Measurement of job motivation in TEDS-M: testing for invariance across countries and cultures
Laschke and Blömeke Large-scale Assess Educ
Measurement of job motivation in TEDS‑M: testing for invariance across countries and cultures
The paper presents the challenges of cross-country and cross-cultural research on the motivation to become a mathematics teacher based on data from the “Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M)”. Referring to studies from cross-cultural psychology, measurement invariance (MI) of constructs representing different motivations to become a teacher was examined in confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) across the countries that participated in TEDS-M. The data supported metric invariance which means that comparing relationships between motivation and other constructs across countries is permitted, with the exception of extrinsic motivation in Taiwan. Scalar invariance was not supported by the data across countries but across cultures: Scale means can be compared between Germany, Switzerland and (with regard to intrinsic motivation) Norway and Poland as well as between Singapore and Taiwan (with regard to the intrinsic motivation) and Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand (again regarding intrinsic motivation).
Measurement invariance; Cross-cultural comparison; Job motivation
Many countries face difficulties in recruiting teaching candidates particularly for
mathematics. To learn what motivates teacher candidates to go into teaching can therefore be
useful from a policy perspective. Motivations to teach have already been assessed within
many national studies. However, comparative evidence of future teachers’ job
motivation is rare although countries could learn from each other about potential factors which
motivate people to become a teacher, how to recruit teaching candidates or about
potential outcomes of teachers’ job motivation.
The largest comparative study that provides information about mathematics future
teachers’ job motivation is available from the Teacher Education and Development
Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M; Tatto et al. 2008). Based on these data, we are for the
first time able to examine research questions related to this construct across countries.
An important challenge of such large-scale assessments though is to ensure that
selfreported data collected are measuring the object of interest in the respective countries
and cultures in the same way. Due to different frames of references between countries
and cultures, cultural response biases, translation errors, or cultural differences in
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understanding the underlying construct, the comparability of constructs could be
threatened (Markus and Kitayama 1991; Rutkowski and Svetina 2014, p. 51). This is
particularly true for affective constructs as motivation, which are assessed via self-reports (Van
de Vijver and Tanzer 2004). For that reason, testing for different levels of equivalence
of scales is required before relating motivation to teach to other constructs or even to
compare scale means, in order to avoid inappropriate use of data across different groups.
The aim of the present study is therefore to examine, whether the set of motivations
to become a teacher assessed by TEDS-M could be used to construct motivation scales
which are related to theories of motivation and which are invariant across the different
countries that participated in TEDS-M.
Theoretical framework: motivation and choices
The question what is motivating people to become a teacher can be examined within the
expectancy-value framework, “the most comprehensive motivational model for
explaining academic and career choices” (Watt and Richardson 2007, p. 170). Following the
expectancy-value theory (Wigfield and Eccles 2000), decision making such as choosing
teacher education as the field of study is determined by people’s values and expectancies,
which are shaped by goals and self-schemata, which in turn are influenced by cultural
and social norms and individual’s perception of it (Wigfield and Eccles 2000, p. 69).
The values component of the expectancy-value model implies, in addition to costs,
(which refer to perceived negative consequences as effort or emotional expenditure)
and attainment value (the sense of self and identity resulting in subjective goals, which
determine the importance for the individual of doing well in specific tasks), the
intrinsic value and the utility value. Intrinsic value refers to the enjoyment an individual gets
from performing an activity. Utility value refers to the usefulness of doing an activity for
the individual in the future, capturing extrinsic motivation (Wigfield and Eccles 2000).
One important source of the values component of the expectancy-value model is
Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory (1985), which distinguishes between intrinsic
and extrinsic motivation. According to the self-determination theory, individuals have
a natural need for competence, autonomy, and social relatedness. It is assumed, that
individuals are intrinsically motivated to pursue a goal to satisfy their natural needs and
to feel self-determined. Intrinsic motivation represents therefore the prototype of
selfdetermined behaviour, and intrinsically motivated behaviour is strongly related to
feeling competent, autonomous and socially related.
Extrinsically motivated behaviour is initially not self-determined, but can be
transferred into self-determined behaviour by the processes of internalisation and
integration. Through the process of internalisation, external values are taken in. By integration,
the internalized values become embedded into the sense of the individual’s self and
function as drivers of pursuing a goal.
