Defining and Distinguishing Validity: Interpretations of Score Meaning and Justifications of Test Use

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The concept of validity has suffered because the term has been used to refer to 2 incompatible concerns: the degree of support for specified interpretations of test scores (i.e., intended score meaning) and the degree of support for specified applications (i.e., intended test uses). This article has 3 purposes: (a) to provide a brief summary of current validity theory, (b) to illustrate the incompatibility of incorporating score meaning and score use into a single concept, and (c) to propose and describe a framework that both accommodates and differentiates validation of test score inferences and justification of test use.

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