The Chimera of Validity

by Eva L. Baker - 2013

Background/Context: Education policy over the past 40 years has focused on the importance of accountability in school improvement. Although much of the scholarly discourse around testing and assessment is technical and statistical, understanding of validity by a non-specialist audience is essential as long as test results drive our educational system and accountability.

Purpose: To portray the roles and functions of testing in U.S. educational contexts and the challenges faced in upholding validity principles in practice.

Research Design: This historical and analytical piece explores the evolution of the concept of validity, its treatment in scholarly discourse, along with challenges faced in practice, and projects future possibilities for educational assessments and their validity.

Conclusions: The challenge is to imagine a fantasy (like a chimera) where technology, globalization, changes in demography, societal expectations, and individual preferences could impact new forms of tests without losing evidence of their technical quality, including validity. A brief argument is made to consider the learning of skills rather than an exclusive focus on content as the core business of assessment.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase The Chimera of Validity
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Choose this to join the mailing list or add an announcement.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 9, 2013, p. 1-26 ID Number: 17106, Date Accessed: 9/19/2019 12:50:59 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review