined using ANOVA (see Table 2 for education-group). The results indicated that there were significant differences on the complex cognitive process system including sequential ordering, problem solving, memory, and arithmetic, and subscales of attention, impulsivity, language and social thinking. Group differences on the scores were investigated by Post-hoc analyses with Scheffe test. Although all group differences were not found to be significant, the overall tendency of the mean scores demonstrated that means of these subscales decreased when mother’s education increased.

  1. Influence of Number of Siblings

Influence of number of siblings which were categorized as “one child”, “two children”, “three children”, and “four children and above” on the scores were examined using ANOVA. The results indicated that there were significant differences on the problem solving, spatial ordering and fine motor subscales. Group differences on the scores were investigated by Post-hoc analyses with Scheffe test. Although all group differences were not found to be significant, the overall tendency of the mean scores demonstrated that means of these subscales decreased when number of siblings increased.

  1. Influence of SES

Influence of mother education which were categorized as “primary school”, “secondary school”, “high school”, and “university and above” on the scores were examined using ANOVA (see Table 2 for education-group). The results indicated that there were significant differences on the complex cognitive process system including sequential ordering, problem solving, memory, and arithmetic, and subscales of attention, impulsivity, language and social thinking. Group differences on the scores were investigated by Post-hoc analyses with Scheffe test. Although all group differences were not found to be significant, the overall tendency of the mean scores demonstrated that means of these subscales decreased when mother’s education increased.

  1. Norm Calculations

Norm calculations were computed for all ONSE subsystems and from the raw score data acquired from the non-clinical sample according to age. T scores were derived to have a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. Percentiles and T scores were calculated for all of ONSE subsystems by age.

 

DISCUSSION

The fact that ONSE is an inventory filled by parents the objectivity of parents about their children becomes seriously important. Some factors on parents who filled the inventory  affect objectivity of their evaluation such as knowledge about cognitive, social, developmental, psychological characteristics of the related age; observation on own child and peers; ability to compare their child with others; the achievement expectance from their child. At this regard, it is expected that there will be differences in variables such as families’ socioeconomic level, education level, number of siblings, age of mother, children’ gender. As researches are trying to explain which influences are related to intelligence, they separate the possible environmental influences into specific factors. These factors include parents’ education, socioeconomic level, intelligence, clarity of speech, approach to discipline, number of books at home, relative visit frequency, safety of game area, number of siblings and their position within them due to age.

We found in our study that as mother’s age increases; there are fewer problems in children’s sequential ordering, problem solving, sum of high cognitive processes, language and spatial ordering skills. This diminution can be explained with the increase at skills and experience about children on mothers. The areas defined above are able to develop by mother passing her experience to her children, so, we can say that as mother’s age increases, children develop in these areas by learning. Also, as mother’s age and information level increases, she can make objective observations. “Children of young mothers score more poorly on cognitive and socioemotional measures and are at higher risk of poor school achievement than children of older mothers”

Another result of our study is that as mother’s education level increases; there are fewer problems defined in attention, impulsiveness, language, cognitive processes, and social thinking areas. As mother’s education level increases, they collect more information about children in different age groups by reading, searching and asking professionals. Alexander suggested that the parents’ abilities to form accurate beliefs and expectations regarding their children’s performance are essential in structuring the home and educational environment so that they can excel in post schooling endeavors”.

Another result of our study is that there are fewer problems defined in problem solving, spatial ordering and fine motor skill areas when the number of siblings increases. It can be related to the reason of mother’s improvement on comparative observation as the number of sibling increases and her experience. Also, it can be thought that siblings develop these skills by imitating each other. Imitation and modeling can stimulate thought and serves for skills to get better. (Gander, 2007) Samuels and Cicirelli suggest that there are many evidences showing little siblings changing behaviors in many ways as a reaction to their older siblings’ actions. The importance of child’s gender and position are also demonstrated in parent-child interaction researches. Another result of our study identifies more problems in male children’s attention, impulsivity, language and fine motor skills related to gender factor. Despite some discussion, females in middle childhood have more verbal skills than males (Gander, 2007). This can especially be the result of Turkey’s cultural structure. In Turkish society, families have more expectations from their male children compared to their females. “The fact that parents expectations from their child to success more than his/her capacity and to put pressure causes anxiety which influences child’s success (Nar, 2005). Because of families perceiving their male child’s fine motor, language, attention and impulsive skills as their future success, it is possible that they criticize their male children more than their females. Jacobs suggested that parents’ attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about their children’s academic self and task beliefs are more critical in some instances than either the children’s own academic performance or classroom experiences. (Eccles, 1992).

