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Module 9. Construct Validity

In the introduction to Module 7, we noted that the contemporary conception of validation includes any evidence examining the accuracy of the inferences and conclusions drawn from test scores. While the evidence provided by the contentand criterion-related methods discussed in the earlier modules is relatively narrow in scope, construct validation might be considered a more comprehensive umbrella approach that subsumes all validation approaches. The construct approach first and foremost recognizes that psychological constructs are abstract theoretical conceptions. Unlike concrete constructs such as distance or weight, psychological constructs such as empathy, intelligence, and greed are not directly measureable. Rather, we observe and measure behaviors to provide evidence of these latent constructs. However, even experts can differ on their definition of a construct. Therefore, test developers must be sure to carefully define their construct as a necessary first step in the test development process (see Module 4: “Test Preparation and Specification”).