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The Once and Future Issues of Validity: Assessing the Meaning and Consequences of Measurement

Messick, Samuel J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Test Interpretation, Test Use, Test Validity, Testing Problems


A unified view of test validity is propounded that stresses both the existing evidence for and the potential consequences of test interpretation and use. The thrust of this unified view is that appropriateness, meaningfulness, and usefulness of score-based inferences are inseparable and that the unifying force is empirically-grounded construct interpretation. Evidence and theoretical rationales are examined indicating that construct interpretation undergirds all score-based inferences--not just those related to interpretive meaningfulness but also the content-and criterion-related inferences specific to applied decisions and actions based on test scores. (28pp.)

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