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The psychometric foundations of goal attainment scaling

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Critics contend that goal attainment scaling lacks an adequate theoretical framework; this lack has created conceptual and methodological difficulties. This article develops a mathematical model that defines the psychometric properties of the goal attainment scale and that links it both to the theory of normative measurement and to the theory of generalizability. Special calculations for measuring the predictive and concurrent validity of the goal attainment scale are proposed; prognostic indicators play a significant role in these formulations. The link to generalizability theory results from delineating the appropriate universe of referents.

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Additional information

This article is a product of the Family GAS Project at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, 555 Middlefield Road, California 94301. The Project is funded in part by the Don D. Jackson Memorial Award. The authors want to acknowledge the help, support, and guidance given to them by James C. Coyne, Ph.D., Research Associate, and other staff members of the Mental Research Institute. They also wish to thank the referees for their valuable comments.

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Heavlin, W.D., Lee-Merrow, S.W. & Lewis, V.M. The psychometric foundations of goal attainment scaling. Community Ment Health J 18, 230–241 (1982).

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