Developing mentors to support students in practice, Part assessment and Accountability; – Assessment in practice. Summary

Validity and Reliability of Assessments

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Validity and Reliability of Assessments

Early and careful planning of assessment is imperative to ensure assessment of practice proceeds in a systematic order to maximise learning and reduce the student from experiencing undue stress (Gopee 2011). Walsh (2010) stresses that the process of assessment must be robust in order to accurately assist the mentor or practice teacher in making realistic judgments about a student’s level of competence to decide whether or not to pass or fail them. Assessments need to be transparent (Price 2005a). Therefore students need to be aware of the type of assessment methods that are to be used, when, how long they will last, the criteria that they are being assessed against and the opportunities available to check on their progress.

Hand (2006) stresses that mentors and practice teachers need to use more than one type of assessment method in order to assess and be sure that the student has met all of the knowledge and performance outcomes. According to Stuart (2007) this is known as, between – methods triangulation and Hand (2006) confirms that this is a means of enhancing validity and reliability. However, Redfern et al (2002) suggests that every method of clinical assessment has its strength and weaknesses, but some lack adequate validity and reliability. Cassidy (2007) purports that when using multiple sources of evidence to assess a student’s competence mentors and practice teachers need to ensure that there is a clear legitimate audit trail to accompany their accountability for the decisions they make.
Quinn and Hughes (2007), Hand (2006) and Walsh (2010) assert that there are several key elements to the effectiveness of assessment in order to improve the quality and ensure objectivity. These are known as the ‘four cardinal criteria’ of assessment; validity, reliability, discrimination and practicality. Validity is the most crucial (Gopee (2011) as it refers to the extent to which the assessment measures what it intends to measure. In other words does the assessment actually measure the learning outcomes or the competencies it sets out to assess? Complete learning activity 3

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