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Self-assessed driver competence among novice drivers: a comparison of driving test candidate assessments and examiner assessments in a Dutch and Finnish sample
Finnish Vehicle Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Educational Measurement.
DHV Environment and Transportation, The Netherlands.
Finnish Vehicle Administration.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Safety Research, ISSN 0022-4375, E-ISSN 1879-1247, Vol. 40, no 4, 301-309 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Problem This study examined novice drivers’ overconfidence by comparing their self-assessed driver competence with the assessments made by driving examiners.

Method A Finnish (n = 2,739) and a Dutch sample (n = 239) of drivers license candidates assessed their driver competence in six areas and took the driving test.

Result and discussion In contrast to previous studies where drivers have assessed their skill in comparison to the average driver, a smaller proportion overestimated and a larger proportion made realistic self-assessments of their driver competence in the present study, where self-assessments were compared with examiner assessments. Between 40% and 50% of the candidates in both samples made realistic assessments and 30% to 40% overestimated their competence. The proportion of overestimation was greater in the Dutch than in the Finnish sample, which might be explained by greater possibilities for practicing self-assessment in the Finnish driver education system. Similar to other self-assessment studies that indicate that incompetence is related to overestimation, a larger proportion of candidates that failed the test overestimated their skill compared to those who passed. In contrast to other studies, males did not overestimate their skills more than females, and younger driver candidates were not more overconfident than older drivers.

Impact on traffic safety Although a great proportion of the candidates made a realistic assessment of their own driver competence, overestimation is still a problem that needs to be dealt with. To improve the accuracy of novice drivers’ self-assessment, methods for self-assessment training should be developed and implemented in the driver licensing process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 40, no 4, 301-309 p.
Keyword [en]
Novice drivers, driving test, self-assessment, overconfidence, GDE-model
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26761DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2009.04.006OAI: diva2:273965
Available from: 2009-10-26 Created: 2009-10-26 Last updated: 2012-06-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Developing and validating self-report instruments: assessing perceived driver competence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing and validating self-report instruments: assessing perceived driver competence
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to develop and validate a self-report instrument for perceived driver competence. The thesis includes six papers and a summary. All papers focus on perceived driver competence from a measurement perspective; that is, how to develop an instrument for perceived driver competence and how to use and interpret the scores from the instrument in a reliable and valid manner.

Study I reviews how perceived driver competence has been measured in other studies and discusses these methods from a measurement perspective. Most studies have examined perceived driver competence by asking drivers to compare their own skill to that of the average driver. That method is problematic, since it is not possible to determine if drivers are overconfident or not, when empirical information of their own skills is missing. In order to examine if drivers overestimate their skills or not, perceived driver competence should be compared with actual driving performance.

Study II reports on the development and psychometric evaluation of a self-report instrument for perceived driver competence - the Self-Efficacy Scale for Driver Competence (SSDC). The findings provides support for construct validity, as the SSDC demonstrated sound psychometric properties and as the internal structure of the SSDC corresponded to the theoretical model used as a basis for instrument development.

In study III, the psychometric properties of the SSDC were further examined using an item response theory (IRT) model. The findings confirmed the results indicated by the classical analyses in Study II. Additional information was provided by the IRT analyses, as it was indicated that the scale would benefit from fewer scale points or by putting labels on each scale point.

In study IV, Swedish and Finnish candidates’ self-assessment accuracy was examined by comparing candidates’ scores on the SSDC and a similar instrument for self-assessment of driving skill used in Finland, with driving test performance. Unlike previous studies, in which drivers compared their perceived skills to that of the average driver, a relatively large proportion made a realistic assessment of their own skills. In addition, in contrast to previous studies, no gender differences were found. These results were also confirmed in study V, where the results from the Finnish instrument for self-assessment of driving skill were compared with the results from a similar instrument used in the Netherlands.

Study VI further examined the construct validity of a revised version of the SSDC, combining qualitative and quantitative sources of evidence. There was a strong relationship between the SSDC and an instrument for self-assessment of driving skills, providing support for convergent validity. No relationship was found between the SSDC and driving test performance. Explanations of the lack of relationship were provided from semi-structured interviews, as they indicated that confidence in performing different tasks in the test are different from being confident of passing the test, and that the candidates are familiar neither with assessing their own skills nor with the requirements for passing the test.

In conclusion, the results from this thesis indicated that the choice of methods for assessing perceived driver competence as well as the quality of these methods affect the validity. The results provided support for different aspects of construct validity of the SSDC. Moreover, the findings illustrated the benefits of combining different methods in test validation, as each method contributed information about the validity of the SSDC. The studies in this thesis mainly examined internal and external aspects of construct validity. Future studies should examine procedural validity of the SSDC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Educational Measurement, Umeå university, 2009. 62 p.
Academic dissertations at the department of Educational Measurement, ISSN 1652-9650 ; 5
Test construction, test validity, measurement, drivers, self-confidence
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26764 (URN)978-91-7264-858-6 (ISBN)
Beteendevetenskapliga mätningar, 90187, Umeå
Public defence
2009-11-20, Hörsal 1031 Norra beteendevetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-30 Created: 2009-10-26 Last updated: 2014-03-10Bibliographically approved

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