Testing and Assessment Reliability and Validity Paper



1. Reliability is an important feature of a test or an assessment (Cohen, Swerdlik & Struman, 2013). It means consistency and ability to depend on the test results. A test is reliable when it allows getting the same results after it is taken many times. According to Cohen and Spenciner (2007), reliability is the consistency or stability of test performance. Thus, test should be reliable that administer could check it properly and draw right conclusions from its results (p. 38).

There are certain methods, which allow checking whether the test is reliable or no. The test has to provide similar or same results. If it measures personal characteristics, traits or other features, it should give the same results when a person retakes the test shortly after the first testing. It is very important to pay attention to timing in this case. For example, a person takes a test and gets certain results. Hence, in order to check the tests reliability, it is wise to ask the individual to take the test once again approximately one week after it was done for the first time. If a person is approached long time after the test, it would be harder to determine tests reliability. For instance, the test was about personal traits, but the tested has changed greatly after a long period of time. Therefore, the results of the first and second testing would be different. It is also unwise to retake the test the next day because a person may answer by inertia still remembering his or her previous answers. On the contrary, some scholars argue that retesting after a day will not differ greatly from retesting after a week (Marx et al., 2003). Nevertheless, retesting should be done after a certain time: a person will not change, but will not remember previous test answers. Such method is called test-retest reliability, and it shows consistency of a test across time; thus, in order to get the best results, it ought to be done under similar conditions to the first testing. This method works well with tests focused on consistent things; although it allows checking reliability, it is still not exact.

There are other methods to check the reliability. For example, there is an inter-rate reliability, which requires few independent judges to take a test. There is also parallel-form reliability, which compares two different tests with similar content. Moreover, there is a method of internal consistency, which focuses on items of the test to determine the reliability. Good timing and suitable conditions for testing affect test results, and that is why they should be taken into consideration.

2. If one wants to check and evaluate a test, he or she also has to think of validity in test and assessment. Test is valid if it appropriately measures what it is supposed to measure (Miller, Linn, & Gronlund, 2012).

Validity consists of certain features. It focuses on the content of the test. It also evaluates test consequences. Two more features of validity are the assessment-criterion relationship and construct (Miller, Linn, & Gronlund, 2012).

In order to decide whether the test is valid or not, these features have to be analyzed. There are also certain factors (for example, factors related to peoples responses), which are to be taken into account while determining tests validity. Validity can be checked through many ways (Cronbach, 1971). There is face validity when a test or assessment is checked by their face value or visual standard. Content validity focuses on the content of the test to determine whether it is valid and measures what it has to measure. An interesting way to check validity is through criterion validity itself. In this case, a person who gets a high score meets certain criteria, and his or her results are compared to the objectives of the test. Finally, there is constructing validity, which emphasizes the psychological construct of the text.

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3. Both reliability and validity are important in tests and assessments. They allow determining main features of tests. They also show whether the test can be used or not, as well as if an assessment is correct or not. Thus, both these characteristics define whether the test is effective and gives objective results. In such a case, it can be used since it provides trustworthy results, which can be double-checked. Hence, such results may be used in many areas for different purposes. It can be seen that validity and reliability of a test provide high-quality and exact approach toward many scientific issues.

Validity and reliability also allow creating certain norms concerning tests. For example, without these two features there would be no effective model for creating the legitimate tests. Researchers and test-makers would create many tests without practical ways of checking them. Therefore, they would not be able to use the results and have hard time in determining the objectives.

To sum up, it is important to add that the test is useful only when it can be trusted, and in order it to be characterized with such a feature, it should be both reliable and valid. If a test provides similar results many times it was taken, it surely is reliable and consistent. Nevertheless, there would be no use of it when the test was invalid. However, certain questions arise: like what is the use of reliability if a test does not measure the right things or when it is valid, but not consistent. It may be created to measure intended objectives, but the answers may differ greatly. In this case, combining validity and reliability is crucial.

4. Norming means constructing norms. In tests and assessment, it means creating certain standards, which allow determining and structuring their results. For instance, when norming is used in a test, a researcher or test-maker can create a table allowing him or her to compare the results of a single individual with those of the entire group which took the test. Furthermore, norming specifies whether the test goes along with particular standards and requirements. For example, it shows that the test is appropriate for a targeted group.

Norming is extremely significant in terms of reducing or eliminating errors and bias in tests. Specifically, the norming table, as it has been mentioned above, allows seeing possible errors and further improving tests.

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