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**Topics: Quality of Measurements**

Reliability Validity

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**The Quality of Measuring Instruments: Definitions**

Reliability: Consistency - the extent to which the data are consistent Validity: Accuracy- the extent to which the instrument measures what it purports to measure

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Hitting the Bull’s Eye

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**The Questions of Reliability**

To what degree does a subject’s measured performance remain consistent across repeated testings? How consistently will results be reproduced if we measure the same individuals again? What is the equivalence of results of two measurement occasions using “parallel” tests? To what extent do the individual items that go together to make up a test or inventory consistently measure the same underlying characteristic? How much consistency exists among the ratings provided by a group of raters? When we have obtained a score, how precise is it?

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True and Error Score Parallel Tests

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**Sources of Error: Conditions of Test Administration and Construction**

Changes in time limits Changes in directions Different scoring procedures Interrupted testing session Qualities of test administrator Time test is taken Sampling of items Ambiguity in wording of items/questions Ambiguous directions Climate of test situation (heating, light, ventilation, etc) Differences in observers

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**Sources of Error: Conditions of the Person Taking the Test**

Reaction to specific items Health Motivation Mood Fatigue Luck Memory and/or attention fluctuations Attitudes Test-taking skills (test-wiseness) Ability to understand instructions Anxiety

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**Reliability Reliability: ratio of true variance to observed variance**

Reliability coefficient: a numerical index which assumes a value between 0 and +1.00

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**Relation between Reliability and Error**

True-Score Variability Error True-Score Variability Error Reliable Measure (A) Unreliable Measure (B)

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**Methods of Estimating Reliablity**

Test-Retest: Repeated measures with the same test (coefficient of stability) Parallel Forms: Repeated measures with equivalent forms of a test (coefficient of equivalence) Internal Consistency: Repeated measures using items on a single test Inter-Rater: Judgments by more than one rater.

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**Reliability Is The Consistency Of A Measurement**

Repeated Measurements/Observations Person X1 X2 X Xk-->infinity Charlie Harry Reliable Repeated Measurements/Observations Person X1 X2 X Xk-->infinity Charlie Harry Unreliable

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**Test-Retest Reliability**

Situation: Same people taking two administrations of the same test Procedure: Correlate scores on the two tests which yields the coefficient of stability Meaning: the extent to which scores on a test can be generalized over different occasions (temporal stability). Appropriate use: Information about the stability of the trait over time.

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**Parallel (Alternate)Forms Reliability**

Situation: Testing of same people on different but comparable forms of the test Procedure: correlate the scores from the two tests which yields a coefficient of equivalence Meaning: the consistency of response to different item samples (where testing is immediate) and across occasions (where testing is delayed). Appropriate use: to provide information about the equivalence of forms

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**Internal Consistency Reliability**

Situation: a single administration of one test form Procedure: Divide test into comparable halves and correlate scores from both halves. Split Half with Spearman Brown adjustment Kuder Richardson #20 and #21 Cronbach’s Alpha Meaning: consistency across the parts of a measuring instrument (“parts” = individual items or subgroups of items). Appropriate Use: Where focus is on the degree to which same characteristic is being measured. A measure of test homogeneity.

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**Inter-rater Reliability**

Situation: Having a sample of test papers (essays) scored independently by two examiners Procedure: correlate the two sets of scores Kendall’s coefficient of concordance Cohen’s kappa Intraclass correlation Pearson product moment Meaning: measure of scorer (rater) reliability (consistency, agreement) which yields the coefficient of concordance. Appropriate Use: For ensuring consistency between raters

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**When is a reliability satisfactory?**

Depends on the type of instrument Depends on the purpose of the study Depends on who is affected by results

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**Factors Affecting Reliability Estimates**

Test length Range of scores Item similarity

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**Standard Error of Measurement**

All tests scores contain some error For any test, the higher the reliability estimate, the lower the error The standard error or measurement is the average standard deviation of the error variance over the number of people in the sample Can be used to estimate a range within which a true score would likely fall

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**Use of Standard Error of Measurement**

We never know the true score By knowing the s.e.m. and by understanding the normal curve, we can assess the likelihood of the true score being within certain limits. The higher the reliability the lower the standard error of measurement, hence more confidence we can place in the accuracy of a person’s test score.

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Normal Curve Areas Under the Curve .3413 .3413 .1359 .1359 68% .0214 .0214 95% .0013 .0013 99% -3se -2se -1se +1se +2se +3se X=test score

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**Warnings about Reliability**

No such thing as “the” reliability; Different methods are assessing consistency from different perspectives Reliability coefficients apply to the data, NOT to the instrument Any reliability is only an estimate of consistency

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