Within the teacher education literature, it is common to operationalize intrinsic
motivation as enjoyment in teaching or interest in a subject. Extrinsic motivation usually
addresses conditions and amenities as job security or salary. In line with that, in
TEDSM future teacher’s motivation to become a teacher was assessed by different items which
could be classified into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. One the one hand, future
teachers were asked, to what extent their expected talent for teaching, the wish to work
with young people and to influence the next generation and the perception of teaching
as a challenging job constitute reasons to become a teacher; aspects, which represent
an intrinsic pedagogical motivation. Future teachers also were asked, whether a love to
mathematics is a reason to become a teacher, which is capturing an intrinsic subject
specific motivation. On the other hand, they were asked, whether they are attracted by the
availability of teaching positions, by teacher salaries and by the long-term security
associated with being a teacher, items which represent an extrinsic motivation (Laschke and
Blömeke 2014; Blömeke et al. 2010).
Theoretical framework: the role of the societal context
Social contextual conditions can catalyse or undermine the influence of intrinsic
motivation on learning and achievement by meeting or rejecting the learners’ needs of
autonomy, relatedness, and competence. The same applies to extrinsic motivation by fostering
or hindering the processes of internalization and integration (Deci and Ryan 1985; Ryan
and Deci 2000).
That is particularly important for the context of education. For example, the more a
learner feels autonomous, the better his or her performance is, besides other positive
outcomes (see Ryan and Deci 2000, p. 63). Intrinsic motivation is fostering high-quality
learning and creativity (Ryan and Deci 2000, p. 55). Feeling socially related to teachers
and parents is facilitating the willingness to accept their values. And learners’ need to
feel competent can be satisfied by providing a goal which the individual understands and
is able to succeed at (Ryan and Deci 2000).
Within the self-determination theory as well as the expectancy-value theory, the social
surrounding and the concept of the self are thus important factors. The concept of the
self has been expanded and refined by addressing the social environment (Ryan and Deci
2000). However, these characteristics can vary between countries with different cultural
orientations (Markus and Kitayama 1991; Hofstede 1986; Triandis 1995). This applies
especially strongly to individualistic versus collectivistic orientated cultures (Hofstede
1986). Markus and Kitayama (1991) discriminate therefore between the independent and
the interdependent self. The distinction is made due to the different roles of an individual
within different societies and the differences in individual self-conception. In cultures
with an individualistic orientation, the individual and its personal fulfilment and
independence is more strongly emphasized than in collectivist orientated cultures, where the
group and the relationship of the individual to group members is most important.
These differences may lead to differences in the importance of aspects such as the need
of autonomy and relatedness, which are emphasized in the self-determination theory. As
Triandis (1995) pointed out, “Individualists focus on the achievement of personal goals,
by themselves, for the purpose of pleasure, autonomy, and self-realization. Collectivists
focus on the achievement of group goals, by the group, for the purpose of group
wellbeing, relationships, togetherness, the common good, and collective utility.” (Triandis
1995, p. 1). According to that, the factors which catalyse or undermine intrinsic
motivation and the processes of internalization and integration may differ between
individualistic and collectivistic cultures.
Moreover, the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and their respective
importance and acceptance can differ. For example, the literature points out that in East
Asian collectivistic cultures extrinsic pressure is an important factor in education which
results in the inner will to fulfill the expectations of the group and of teachers (Leung
2001, pp. 42–43). Extrinsic motivation is therefore well-accepted as important driving
force within education whereas in Western individualistic cultures aptitude and
enjoyment, which constitute indicators of an intrinsic motivation, are the preferable form
of motivation. Extrinsic motivation is associated with not desirable, pragmatic reasons
(Vollstedt 2011, p. 76; Leung 2001, pp. 41–42).
These differences in normative preferences of types of motivation are reflected in
results of cross-cultural studies. Extrinsic motivation to learn mathematics is according
to these negatively related to mathematics achievement in Western countries, whereas
in East Asian countries extrinsic motivation to learn mathematics is positively related
to mathematics achievement (Zhu and Leung 2011). This is in line with the view, that
extrinsic motivation is supportive for achievement in East Asia but not in the West
(Leung 2001; Watkins and Biggs 1996). However, there are also contradictory results
revealed for example by Shin et al. (2009), who found a larger positive effect of
extrinsic motivation to mathematics achievement for American students than for East Asians.
Nevertheless, the results point to differences between collectivistic orientated East Asian
countries and individualistic orientated Western countries.
