• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Validity is the hallmark of quality for educational and psychological measurement. But what does quality mean in this context? And to what, exactly, does the concept of validity apply? These apparently innocuous questions parachute the unwary inquirer into a minefield of tricky ideas. This book guides you through this minefield, investigating how the concept of validity has evolved from the nineteenth century to the present day. Communicating complicated concepts straight forwardly, the authors answer questions like: What does ‘validity’ mean? What does it mean to ‘validate’? How many different kinds of validity are there? When does validation begin and end? Is reliability a part of validity, or distinct from it? This book will be of interest to anyone with a professional or academic interest in evaluating the quality of educational or psychological assessments, measurements and diagnoses.

Twenty-First-Century Evaluation
Twenty-First-Century Evaluation

We have shown how the concept of validity has assumed a pivotal role across decades of debate on the characteristics of quality in educational and psychological measurement; also, how it has proven extremely resistant to definition. In our final chapter we attempt to sidestep the lexical dispute over what the term ‘validity’ ought to apply to, by choosing not to affiliate with any of the camps described toward the end of Chapter 5: that is, by choosing not to define validity either broadly or narrowly. Instead, we focus squarely on the overall evaluation of testing policy, and attempt to explain how the various dimensions of evaluation can be related to each other.

This way of ending the book is a response to concerns expressed in recent years by many measurement professionals, that the ...

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