DEVELOPMENT OF AN OBSERVATIONAL INSTRUMENT (OBSCIF) FOR EVALUATING CHARACTER STRENGTHS IN ARMY CADETS
1 University of Oslo (NORWAY)
2 The Norwegian Military Academy (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The Norwegian Military Academy (NMA) aims to educate highly competent officers, who have the capacity to lead under extreme conditions. Previous studies have identified 12 particularly important character strengths for succeeding as an officer in the Norwegian army. These are leadership, integrity, persistence, bravery, teamwork, fairness, open-mindedness, social intelligence, love of learning, perspective, self-regulation, and creativity. The NMA wants to observe, evaluate and develop these character strengths during the army cadets’ three-year bachelor’s program. However, a previous study has found that VIA-IS – a survey based questionnaire designed to measure character strengths – poorly predicts what character strengths army cadets actually display during extreme conditions, such as a long and stressful military field exercise. Hence, there is a need for a reliable and valid measure of character strengths displayed under extreme conditions.
Purpose of study:
To develop a reliable and valid observational instrument for measuring 12 character strengths displayed by army cadets under extreme conditions, such as stressful military field exercises.
An observational instrument (OBSCIF – OBServation of Character In Field) was developed and tested on 59 army cadets. The cadets evaluated themselves on VIA-IS and OBSCIF. Consistency between scoring on the two instruments, and scale reliabilities for OBSCIF, were examined.
Scores on the 12 character strengths measured by VIA-IS and OBSCIF correlates substantially with each other, indicating that OBSCIF is a valid measure of the 12 character strengths. In addition, reliability coefficients (Cronbach’s alphas) estimated for the 12 scales in OBSCIF are all within acceptable levels, indicating that they provide reliable measures of the 12 character strengths. OBSCIF exists in Norwegian and English, and is available for use by any educational institution who is interested in evaluating character strengths displayed during live settings.
Keywords: Character strengths, military, education, VIA-IS, observational instrument.