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The study of validity is greatly aided by the States and school districts have a responsibility to educate students with disabilities.
Part of this responsibility is validating the interpretations and uses of the students' test scores.
A basic education typically includes acquiring both knowledge and skills.
A convenient way to think about achievement in this context is to imagine a of objectives that students learn to accomplish.
Traditional criterion-referenced and domain-referenced testing, which were popular in the past, featured tests designed to measure a student's status with regard to a large domain of knowledge and skills for which every bit of knowledge and every skill had a reference to a student learning objective.
We could isolate the knowledge and skills well, and we could teach them effectively.
The main reason is that the multiple-choice format provides the best chance for very good sampling from a domain, which usually allows tests to be more reliable. Multiple choice tests are usually substantially less expensive than other formats.
Nevertheless, for some important skills (e.g., reading skills such as phonemic awareness and reading fluency), multiple choice tests are not suitable. The validity argument states that some tests will produce scores that can be interpreted validly as measures of student achievement and used validly in a manner that is stated publicly (Kane, 1992).
The most important and fundamental step in any testing program to ensure a valid assessment of student learning is to define the academic content (American Educational Research Association et al., 1999, chap. Understanding what students learn (or are supposed to learn) in school is fundamental to designing tests that help assess student learning.For example, a student with a vision impairment may have trouble reading a complex mathematics problem presented in small print on a single page.The ability of the test to accurately measure this student's performance on the task could be compromised.However, by changing the mode of presentation—for example, using a larger font—the effect of the vision impairment is removed, thus providing the student a fairer opportunity to perform.
Appropriate accommodations in the design or administration of a test for students with disabilities may be necessary to improve the validity of the results.
The validation process is described here from an ideal perspective, with the understanding of the reality that all states and school districts have limited resources for validation.