Current Concerns in Validity Theory



We are at the end of the first century of work on models of educational and psychological measurement and into a new millennium. This certainly seems like an appropriate time for looking backward and looking forward in assessment. Furthermore, a new edition of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999) has been published, and the previous editions of the Standards have served as benchmarks in the development of measurement theory.

This backward glance will be just that, a glance. After a brief historical review focusing mainly on construct validity, the current state of validity theory will be summarized, with an emphasis on the role of arguments in validation. Then how an argument-based approach might be applied will be examined in regards to two issues in validity theory: the distinction between performance-based and theory-based interpretations, and the role of consequences in validation.