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6:3 Systemic validity

The link between assessment and instruction is also important to systemic validity. As the name suggests, systemic validity refers to the cycle of evaluation and instruction. A systemically valid assessment is one that causes a change in the instruction or curriculum that fosters the development of the cognitive skills that the assessment is designed to measure (Cohen, 1994). When you evaluate the portfolio (or an individual piece), you should be able to determine the effectiveness of classroom activities on student learning and use the results to influence future instructional planning. For example, a portfolio is systemically valid if the use of the portfolio alters the instruction so that it focuses on the skills that are being evaluated by the portfolio assessment.

You can check systemic validity after the portfolio project is complete by asking: What are the results that I received from the process? What do the results tell me about the students' ability to meet the course objectives? How have I altered my instruction? How should I continue to change it? Getting answers will be easy, as most classroom activities tell us something about our instruction. The difficulty will be in determining why the instruction was or was not effective, and how to use the information to reformulate instruction.


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