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Developing and piloting a framework for the validation of A levels

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Shaw, Stuart 
Crisp, Vicki 


Validity is a key principle of assessment, a central aspect of which relates to whether the interpretations and uses of test scores are appropriate and meaningful (Kane, 2006). For this to be the case, various criteria must be achieved, such as good representation of intended constructs, and avoidance of construct irrelevant variance. Additionally, some conceptualisations of validity include consideration of the consequences that may result from the assessment, such as effects on classroom practice. The kinds of evidence needed may vary depending on the intended uses of assessment outcomes. For example, if assessment results are designed to be used to inform decisions about future study or employment, it is important to ascertain that the qualification acts as suitable preparation for this study or employment, and to some extent predicts likely success.

This article reports briefly on the development, piloting and revision of a framework and methodology for validating general academic qualifications such as A levels. The development drew on previously proposed frameworks for validation from the literature, and the resulting framework and set of methods were piloted with International A level Geography. This led to revisions to the framework and use with A level Physics.



Evaluation of assessment, Psychology of assessment, Validity, A Level/AS Level

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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