Measuring students’ appraisals of the relevance of history
the construction and validation of the relevance of history measurement scale (RHMS)
This study explores the psychometric qualities of the Relevance of History Measurement Scale (RHMS), a questionnaire designed to measure students’ beliefs about the relevance of history. Participants were 1459 Dutch secondary school students aged between 12 and 18. Data analysis revealed three reliable factors, compliant with our theoretical framework which defines three strands of relevance of history: relevance for building a personal identity, for citizenship, and for insight into ‘the human condition’. The convergent and known-groups validity of the RHMS was demonstrated. The collected data show that students find history more relevant as they grow older, with most progress taking place between 14 and 16. Out of the three strands of relevance, building a personal identity scores lowest in students’ appraisals. This study shows that the RHMS is psychometrically sound and can be used to evaluate effects of lesson interventions directed at enhancing the relevance of history to students.