Reliability and validity in assessment ...

I have just enjoyed a two day course on assessment ... measuring assessment and determining the value of questions within a large population question bank. While some of the methodology explored, related to other styles and levels of assessment. It did give me an interesting and informed insight into some of the madness of our national penchant for examinations. Along with a view that our view (in the UK) is increasingly out of kilter with the rest of the planet.

One of the many factors at play is the question ... is the construct upon which the assessment is based, valid, let alone reliable.

While I have not 'accurately' assimilated this idea and can only, for the time being, run with my own biased viewpoint. It has made me stop and think about:

  • The sheer volume of assessments we inflict upon the education system. Their accuracy and the notion that now we have compulsory education until 18, the redundancy of the GCSE.
  • How in nearly all educational establishments, the exam seems to rule, yet there are other valid assessment tools.
  • Competency based assessment seems to have lesser value than general graded assessment, yet high value roles demand this (think about airline pilots before you form a view).
In some areas where I have some control, I am thinking about how we assess. How I assess and the value of this model. I may have hit the right formula, but could always tweak, test and critically assess what I am actually looking for.

Is it reliable?


  1. valid, reliable, and fair - competency-based assessment is fine when assessing a level of competence, the Oz vocational education and training system doesn't have a place for knowledge-based assessment though, which of course is ludicrous. Plus I wouldn't want to wish our paper-based process-driven audit regime on you, it makes ISO9000 seem like a walk in the park - retirement can't come sooner enough


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