Pupil Attitude Questionnaire

Kolesar, H. (1967). An empirical study of client alienation in the bureaucratic organization. PhD dissertation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Comments: The 60-item Pupil Attitude Questionnaire (PAQ) is based on Seeman’s (1959) five alienation subscales: powerlessness, self-estrangement, normlessness, meaninglessness, and isolation.

Sample: As part of the pilot study, 163 high school students from Alberta, Canada responded to the PAQ. The original 164 items were reduced to 60 items based on three types of analysis. The revised PAQ was administered to 92 students over a one-week interval. Approximately 1,764 students in 20 high schools in Alberta, Canada, completed the revised PAQ.

Reliability: Test-retest reliability for the entire PAQ with 92 students over a one-week period was 0.79.

Validity: Four kinds of validity were established: content, face, construct, and factorial validity. Content validity was established by using a large number of items representing various relationships between the student and the school. Face validity was established by using a panel of 14 judges who determined that the questionnaire measures what it purports to measure. Construct validity was established by correlating student scores on the PAQ with teacher ratings (significant at the 0.001 level). Factorial validity was established by performing several factor analyses.

Factor Analysis: A five-factor solution was accepted. The five factors are: 12 items on powerlessness (5, 7, 8, 13, 28, 29, 30, 34, 41, 51, 53, and 59); 12 on self-estrangement (10, 12, 16, 21, 26, 31, 32, 36, 40, 43, 44, and 54); 14 on normlessness (1, 2, 3, 11, 15, 18, 24, 27, 35, 42, 52, 56, 57, and 58); 12 on meaninglessness (6, 14, 17, 19, 33, 37, 38, 39, 45, 46, 47, and 60); and 10 on isolation (4, 9, 20, 22, 23, 25, 48, 49, 50, and 55).

Definition of Factors: Student powerlessness pertains to the student’s sense of a lack of personal control over his/her state of affairs in school. Meaninglessness pertains to a sense of inability to predict outcomes. Student normlessness is the belief that socially unapproved behaviors are required to achieve school goals. The isolated student is one who does not accept the goals of the school as his/her own. The self-estranged student is one who is unable to find school activities that are self-rewarding.

Data Analysis: Scores on each of the five scales were correlated with the scores on the other scales as well as with the total score. The results of all these correlations were all positive and significant, except the correlation between the meaninglessness and isolation scales.


Rafalides, M., and Hoy, W. K. (1971). Student sense of alienation and pupil control orientation of high schools. High School Journal 55:101–11.

Pupil Attitude Questionnaire

1. White lies are justified when they help to avoid punishment.
2. It is a good policy to tell teachers only what they want to hear.
3. In this school, success is to be aimed for by any means that pupils can devise.
4. It is most important that right always be achieved even if it requires tremendous effort.
5. Schools are run by others and there is little that pupils can do about it.
6. I think that I can now predict what I can achieve in an occupation after graduation.
7. The school experiences of pupils are controlled by plans devised by others.
8. There really isn’t much use complaining to the teachers about the school because it is impossible to influence them anyway.
9. The reason I endure some unpleasant things now is because I feel that it will benefit me later on.
10. Pupils should have most of their time free from study.
11. Sometimes it is necessary to make promises to school authorities which you don’t intend to keep.
12. In order to get ahead in this school pupils are almost forced to do some things which are not right.
13. Pupils often are given the opportunity to express their ideas about how the school ought to be run.
14. It is possible on the basis of the level of my present school achievement, to predict with a high degree of accuracy, the level of achievement I can expect in adulthood.
15. It is very desirable that pupils learn to be good citizens.
16. I think my teachers would have given me the same marks on the last report card no matter how well I really had done.
17. My school experiences will help me to become a good citizen.
18. It doesn’t matter too much if what I am doing is right or wrong as long as it works.
19. At school we learn habits and attitudes which will guide us in the achievement of a good life.
20. I know that I will complete my high school education.
21. These days a pupil doesn’t really know who he can count on.
22. I often worry about what my teachers think of me.
23. Pupils must try to develop an interest in their school subjects even when the content is dull.
24. It is more important to achieve enjoyment and personal satisfaction than to sacrifice yourself for others.
25. I study hard in school mainly because I want to get good grades.
26. I often read and study in my courses beyond what is required by my teachers.
27. Really, a pupil has done wrong only if he gets caught.
28. The school principal is really interested in all pupils in this school.
29. In discipline cases the pupil’s explanation of the circumstances is carefully weighed by the school authorities before punishment is decided upon.
30. The teachers will not listen to pupil complaints about unfair school rules.
31. Usually, I would rather play hooky than come to school.
32. I would rather go to work now than go to school, but more education now will help me to get a better job later.
33. What I am doing at school will assist me to do what I want when I graduate.
34. Pupils have adequate opportunities to protect themselves when their interests conflict with the interests of those who run the school.
35. Copying parts of essays from books is justified if this results in good marks on the essays.
36. I get more satisfaction from doing an assignment well than from the marks which I receive on the assignment.
37. What we do at school will help us to affect the world in which we live.
38. Participation in student government activities will help me in anything I try to do in the future.

39. As a result of my school experiences I know what I will do when I graduate.
40. No matter how I try I don’t seem to understand the content of my courses very well.
41. In this school the teachers are the rulers and the pupils are the slaves.
42. It is unlikely that in this school the pupils will achieve the goals in which they believe.
43. If homework assignments were not required, I would seldom do homework.
44. I like to do extra problems in mathematics for fun.
45. I understand how decisions are made regarding what we are to study in this school.
46. My school studies will help me to make predictions about the kind of world in which I will live in the future.
47. My present school studies will help me to understand others.
48. Pupils must be very careful to make the best possible impression with their teachers.
49. If I had my way, I’d close all schools.
50. Having lots of friends is more important than is getting ahead in school.
51. In this school pupils can complain to the principal and be given a fair hearing.
52. Copying another pupil’s homework is justified if he agrees to let you do it.
53. Pupil’s ideas about how the school should be run are often adopted in this school.
54. I find it easy to please my teachers.
55. I want to finish high school.
56. It is necessary to misbehave at school if you’re going to have any fun.
57. Giving an answer to someone else during an examination is not really cheating.
58. Pupils must take advantage of every opportunity, fair or unfair, because good opportunities occur very infrequently at this school.
59. Pupils in this school are given considerable freedom in planning their own programs to meet their future needs.
60. Participation in student government activities will assist me to become a good citizen.

Scoring: Strongly Agree = 5; Agree = 4; Undecided = 3; Disagree = 2; Strongly Disagree = 1. The scoring is reversed for the following items: 4, 6, 13, 15, 20, 23, 26, 28, 29, 34, 36, 44, 45, 46, 51, 53, 54, 55, and 59. For the following

items on the meaninglessness scale 14, 17, 19, 33, 37, 38, 39, 47, and 60 the scoring is as follows: SA = 1, A = 3, U = 5, D = 3, SD = 1.