The reliability of an assessment tool is the extent to which it consistently and accurately measures learning.
When the results of an assessment are reliable, we can be conﬁdent that repeated or equivalent assessments will provide consistent results. This puts us in a better position to make generalised statements about a student’s level of achievement, which is especially important when we are using the results of an assessment to make decisions about teaching and learning, or when we are reporting back to students and their parents or caregivers. No results, however, can be completely reliable. There is always some random variation that may affect the assessment, so educators should always be prepared to question results.
Factors which can affect reliability:
The length of the assessment – a longer assessment generally produces more reliable results.
The suitability of the questions or tasks for the students being assessed.
The phrasing and terminology of the questions.
The consistency in test administration – for example, the length of time given for the assessment, instructions given to students before the test.
The design of the marking schedule and moderation of marking procedures.
The readiness of students for the assessment for example, a hot afternoon or straight after physical activity might not be the best time for students to be assessed.
Educational assessment should always have a clear purpose. Nothing will be gained from assessment unless the assessment has some validity for the purpose. For that reason, validity is the most important single attribute of a good test.
The validity of an assessment tool is the extent to which it measures what it was designed to measure, without contamination from other characteristics. For example, a test of reading comprehension should not require mathematical ability.
There are several different types of validity
Face validity: do the assessment items appear to be appropriate
Content validity; the assessment content cover what you want to asses.
Criterion-related validity; the test measure what you want it to.
Construct validity; measuring what you think you're measuring
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