Another result of our study is that, as the socioeconomic level increases, there were found less problem at the sum of attention complex cognitive skills and complex cognitive skills subsystems( eg: arithmetics, memory, sequential ordering, problem solving.).  These results can be related to reasons as: the increase of economical facilities and environmental opportunities supply more activities and materials for the development. “Children develop many of the cognitive skills when they play. Decision making, memory, strategy, observation, spatial ordering, problem solving and creative thinking are the most important ones of cognitive skills. Many of the table games allow children to develop their recognition of letters, numbers and colors; and to develop spelling, counting, and reading.” (Gander et al., p.279). Many previous research shows that moving from a poor environment to a richer one, seems to provide a significant improvement on children’s cognitive abilities. (Gardner et al., p.380).  Moreover, the level of knowledge and awareness may be arising and therefore the family may be judging the children more objectively and therefore “Family economic conditions in early childhood have the greatest impact on achievement, especially among children in families with low incomes. Sibling models support the hypothesis that economic conditions in early childhood are important determinants of completed schooling.” (Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, Yeung & Smith, p.406).

Norm studies show that there were fewer problems experienced when the age grew except the gross motor skills.  It can be related to the factors of improving skills, gaining experience, having self-control, and identifying vulnerable features and trying to fix them. But we can interpret the increase at the gross motor skills normally because of the distortion of coordination at the beginning of the adolescence years, especially after the age of 12. Forasmuch as “during the development process, hands and foot grow faster than other body parts, and this may lead to clumsiness and bungle.” ( Gander at al., p.445).

Norm studies run on ONSE Inventory Family Form indicates that this inventory may be used for identifying the learning problems of children aged between 6,5-16. For the next step, norm studies of school are going to be run. After that, a treatment package that is inline with the assessment result will be presented to mental health professionals for the children, who have learning problems.

 

REFERENCES

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Perceptions, and Activity Choices. In J.E. Jacobs, Developmental Perspectives on Motivation ( p.146). USA: University of Nebraska Press.

Ekşi A. (1999) Ben Hasta Değilim: Çocuk Sağlığı ve Hastalıklarının Psikososyal Yönü.                   İstanbul: Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri.

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Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of Sample

Age of the Father N % Age of the Mother N %
18-30 65 2.20 18-30 65 10.30
31-40 342 38.80 31-40 342 54.20
41 + 224 58.40 41 + 224 35.50
Missing 3 0.5 Missing 12 1.90
Education Level of The Father Education Level of The Mother
Primary School 164 26 Primary School 284 45.10
Secondary School 104 16.50 Secondary School 75 11.90
High School 215 34.10 High School 178 28.20
University and above 147 23.30 University and above 93 14.70
Missing 1 0.20 Missing 1 0.20
Mother Occupational Status Father Occupational Status
Working 188 29.79 Working 601 95.24
Non-working 435 68.93 Non-working 1 0.15
Retired 8 1.26 Retired 29 5.00

 

Table 2 Socio-Economic-Status Criteria

A Above the

Average Level

Professions that don’t require physical activity, top executive/manager, qualified work
B Average Level Professions that don’t require physical activity, middle manager, qualified work
C1 Below the

Average Level

Professions that don’t require physical activity, junior executive, managerial work, civil servant, small business
C2 Qualified Employee Qualified, educated, physical workers

 

Table 3 Influence of Gender

Variables Gender N M SD t df p
Attention Female 311 45,88 28,78 -3,638 628 ,000***
Male 319 54,18 28,48
Impulsivity Female 311 46,44 28,26 -3,125 628 ,002**
Male 319 53,59 29,13
Sequential Ordering Female 311 49,16 26,92 -0,798 628 0,425
Male 319 50,88 27,16
 Problem Solving Female 311 48,97 28,23 -0,953 628 0,341
Male 319 51,13 28,65
Arithmetics Female 311 49,30 23,31 -0,846 628 0,398
Male 319 50,88 23,60
 Memory Female 311 48,17 27,25 -1,677 628 0,094
Male 319 51,83 27,43
Complex Cognitive     Processes Total Female 311 48,44 29,10 -1,379 628 0,168
Male 319 51,60 28,38
Language Female 311 45,30 28,90 -4,152 628 ,000***
Male 319 54,70 27,93
Spatial Ordering Female 311 48,60 24,89 -1,323 628 0,186
Male 319 51,38 27,78
Fine Motor Female 311 43,95 26,67 -5,369 628 ,000***
Male 319 55,94 29,29
Gros Motor Female 311 48,90 26,18 -1,041 628 0,298
Male 319 51,10 27,08
Social Thinking Female 311 47,90 28,81 -1,849 628 0,65
  Male 319 52,12 28,5

 

 

Yayımlandığı Tarih: 17 Haziran 2017