Psychometrics by R. Michael Furr & Verne R. Bacharach

Psychometrics by R. Michael Furr & Verne R. Bacharach

Author:R. Michael Furr & Verne R. Bacharach
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781483321929
Publisher: Sage Publisher
Published: 2014-04-14T16:00:00+00:00


Other Perspectives on Validity

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So far, this chapter has conceptualized validity in terms of the degree to which test scores can be accurately interpreted as reflecting a particular psychological construct. This perspective assumes that test scores are linked to a construct that has a clear theoretical basis. Indeed, the types of evidence outlined above are related to the fit between various aspects of test responses and various aspects of a construct’s theoretical basis. Because it ties test scores so strongly to theory-based psychological attributes, this perspective is, in essence, a theory-testing view of validity. However, there are at least three alternative perspectives on validity. You might encounter these alternative perspectives in your readings or discussions, so we briefly describe them here.

Criterion validity is an alternative perspective that de-emphasizes the conceptual meaning or interpretation of test scores. Test users might simply wish to use a test to differentiate between groups of people or to make predictions about future outcomes. For example, a human resources director might need to use a test to help predict which applicants are most likely to perform well as employees. From a very practical standpoint, she might not care about the particular psychological construct that the test might be measuring, and she might not be concerned about the theoretical implications of high and low test scores. Instead, she focuses on the test’s ability to differentiate good employees from poor employees. If the test does this well, then the test is “valid” enough for her purposes.

From the traditional three-faceted view of validity mentioned earlier, criterion validity refers to the degree to which test scores can predict specific criterion variables. From this perspective, the key to validity is the empirical association between test scores and scores on the relevant criterion variable, such as “job performance.” Concurrent validity and predictive validity have traditionally been viewed as two types of criterion validity because they refer to the association between test scores and specific criterion variables. According to the traditional perspective on criterion validity, the psychological meaning of test scores is relatively unimportant—all that matters is the test’s ability to differentiate groups or predict specific outcomes.

Although criterion validity is a relatively common term in psychometrics and has traditionally been viewed as a separate type of validity, the contemporary perspective suggests that evidence of criterion associations should be subsumed within the larger and more important concept of construct validity (Messick, 1989). From this perspective, criterion validity is not sufficient on its own, even for purely practical or applied contexts such as employee screening. Indeed, Messick (1989) suggests that



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