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The Concept of Validity

The Concept of Validity This article advances a simple conception of test validity: A test is valid for measuring an attribute if (a) the attribute exists and (b) variations in the attribute causally produce variation in the measurement outcomes. This conception is shown to diverge from current validity theory in several respects. In particular, the emphasis in the proposed conception is on ontology, reference, and causality, whereas current validity theory focuses on epistemology, meaning, and correlation. It is argued that the proposed conception is not only simpler but also theoretically superior to the position taken in the existing literature. Further, it has clear theoretical and practical implications for validation research. Most important, validation research must not be directed at the relation between the measured attribute and other attributes but at the processes that convey the effect of the measured attribute on the test scores. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Review American Psychological Association

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0033-295x
eISSN
1939-1471
DOI
10.1037/0033-295X.111.4.1061
pmid
15482073
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article advances a simple conception of test validity: A test is valid for measuring an attribute if (a) the attribute exists and (b) variations in the attribute causally produce variation in the measurement outcomes. This conception is shown to diverge from current validity theory in several respects. In particular, the emphasis in the proposed conception is on ontology, reference, and causality, whereas current validity theory focuses on epistemology, meaning, and correlation. It is argued that the proposed conception is not only simpler but also theoretically superior to the position taken in the existing literature. Further, it has clear theoretical and practical implications for validation research. Most important, validation research must not be directed at the relation between the measured attribute and other attributes but at the processes that convey the effect of the measured attribute on the test scores.

Journal

Psychological ReviewAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Oct 1, 2004

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