Science Process Skills Inventory (SPSI)

The inventory consists of eleven items, each representing a different skill in the science inquiry process. Youth are prompted to respond to each statement using a 4-point Likert scale indicating how often they practice each of the items when doing science: Never (1), sometimes (2), usually (3), and always (4). Recommended scoring of the SPSI is the calculation of a composite science process skills score. This is calculated by summing the individual ratings for each item. The score range for the composite score is 11-44.

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Supplemental Information:

  • Science_Process_Skills_Inventory_1.pdf (85.6 KB) Download

Assessment Type:

11 Likert scale items


4-point Likert scale

Publication Date:

May 06, 2010


106 middle school students (2007 and 2008). The inventory is intended for use with youth ages 12 and over.

Domain(s) Evaluated:

Engagement, Attitude / Behavior

Sample items:

I can use scientific knowledge to form a question.
I can use the results of my investigation to answer the question that I asked.


Pre and post test the range = 0.81 to 0.95.


Cronbach's alpha calculated for pre/post program revealed coefficients of .84 and .94 respectively.



Administration time:

10 minutes

Requires a Computer:


Requires Internet Access:


Primary reference:

Bourdeau, V. D. & Arnold, M. E. (2009). The Science Process Skills Inventory. Corvallis, OR: 4-H Youth Development Education, Oregon State University.


SPSI was developed to measure overall ability of students to understand and use the range of skills related to the cycle of science inquiry. These skills include forming scientific questions, designing scientific procedures, collecting and recording data, analyzing results, using models to describe results and creating scientific presentations. The tool was used by Oregon 4-H in conjunction with several other pre and post tests, including SOS and open ended questions about campers experiences, to assess the quality of their science summer camp.

Other Reference:
Arnold, M. E., Bourdeau, V. D. & Nott, B. D. (2013). Measuring science inquiry skills in youth development programs: The Science Process Skills Inventory. Journal of Youth Development, 8(1), 5-15.

This study reports the development and testing of SPSI and its usefulness for measuring science inquiry in youth development science programs. Using factor analysis (PCA) to assess the structure of SPSI scales. PCA was used to determine if the set of items were measuring a single construct made up of science process skills. Items loading one factor above 0.40 were considered efficient factor. The scree-plot confirmed one factor solution. For the alpha coefficient for pre and post test the range was 0.81 to 0.95 suggesting good internal consistency and thus reliability.

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