[IPAC-List] Definitions of validity

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Mon Jun 7 09:52:44 EDT 2010

Personally, I would favour any one or combination, depending on what I was doing.

Def #1 clearly has a prospective, and rather instrumental , flavour to it. That is, I wish the measure to serve some purpose or purposes, and in order to serve them adequately, it must faithfully and fully represent the conceptual space of my purposes. Case in point, let's say I have a measure of "turnover intentions". There are many ways one could look at turnover intentions: ruminations about leaving the organization completely, intentions to move around within the organization, inquiries about jobs elsewhere, intentions to leave as soon as something "better" comes along, intentions to remain until some particular instrumental value is acquired (completion of provided training, or accrual of some amount of professional experience), intentions to leave within different time frames, and so on. All of those may be valid, but if my intention is to assess whether people are not going to stay in one work unit very long, then a number of those simply don't apply...in a practical sense.

Def #2 is prospective, insomuch as it is a kind of promise, but does not have the practical flavour that #1 does.

Def #3 and #4 strike me as really being more about backward compatibility with the literature and serving research purposes.

All of those are important, AFAIC, but have added value in one context or another, depending on your purposes. ......or have I read too much into a few words?

Mark Hammer

>>> Joel Wiesen <jwiesen at appliedpersonnelresearch.com> 6/4/2010 3:07 pm >>>

How similar/different are the definitions of validity below and which
might you favor?

1. Validity is the degree to which a test measures what it SHOULD
measure, in light of its intended use(s).

2. Validity is the degree to which a test measures what it INTENDS to
measure, in light of its intended use(s).

3. Validity is the degree to which research or theoretical evidence
supports the proposed use(s) of a test.

4. APA Stds: The degree to which accumulated evidence and theory support
specific interpretations of test scores entailed by proposed use(s) of a


Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
Applied Personnel Research
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