Asee peer logo

The Student Attitudinal Success Inventory III (SASI III): Construct Validity and Measurement Invariance

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Assessing Hard-to-Measure Constructs in Engineering Education: Assessment Design and Validation Studies

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jiaqi Zhang University of Cincinnati


P.K. Imbrie University of Cincinnati

visit author page

P.K. Imbrie is the Head and Professor of the Department of Engineering Education and a Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
University of Cincinnati. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University. He is an advocate for research-based approaches to engineering education, curricular reform, and student retention. Imbrie conducts both traditional, as well as educational research in experimental mechanics, piezospectroscopic techniques, epistemologies, assessment, and modeling of student learning, student success, student team effectiveness, and global competencies He helped establish the scholarly foundation for engineering education as an academic discipline through lead authorship of the landmark 2006 JEE special reports “The National Engineering Education Research Colloquies” and “The Research Agenda for the New Discipline of Engineering Education.” He has a passion for designing state-of-the-art learning spaces. While at Purdue University, Imbrie co-led the creation of the First-Year Engineering Program’s Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Learning Laboratory, a design-oriented facility that engages students in team-based, socially relevant projects. While at Texas A&M University Imbrie co-led the design of a 525,000 square foot state-of-the-art engineering education focused facility; the largest educational building in the state. His expertise in educational pedagogy, student learning, and teaching has impacted thousands of students at the universities for which he has been associated. Imbrie is nationally recognized for his work in active/collaborative learning pedagogies, teaming and student success modeling. His engineering education leadership has produced fundamental changes in the way students are educated around the world.

Imbrie has been a member of ASEE since 2000 and has been actively involved with the Society in various capacities. He has served in multiple leadership roles in the ERM and FPD divisions, including: ERM board of directors (2002-2004), program chair for ERM (2005 and 2009), ERM program chair for Frontiers in Education (FIE) (2004), FIE Steering Committee ERM representative (2003-2009), as well as program chair (2016) and division chair (2016-17) for FPD. He has also served on two ASEE advisory committees.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The retention of engineering students, from admission to graduation, is an international concern in engineering education for a long time. Increasing the retained engineering students can potentially possible to increase the number of engineering graduates. Thus, it is crucial to predict or identify students with propensities to drop out of an engineering program, particularly for first-year undergraduate students. Engineering programs admit students with influential cognitive factors, such as grade point average (GPA) and standardized test scores (e.g., SAT and ACT scores), to predict their academic success in university settings. However, non-cognitive factors have been identified as evidence for students' retention and academic achievement.

The Student Attitudinal Success Instrument was developed to quantify non-cognitive characteristics of first-year engineering students before entering colleges or universities. The original SASI consists of 161 items assessing nine specific non-cognitive constructs. Later on, five more non-cognitive constructs have been added to the SASI II. After the first development of SASI in 2004, the instrument has been utilized as an important measure to model student retention in the engineering education.

As evidence accumulated, the third version of SASI, namely SASI III, consists 140 items quantifying 16 latent constructs. Therefore, it is necessary to validate the SASI III with modified items, because modifications in factors and items potentially change the original psychometric properties. In addition to differences in cohorts, students take SASI III twice during their first semester. There are two time-related grouping variables: cohorts (2018 vs. 2019) and occasions (pre -survey vs. post-survey). Whenever psychometric properties are interpreted, it is critical to examine whether the measurement model tests the hypothesis that similar interpretation can be derived from the data across groups. Unfortunately, previous studies fail to consider grouping variables when validating SASI or SASI II.

Thus, this study aims to 1). validate the SASI III with the new set of constructs and items, and 2). examine whether the inventory performance the same across cohorts and occasions. To accomplish these goals, the following research questions are proposed:

1. What level of reliability for each construct in the SASI III overall, over cohorts and occasions? 2. What is the evidence of construct validity of the SASI III, overall, over cohorts and occasions?

To answer research question one, the internal consistency reliability analysis is conducted for each construct. The index Cronbach’s α is reported for the overall data set, each cohort, each occasion, and both cohort and occasion. To answer research question two, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and multiple groups CFA (MG-CFA) are conducted to examine the established factor structure of the SASI III. The goal for CFA and MG-CFA in this study were to 1). provide evidence of the construct validity of the SASI III as a whole, 2). test a hypothesized factor structure and evaluate whether the same general factor structure of the SASA III is supported in cohorts and occasions.

Zhang, J., & Imbrie, P. (2021, July), The Student Attitudinal Success Inventory III (SASI III): Construct Validity and Measurement Invariance Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015