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Cambridge Assessment Network: Validity and the value of educational assessments

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Understanding of the concept of validity has been developing over the past century. It is the fundamental aspect of any assessment but it is claimed that present explanations of validity are not helpful because they emphasise the interpretation and use of assessment results, a matter over which exam and test developers have limited control. Traditionally, examinations in the UK have relied on maintaining a close link with the content of the teaching curriculum to underpin the validity of their assessments. Can we ensure the value of assessment results by simply reaffirming this traditional system?

Key topics

■Validity and value ■Definitions of validity ■Aspects of validity ■Current debate about the meaning of validity ■Validation

Speaker biography

Andrew Watts began his career as a teacher of English in England. After eleven years he moved to Singapore where he taught at a Junior College (for A level) for over four years. Andrew then worked for five and a half years in the Curriculum Planning Division of the Ministry of Education in Singapore, focusing on curriculum development in English teaching and in-service teacher development. In 1990 he returned to England and worked with Cambridge Assessment from the summer of 1992. For most of that time Andrew looked after teams that were developing national tests for 14-year-olds in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

As Director of the Cambridge Assessment Network from 2004 to January 2009, Andrew led the setting up of the Network, whose purpose is to promote online and face-to-face professional development opportunities for teachers and those who work in assessment.

Andrew now works freelance on a variety of education and assessment projects. He contributes regularly to assessment seminars, workshops, training courses and conferences both in the UK and internationally

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