Purpose, Reliability, Validity, and Achievement Standards

Led by Michael Andrew Clarke

In this session we will explore the nature and language of assessment. We will discuss the purpose of assessments. This will include the intended purpose, the articulated purpose, the functional purpose, the actual purpose, and the impact of assessments whether purposeful or not. This session is particularly meaningful for parents, politicians, students, educators, and education researchers who often make decisions based on assessment results like Common Entrance Exam Results, CXC results, and Cape results. We will discuss formative and summative assessments and deconstruct the false dichotomy that is often associated with these descriptors of assessments.  We will also discuss the reliability and validity of assessments. We will then connect this discussion to Achievement Standards. We will examine the utility of the narrative of achievement standards: what does it mean to pass, to fail, to be at a basic level, to be proficient, to be advanced, to be awarded a distinction, a merit, to get a grade of A, B, or other grade, to get a 90% score (qualitatively or quantitatively determined), or to be at the 90th percentile? What do raw scores and scaled scores represent and how comparable are they? We will also discuss the appropriateness of different types of achievement standard narratives and the defining contexts.