Differences in conceptualizations and importance of affective constructs could not
only exist between collectivistic and individualistic orientated countries as defined by
Hofstede (1986), caused by the more social orientation in collectivistic and stronger
individual orientation in individualistic countries, but also between groups of countries
contrasted by global region and its cultural and educational tradition. In case of Asia
for example a group of Singapore and Taiwan and a group of Malaysia, Philippines and
Thailand can be discriminated by region and particularly by cultural and educational
roots. The first group is located in the same region and share its cultural and
educational tradition, in the sense that their culture is deeply rooted in the Confucian heritage
(Leung et al. 2006). Following the ideas of Confucius, education and learning is playing a
key role for individual and its contribution to the society in Taiwan and Singapore (Salili
1995). This does not apply to Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. This group of countries
is not shaped by the Confucian culture, but closer to the culture of South Asian societies
(House et al. 2004), where the belief systems of Christianity, as in the Philippines, Islam,
as in Malaysia and Buddhism, as in Thailand, are more represented (Banks 2012, p. 369).
In none of these belief systems education is as much emphasized as in the Confucian
tradition (Zhao 2011). Therefore, education and academic achievement should not to
the extend valued in this countries as it applies in the Confucian Taiwan and Singapore.
Cross‑cultural studies assessing affective constructs
Despite of much effort to study motivations to become a teacher across countries, there
is a lack of comparative evidences, caused by the variety of instruments, which differ
substantially between the different studies. Exceptions are studies using the FIT-Choice
scale,1 which was developed in Australia and applied in different countries. According to
Watt et al. (2012), the FIT-Choice scale is invariant with regard to the loading patterns
1 Factors influencing teaching choice (Watt and Richardson 2007).
and intercepts across the USA, Australia, Germany and Norway. However, specific
motivation to become a teacher in the fields of science, technology, engineering or
mathematics was studied in Australia only (Watt et al. 2009, 2013). Thus, the comparative
studies applying the FIT-Choice scale provide valuable information about teachers
across all subjects but not specifically for mathematics teachers.
In contrast, TEDS-M provides a database to compare future mathematics teachers’
motivation to become a teacher in different countries and cultures. The
lower-secondary TEDS-M study included future teachers who were prepared to teach mathematics
in grade 8 (Tatto et al. 2008). Assessing professional knowledge and beliefs of student
teachers was the main objective of the study but also background characteristics and
the motivation to become a teacher were surveyed. The TEDS-M instruments resulted
from a collaborative process of careful development and translation accomplished by the
national research coordinators of each participating country and other experts under
supervision of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational
Achievement (IEA) (Tatto 2013). Nevertheless, testing for comparability of the measurement
instruments is required to ensure meaningful comparisons, since construct equivalence
across countries and cultures is not guaranteed albeit careful and elaborative scale
construction (Nagengast and Marsh 2014).
For TEDS-M instruments assessing professional knowledge, cross-country
measurement invariance and item functioning were examined as presented in Blömeke et al.
(2011, 2013) and Tatto (2012, 2013). However, this is not only relevant for achievement
tests but becomes particularly important if data are collected by self-reports, which are
more likely vulnerable to biases caused by different meanings of constructs or different
response styles (Van de Vijver and Tanzer 2004). An incongruity of self-reported data
with test results has already been shown based on the TEDS-M data by König et al.
(2012), who found a low correlation between future teachers’ pedagogical knowledge
and their sense of preparedness for the teaching profession based on the German
TEDSM data, and by Blömeke (2014), who showed that future teacher’s evaluations of teacher
education quality and effectiveness are only weakly correlated with their professional
Whether instruments assessing affective constructs such as motivation are
measuring in the same way across different groups has also been examined in other large-scale
assessments. Artelt (2005) showed based on data of PISA 2000 that the scales assessing
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of students were only metrically equivalent across the
26 participating countries which means that factor loadings were invariant so that the
relations of constructs can be compared across countries but not the means (Artelt 2005,
p. 249). Similar results of metric but not scalar measurement invariance were revealed
by Segeritz and Pant (2013) who examined scales assessing preferences to learn
mathematics, beliefs and self-related cognitions used in the PISA study 2003 with respect to
different ethnic groups within Germany.
