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6:2 Content validity

Both the audience and the purpose of the portfolio play a major role in determining content validity. For an instrument to have high content validity, it should be developed for a specific class working toward a certain purpose and specific objectives. When designing a portfolio project, you will want to analyze it for its appropriateness for your students.

To evaluate or establish content validity ask yourself these two questions: Does the portfolio match the instructional purpose and objectives of the course? Is the portfolio (or the individual piece) assessing what I set out to assess? If you set the purpose of the portfolio in line with course objectives, match the contents of the portfolio to the purpose, and establish clear criteria in relation to the original objectives, your portfolio will have content validity. In general, portfolios have high content validity because they integrate instruction and assessment as the work that students produce in the classroom becomes artifacts and attestations in the portfolio.

Validity: the appropriateness of an assessment tool for a specific student or group of students.

Content validity: the connection between course objectives and assessment criteria

Systemic validity: the effects of results on teaching and learning

Face validity: the perceived value of the instrument.


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