The Validity of National Curriculum Assessment

British Journal of Educational Studies 49 (1):26 - 39 (2001)
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This paper reviews the validity of National Curriculum assessment in England. It works with the concept of 'consequential validity' (Messick, 1989) which incorporates both conventional 'reliability' issues and the use to which any assessment is put. The review uses the eight stage 'threats to validity' model developed by Crooks, Kane and Cohen (1996). The complexity of National Curriculum assessment makes evaluation difficult. These assessments are used for a variety of purposes so that the 'consequential' aspects are compounded. National Curriculum assessment also involves both Teacher Assessment and tests - each of which has strengths and limitations in relation to validity. The main finding is that the validity of National Curriculum assessment hinges on the balance between Teacher Assessment and testing. Between them they can meet Crooks et al.'s requirements of a valid assessment system. The current emphasis on the use of test results for school accountability and as a measure of national standards has undermined Teacher Assessment to a point at which the validity of the system is in question.



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