Levels of measurement invariance (MI) and sources of measurement non‑invariance
Comparing scale scores of constructs across groups produces meaningful results only
if the scales measure the same construct in all of the groups (Van de Vijver and Leung
2000). In order to ascertain such equivalence, MI is to be established by examining the
interrelations between items and the scale representing the underlying trait (Chen 2008,
p. 1006). It is common to test for MI by using multiple-group confirmatory factor
analysis (MG-CFA). According to the bottom-up approach of Brown (2006), at first configural
invariance, the basic level of measurement invariance, is to be examined. If in each of the
groups the same items are associated with the same latent factors, configural invariance
is established. As a second step, it is to be tested whether the factor loadings are
invariant, to ensure that the unit of measurement is identical across the groups. Invariance
of factor loadings allows to compare relationships between the construct assessed and
others across groups. The third step is to test for scalar invariance. If the intercepts are
invariant, the items have the same origins in all groups. Only if a scale consists of the
same units of measurement and the same origin, it is allowed to compare factor means
across groups (Chen 2008).
Country and culture specific concepts and conditions can cause a lack in MI. For
example, if a construct is more complex in one country or culture than in another, the
number of items underlying a latent factor could vary and therefore no configural
invariance exists (Kwan et al. 2002). If the conceptual framework such as the definitions and
meanings of a construct are not congruent in all of the countries or cultures of interest,
loading invariance can be threatened (Cheung and Rensvold 2000). Another source of
measurement non-equivalence is constituted if response styles vary by culture.
According to cross-cultural research, East Asians as Taiwanese tend to avoid extreme response
categories and are more likely to use middle response categories compared to
Western respondents (Chen et al. 1995). According to Hui and Triandis (1989), differences
in response styles appear between cultures if four-point rating scales are used but not
with ten-point rating scales. Whereas the tendency to use extreme or neutral responses
affects the invariance of factor loadings, an acquiescence response style could result in
a lack of invariance of loadings as well as a lack of invariance of intercepts (Cheung and
Rensvold 2000). A response style which is adopting social desirability could result in a
lack of invariance of intercepts (Chen and West 2008). Thus, a wide range of sources
which could harm the comparability of constructs between countries and cultures exists.
Study objectives/research purpose
The present study examines whether the instruments applied in TEDS-M to assess
future mathematics teachers’ job motivation could be used to construct cross-country
equivalent motivation scales.
The data of lower-secondary future teachers from Chile, Germany, Malaysia, Norway,
Oman, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and USA
are used. As mentioned above, culture specific differences in the concepts of intrinsic
and extrinsic motivation may exist besides cultural differences in response styles.
Invariance of the factor structure (configural measurement invariance), of the factor loadings
(metric invariance) and of the intercepts (scalar invariance) was tested.
Table 1 Sample sizes (cases with missing values on all variables and teacher preparation
units with less than four future teachers were excluded)
of gaining a license to teach mathematics in grade 8 (Tatto et al. 2008). Botswana and
Georgia were excluded from the analysis because of their sample sizes smaller than
N = 100, in order to meet the requirement of sufficiently large sample sizes in MG-CFA.
The remaining samples are varying between 140 and 2105 participants (see Table 1).
The international sampling of TEDS-M followed a stratified multistage probability
sampling design. Randomly selected institutions, preparing student teachers, were divided into
subgroups by level (preparation for primary and/or lower secondary school), route
(consecutive vs. concurrent program) and program-type (preparation for primary and/or
secondary level with/without focus on mathematics) called teacher preparation units (TPUs).
Within the TPUs the student teachers were selected randomly if the number of future
teachers was higher than 30, if there were less than 30 future teachers within a TPU all of
them were surveyed. The latter applies to Oman, Norway,2 Switzerland, Singapore and
Taiwan (Tatto 2013, p. 90). In order to obtain robust estimates, teacher preparation units
with less than four student teachers were excluded. The cluster structure could not be
taken into account because the number of clusters was in some countries smaller than the
number of parameters to estimate. Neglecting the cluster structure may affect the
estimation of standard errors, a constraint important to recognize when interpreting the results.
2 Norway did not meet the sample requirements of TEDS-M, the response rate was less than 60 %.
3 Domain-specific motivation was also assessed in TEDS-M, by asking whether loving mathematics is a reason to
become a teacher. That item doesn’t match the situation in every country, caused by different roles of mathematics in
teacher education or schooling in the respective countries. In some countries generalist teachers, in other countries
specialist for the subject mathematics were prepared. The domain-specific motivation was therefore excluded from the
Psychometric analysis including all TEDS-M countries confirmed as expected two
latent factors of motivation, namely intrinsic pedagogical motivation (“I believe I have
talent for teaching”, “I like working with young people” “I see teaching as a challenging
job”, “I want to have an influence on the next generation.”) and extrinsic motivation (“I’m
attracted by the availability of teaching positions”, “I’m attracted by teacher salaries”, “I
seek the long-term security”) (Laschke and Blömeke 2014).
