Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Early Childhood Education

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Carol Trivette

Committee Members

Dr. Pamela Evanshen, Dr. Amy Malkus


Research and interest in trauma-informed pedagogy have grown substantially. Trauma-informed pedagogy includes knowledge of trauma symptoms, associated behaviors, and environmental and instructional trauma-informed strategies. Various scales measure attitudes and experiences with trauma-informed practices; however, the literature suggests a lack of validated tests measuring teachers' knowledge of trauma. Reliable and valid tests measuring knowledge are critical when determining the professional development needs of both pre-service and in-service teachers. This multi-phase study aimed to fulfill this need by creating the Teachers’ Knowledge of Trauma (TKOT) test. With the guidance of literature and qualitative data from eight early childhood professional peers, a 50-item test was created to measure teachers' knowledge of trauma. Draft 1 of the TKOT was evaluated by a team of 14 trauma experts providing both quantitative and qualitative analysis, which was used for further refinement, resulting in a 33-item test (Draft 2). Draft 2 included collecting quantitative and qualitative data from 20 pre-testing participants, resulting in a 34-item test (Draft 3). A total of 429 survey administration participants completed Draft 3 of the TKOT, providing quantitative data for reliability testing (Cronbach's α = .78) and item reduction analyses. The Rasch model analysis was used, resulting in a calculated variance of residual value of .46, supporting the one dimension, or one factor, model for the TKOT. The item reduction analyses conducted with the data from the 429 survey administration participants narrowed the TKOT to a final 25-item version (Draft 4). Draft 4 of the TKOT demonstrated a Cronbach's α of .77, rating the test as acceptable. Future research will include further item analysis, tests of dimensionality conducted with the recruitment of another sample with the hope of more diversity in race and gender among pre-service and in-service students, and continued reliability and validity testing. These next steps are predicted to result in a well-developed and validated final version of the TKOT that will serve as an open-source tool for schools and universities to identify gaps in trauma-informed learning.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.