Criterion Contamination

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  • A criterion measure being influenced by something other than the performance related to the construct. Contamination is also often defined as the failure of an actual criterion measure to overlap with the ideal or the ultimate criterion measure. Contamination can occur for several reasons, such as low reliability, rater bias, cheating, or other construct-irrelevant influences. Contamination is contrasted with criterion deficiency, where the criterion fails to measure important aspects related to the construct. An example of criterion contamination might occur on a test intended to measure math aptitude that is highly influenced by respondents' verbal abilities.

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