MI was tested by using MG-CFA (Vandenberg and Lance 2000). Starting from the
psychometric analysis, which confirmed the two latent factors intrinsic pedagogical
motivation and extrinsic motivation the model in Fig. 1 was tested.
Following the approach of Brown (2006), at first the instruments were tested for
configural invariance, second for metric invariance and finally for scalar invariance. The
analyses were carried out by using the robust maximum likelihood (MLR) estimator
(Satorra and Bentler 2001) and a sandwich-type covariance matrix to compute standard
errors and Chi square statistics robust to non-normality of the data (Yuan and Bentler
2000). Although the WLSMV estimator is required, if responses have to be given on
rating scales with four or fewer points (Sass et al. 2014; Rhemtulla et al. 2012; Flora and
Curran 2004), the MLR estimator was applied to avoid the necessity to collapse
meaningful categories. In the Swiss sample none of the future teachers rated the category “not
a reason” for the statements “I believe I have talent for teaching” and “I like working with
young people.” The estimator WLSMV is not able to handle categories without
observations. Nevertheless, the results obtained by using the MLR estimator were validated
by estimations with WLSMV whenever possible. Full information maximum likelihood
(FIML) estimation, integrating missing data analyses and parameter estimation under
the missing at random assumption, was used to handle partially missing data (Little and
Rubin 2014). All analyses were conducted in the software package Mplus 7.4 (Muthén
and Muthén 1998–2015).
To evaluate to what extent the models specified fit the data, absolute and
incremental fit indices were used. X2 is testing the null hypothesis that the covariance matrix
implied by the model is equal to the population covariance matrix. Since X2 test is
sensitive to the sample size and the complexity of a model, the ratio of X2 and the
degrees of freedom (df ) was computed. X2/df should be small, an estimate of X2/df
≤3 >2 indicates an acceptable, an estimate of X2/df ≤2 a good model fit
(Schermelleh-Engel et al. 2003). RSMEA and SRMR are measuring whether the estimated model
reproduces well the observed covariance matrix. For RSMEA and SRMR the following
values are recommended: RSMEA and SRMR <.08 point to an acceptable model fit,
RSMEA and SRMR <.05 point to a good fit (Hu and Bentler 1999). The formulas to
compute RSMEA and SRMR contain the X2 value. Both indices are therefore sensitive
to sample size.
The comparative fit index (CFI) and the Tucker Lewis index (TLI) assess to what extent
the model estimated reproduces the observed covariance matrix better than a baseline
model that is assuming all observed variables are uncorrelated. According to Hu and
Bentler (1999), CFI and TLI >.90 point to an acceptable fit, CFI and TLI >.95 indicate a
good fit of the model. CFI’s performance is relatively unaffected by sample size (Hu and
For evaluating the significance of changes of model fit after restricting models within
the MI procedure ΔCFI was used. Results of simulation studies provided by Rutkowski
and Svetina (2014) suggest the following cutoffs: To determine loading invariance
a change of CFI <.020 besides a change in RMSEA or SRMR <.010 is recommended.
Regarding to the determination of equivalence of intercepts a change in CFI, RMSEA
and SRMR <.010 indicate invariance. During the process of testing for MI, model
modifications were conducted post hoc if modification indices matched theoretical
If the requirements of MI did not apply to all countries, MI was examined within
groups of countries. The selection of the groups was theoretically driven. Countries
which share a cultural tradition with respect to an individualistic versus collectivistic
orientation (Hofstede 1986) were combined in one group. According to Hofstede’s
individualism scale (IDV), which is ranging from 0 (strongly collectivistic orientated) to 100
(strongly individualistic orientated), Norway (IDV = 69), Switzerland (IDV = 68)
Germany (IDV = 67) and Poland (IDV = 60) belong to the more individualistic orientated
group. Philippines (IDV = 32), Malaysia (IDV = 26), Chile (IDV = 23) Singapore
(IDV = 20), Thailand (IDV = 20), and Taiwan (IDV = 17) belong to a more collectivistic
orientated group.4 If MI could not be established within these two groups, the analyses
was carried out in subgroups more narrowly defined through shared cultures and
Testing for configural invariance
As a first step, the measurement model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was tested
separately in each country to confirm within-country model fit. According to Hu and
Bentler (1999), the measurement model fits well in nearly all countries (see Table 2).
