Threats to the Valid Use of Assessments

  • Crooks T
  • Kane M
  • Cohen A
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Abstract Validity is the most important quality of an assessment, but its evaluation is often neglected. The step‐by‐step approach suggested here provides structured guidance to validators of educational assessments. Assessment is depicted as a chain of eight linked stages: administration, scoring, aggregation, generalization, extrapolation, evaluation, decision and impact. Evaluating validity requires careful consideration of threats to validity associated with each link. Several threats are described and exemplified for each link. These sets of threats are intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive. The chain model suggests that validity is limited by the weakest link, and that efforts to make other links particularly strong may be wasteful or even harmful. The chain model and list of threats is also shown to be valuable when planning assessments.

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  • Terry J. Crooks

  • Michael T. Kane

  • Allan S. Cohen

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