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One source of complexity is that national curriculum assessments are used for a variety of purposes and therefore the consequential aspects are compounded.
A second complexity is that national curriculum assessment involves both Teacher Assessment and tests - each of which has strengths and limitations in relation to validity.
The concern is that the emphasis on the use of test results for accountability purposes may diminish the role of Teacher Assessment to a point at which the full programmes of study are not being adequately assessed.
National curriculum assessment National curriculum assessment has had a short but eventful history.
The original framework laid down in the TGAT(1) Report (DES,1987) was based exclusively on Teacher Assessment which would be moderated by externally set and teacher marked 'Standard Assessment Tasks'.
This framework has been progressively modified as a consequence of political and educational challenges.
Therefore, social values cannot be ignored in considerations of validity.
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The problem with this broader unified concept of validity is that its very breadth and complexity make it difficult to work with in practice and this, therefore, encourages continuing neglect of validity in the monitoring of the quality of assessments.
Validation will only flourish if approaches are developed which help to organise our thinking about important validation questions and to identify issues which need particularly close scrutiny (Shepard, 1993) In practical terms the unitary approach makes it difficult to know where to start reviewing the validity of something as complex as national curriculum assessment.
Thanks to the work of such as Messick (1989); Cronbach (1988) in America and Gipps (1994) and Wiliam (1993) in Britain, definitions of validity have moved from the 'naming of parts' to a more unitary concept: Validity is an integrated evaluative judgement of the degree to which empirical evidence and theoretical rationales support the adequacy and appropriateness of inferences and actions based on test scores or other modes of assessment.
(Messick 1989 p13) Put more simply, validity is a more all-round judgement incorporating the consequences of an assessment - as a measure of the accuracy of the inferences made from the results.
These are the statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for mathematics at key stages 1 to 4.