Thursday 30 January 2014

Hot Topic: Reliability and Validity in the Classroom

Reliability and validity are used in a variety of situations in the classroom:
Something is reliable when you do the same procedure again and get the same score. So if you give a student a speaking test and they get a 80% and then you give the same student the same test a week later and the student gets a 70%, something is not reliable. Perhaps the test was flawed, or the student had a bad day, or you were stricter than usual. The goal is to get the same, or nearly the same result, no matter how many times the test is performed and no matter who gives the test. Here is some more info about reliability.

Something is valid if it measures what it's supposed to measure. Now let's take that same speaking test. If you give that test and use it to score a student on their writing, it's not valid. Here's some more info about validity.

Reliability and Validity
These do not go hand-in-hand. Just because something is reliable does not mean it's valid and vice versa.

3 Ideas to Help
  1. One thing that I do, that may draw criticism from others, is that I don't learn by students' names. By doing this I can ensure not to show favouritism and to be objective when grading.
  2. Rubrics can also be useful when you're grading subjective items, such as paragraphs or essays.
  3. Proofreading and asking for imput is very important. We may not want someone else looking over our work. Maybe we think that we don't need any input or we don't want to bother someone, however, it is essential that you have at least one person check what you've done. Looking over a test you've created, how you're grading students, or what they think about the feedback you've given students is one great way to keep you on your toes and help you with your professional development.


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