However, in the USA and Russia model fit could not be confirmed which means that
the theoretical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation does not fit to the data of
4 For Oman there is no IDV value available since the scale has not been used in this country. For that reason Oman was
Table 2 Fit of the country specific measurement models
Chile 0.92 0.86 0.06 0.04 3.6***
Germany 0.96 0.93 0.03 0.05 1.5
Malaysia 0.92 0.86 0.06 0.04 3.6***
Norway 0.91 0.85 0.06 0.04 2.6***
Oman 0.96 0.94 0.05 0.04 1.6*
Philippines 1.00 0.99 0.01 0.03 1.1
Poland 0.93 0.89 0.06 0.04 2.2***
Russia 0.84 0.74 0.12 0.06 31.2***
Singapore 0.95 0.93 0.07 0.05 2.7***
Switzerland 1.00 0.99 0.02 0.05 1.0
Taiwan 0.95 0.91 0.07 0.05 3.0***
Thailand 0.97 0.95 0.04 0.03 2.0**
USA 0.86 0.77 0.06 0.05 2.9***
CFI comparative fit index, TLI Tucker Lewis index, RMSEA root mean square of approximation, SRMR standardized root mean
square residual, df degrees of freedom
* p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001
future teachers in these two countries. Consequently, configural invariance across
countries could not be confirmed if the USA and Russia were included. They were therefore
excluded from further analyses. Without USA and Russia, configural invariance could
be established (see Table 3). According to the CFI, that is insensitive to sample size, the
model fits particularly well for Germany, Oman, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland,
Taiwan and Thailand and in an acceptable way for Chile, Malaysia, Norway and Poland
(Hu and Bentler 1999).
Testing for metric invariance
Since configural invariance of the model was supported by the data for Chile, Germany,
Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, and
Thailand, as a next step metric invariance can be examined. For that purpose, the
factor loadings are constrained to be equal across the countries in the model. To decide
whether metric invariance exists, the fit of the constrained model is to be compared with
the fit of the unconstrained baseline model.
As shown in Table 3 (model 3 in comparison to model 2) the fit of the model is
declining after constraining the model. The change of CFI indicates a substantially
discrepancy between the two models (Rutkowski and Svetina 2014). Following the information
revealed by modifications indices, freeing the factor loading of item A of the
extrinsic-motivation scale (“I am attracted by the availability of teaching positions”) for
Taiwan would substantially improve the model fit. From the information available about
employment conditions, freeing the loading of this particular item is in line with the
Taiwanese situation compared to other countries. Whereas typically a strong need of
mathematics teachers exists, it is difficult to find a teaching position in Taiwan because of the
high number of graduates applying for one teaching job (Li et al. 2011). With the factor
loading of one item freed up in one country, the fit of the partially metric model does not
differ substantially from the fully unconstrained baseline model anymore (see model 3a
Table 3 Goodness of fit indices for measurement invariance between countries
in Table 3). The ΔCFI <0.02 is in line with the cut off value provided by Rutkowski and
Svetina (2014). Therefore, comparing relationships between TEDS-M is permitted.
Testing for scalar invariance
To test for scalar invariance, the intercepts of the items were set equal over the countries.
The constrained model does not fit to the data at all (model 4 in Table 3). The fit indices
decline correspondingly beyond acceptable thresholds. Therefore, it is to conclude, that
the point of origin of the items is not the same across all the countries. Relaxing
restrictions did not increase the model fit sufficiently.
As pointed out in the framework, this results does not come unexpected. So, the
next step is to test invariance of intercepts separately by groups of countries, defined by
Hofstede’s individualism scale. In each model, the intercepts over the countries in the
respective subgroup were set equal, while freely estimating the intercepts for the other
countries. The fit of the models were compared with the fit of the overall country
reference model (model 3a). The fit indices of model 5 for the individualistic orientated
countries Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Poland are missing the cut off criteria. But
free estimation of item D of the extrinsic-motivation scale (“I am attracted by teacher
salaries”) for Norway and item G “I seek the long-term security associated with being
a teacher” in Poland results in a model fit (model 5a) which is not substantially
different from the reference model anymore, as the ΔCFI, which should be smaller than 0.01
(Rutkowski and Svetina 2014), points to. Student teachers in Norway tended to rate item
D lower than German, Swiss and Polish student teachers which is in line with the
working conditions of teachers in Norway. Norwegian teachers’ salary and life-span income
is significantly lower in comparison to similarly educated professionals. In Poland the
professional advancement is defined by different stages, while the teachers in the lower
stages are employed on the basis of an ordinary employment agreement. Teachers at
every stage has to provide evidences of their development, a procedure, that feels as a
burden for most teachers (Carnoy et al. 2009; Schwille and Ingvarson 2013; OECD
2014). Thus, a conceptual justification exists for freeing up the estimation of the salary
item’s intercept in Norway and the long-term security item’s intercept in Poland.
