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Cambridge Assessment Network: Validity Unpacked

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Throughout nearly one hundred years of educational and psychological measurement and assessment theorisation the primacy of validity has been consistently affirmed. Validity theory has evolved from disparate and contested origins to a point where there is now strong professional consensus over a precise, technical meaning. While validity can be treated as a synonym for assessment quality it also remains one of the most controversial topics in educational and psychological measurement.

This workshop will seek to respond to two fundamental questions in relation to current conceptions of validity, the first concerning validity theory and the second concerning validation practice:

1.What does it mean to claim validity? 2.How can a claim to validity be substantiated? Participants will be given an opportunity to explore issues surrounding the current consensus as well as an opportunity to consider alternate, divergent conceptions of validity.

Speaker biography

Stuart Shaw is Principal Research Officer and Research Co-ordinator, Assessment Standards and Quality at Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

Stuart has worked for Cambridge Assessment since January 2001 where he began as a Validation Officer in the Research and Validation Unit (Cambridge English, previously Cambridge ESOL ) with specific skill responsibilities for Writing for a range of Cambridge English products. In June 2007, Stuart moved away from Cambridge English examinations into mainstream international examinations. He is particularly interested in demonstrating how Cambridge Assessment in general, and CIE in particular, are seeking to meet the demands of validity in their assessments. Recent publications include: Examining Writing: Research and practice in assessing second language writing (Shaw and Weir, 2007); and, The IELTS Writing Assessment Revision Project: towards a revised rating scale (Shaw and Falvey, 2008). He is currently working with Dr Paul Newton on a textbook provisionally entitled ‘Validity: Theorising the evaluation of educational and psychological measurement’.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Assessment Network series.

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