For the group of countries with collectivistic orientation, namely Philippines,
Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan, the fit indices are far away the acceptable cut
off criteria (model 6). Relaxing restrictions could not enhance them.
Hence, as a final step, scalar measurement invariance is to be examined for subgroups,
and these are collectivistic countries of the same global region that share in addition to
societal communalities a common cultural and educational tradition. The data revealed
that for these groups partial scalar invariance can in fact be established.
As hypothesized a subgroup consists of the countries Philippines, Malaysia and
Thailand. According to the fit indices, the model with equal intercepts across the three
countries (model 7) is missing the cut off criteria provided by Rutkowski and Svetina (2014).
Inspecting the modification indices point to relaxing the conditions with respect to
item G (“I seek the long-term security associated with being a teacher”) for Malaysia
and Thailand. In Malaysia the teachers are government servants, which enjoy different
amenities including job security. Since the number of enrollments of school students
is expanding every year, the demand of teachers is increasing (Schwille and Ingvarson
2013). In Thailand civil service teachers are promoted from one qualification level to
the next higher one automatically by working a required period as a teacher (Schwille
and Ingvarson 2013). Hence, around 90 % of the future secondary mathematics
teachers, who participated in TEDS-M, agreed that teachers have a secure job (Laschke and
Blömeke 2014). Freeing the intercept estimation of this item resulted in a model (model
7a) which is not substantially different from the reference model 3a, according to the
ΔCFI <0.01 (Rutkowski and Svetina 2014).
For a second subgroup consisting of Taiwan and Singapore, scalar invariance could
be established after freeing the intercepts for item A “I’m attracted by the availability of
teaching positions” in Taiwan (model 8). Freeing the parameter is in line with the
conditions in Taiwan as pointed out before.
Discussion and conclusion
The equivalence of loading patterns and intercepts can be affected by incongruent
definitions and meanings of a construct or by different response styles across groups (Cheung
and Rensvold 2000; Chen and West 2008). That is particularly to be expected when
comparing cultures, due to the fact the response style could differ between cultures, as it applies
for instance to East Asians which tend to avoid extreme categories in contrast to Western
respondents (Chen et al. 1995). Furthermore, a lack of invariance of loading patterns can
be caused by different construal of the self and different beliefs and values, which shape the
motivation of the individual (Markus and Kitayama 1991; Hofstede 1986; Chen and
Stevenson 1995). For that reason, the comparability of results revealed by large scale studies
cannot be taken for granted but has to be scrutinized. This is particularly important if a
motivation scale is constructed, which could be sensitive to country-specific conditions.
The current paper intended to examine whether the TEDS-M items can be used to
develop scales of teachers’ job motivation in line with the theory about motivation that
is invariant across countries. Such scales would be very useful from a policy
perspective because they would make it possible to examine predictors and outcomes of teacher
motivation as well as to learn from other countries. For our constructed scales of
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation an examination of MI revealed as hypothesized that full or
partial scalar invariance did not exist across all countries. Based on the state of research,
we had hypothesized that it would be possible to confirm scalar MI of the intrinsic- and
extrinsic-motivation scales across subsets of countries that share societal and
educational traditions such as individualism vs. collectivism. The data supported this
hypothesis for the group of individualistic countries but not for the group of the collectivistic
orientated countries. Only if societal and educational traditions matched each other in
subgroups of these countries, comparisons of scale means are permitted.
The good news is that partial metric invariance could be established for most TEDS-M
countries which means that it is at least possible to compare relationships across
countries—besides the comparisons of means another important objective of international
large-scale assessments. The TEDS-M instruments used to construct scales of
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to become a teacher have the same loading patterns across
Chile, Germany, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland,
and Thailand. Taiwan can be included in this list if the analyses are restricted to the
With respect to one item of the extrinsic scale, differences in country specific
working conditions of the teaching profession turned out to constitute bias. This seems to be
another important characteristic to consider in comparative research in addition to
culture-specific meaning of a construct, response styles or translation errors when it comes
to the comparability of results. Current international large-scale assessments attempt to
collect data on a “common core” of all countries participating—in achievement as well
as in opportunities to learn or context conditions. The IEA has a systematic approach
to ensure this. All items that go onto the instruments are consensually agreed upon by
representatives from all participating countries. There are, for example, also
curriculumtest matching questionnaires that a representative from each country fills out, indicating
whether an item is or is not on the country’s curriculum (Hencke et al. 2009).
Nevertheless, cross-country comparability of the assessed data must be ensured before comparing
results, this is especially required if a culturally sensitive scale is constructed based on
the data. Our study does not support cross-country comparability with respect to
working conditions of teachers with the result that certain aspects of job motivation are not
part of a construct in single countries from an empirical perspective.
Caused by the long-term high attractiveness of the teaching profession in Taiwan and
since the number of educational programs has increased substantially during the past
decades, there is a remarkable oversupply of teachers. Many qualified teachers cannot
move into teaching jobs because the number of positions available is much lower than
the number of graduate teachers (Li et al. 2011). Ignoring the lack of MI for Taiwan,
could result to substantial bias in regression slopes. The regression slopes may be
overestimated for Taiwan if the extrinsic scale predict a criterion or could be underestimated
if the extrinsic scale is modelled as the criterion (Chen 2008, pp. 1010–1011). Therefore,
modelling predictive relationships for the tested TEDS-M countries can be done
simultaneously, for Taiwan the analysis is to be conducted separately.
Although factor means are not comparable across all TEDS-M countries, invariance
of intercepts of the intrinsic scale exists at least within groups of countries, namely for
Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Poland, for Taiwan and Singapore as well as for the
Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. The respective countries share not only a societal
but also an educational tradition. This seems to be a sufficient precondition for mean
comparisons and should be taken into account in future reports of results from
largescale assessments. However, again country-specific working conditions harm full scalar
equivalence of the instruments. In Norway, the income of teachers is comparatively low
compared to other professions. Also, the earning progression over the life-span is lower
than in other OECD countries (OECD 2014). Therefore, in contrast to other
professionals in the Norwegian public sector many eligible teachers choose another profession,
leave the teaching profession in prospect of better career opportunities or choose early
retirement (Carnoy et al. 2009).
With studying MI of the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation scales constructed based
on the items assessing the job motivation in TEDS-M, an important first step was done
in order to make meaningful cross-cultural and cross-country comparisons of
teachers’ job motives. However, we have to take into account that the items used to construct
motivation scales are limited to three and four items in each factor, which do not
represent a continuum of motivation. Therefore, as it is often the case in international
largescale assessments with given items it is not possible to construct a strong motivation
scale. The result that the constructed scales do not fit empirically to the data from the
USA and Russia and the fact that item estimates have to be allowed to vary for some
other countries points to this. Nevertheless, it was worthwhile to construct motivation
scales to compare the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to become a teacher in different
As the results of our study show, it is indispensable to test for cross-country and
crossculture equivalence of scales. For that reason, researchers conducting secondary data
analyses should investigate measurement invariance before comparing results across
countries and cultures. This is especially required if scales are created by items that were
not intentionally designed to measure the construct of interest.
However, the question remains what to do in those cases scalar MI cannot be
confirmed although the object of interest is mean comparison. An appropriate way could
be to use the alignment method or Bayesian approaches in order to address a lack of
MI (Asparouhov and Muthén 2014). Under the working assumption of approximate
measurement equivalence, informative priors to define elastic constraints are used in
these cases. In contrast to classical exact approaches, Bayesian approaches permit small
differences between parameters as loadings or intercepts with the restriction that the
mean of differences of loadings or intercepts is zero across groups. Given by the results
of simulation studies small variations in parameters do not harm conclusions based
on comparative results (e.g. Muthén and Asparouhov 2013). The recent availability of
specific Bayesian software and support in a general software package like Mplus makes
Bayesian data analysis techniques accessible to a broad range of educational researchers.
Comparing the motivation to become a teacher in different countries and cultures can
help to understand which mechanisms constitute choosing teaching as a career. The
present study pointed out which types of analyses are permitted and which are not. Future
studies should address predictors of choosing the teaching profession. Such insights
could give implications for addressing and recruiting teaching candidates in an adequate
way in countries which face the challenge of mathematics teacher shortage.
CL and SB contributed to the conception and the design of the paper. CL conducted the analyses and drafted the
manuscript. SB made secondary contributions to it. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
1 Institut für Erziehungswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany.
2 Centre for Educational Measurement at the University of Oslo (CEMO), Niels Henrik Abels hus, Moltke Moes vei 35,
Received: 4 November 2015 Accepted: 7 September 2016
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