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The Validity Criteria: Selecting the Right Clinical Assessment

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When it comes to selecting the appropriate assessments for the individuals in your care proper preparation and consideration is essential. It can be tempting to rely solely on the recommendations of peers or field experts to guide your assessment selection, but if you’re unfamiliar with the content it’s always best to study it yourself before choosing.

According to Dr. Shirag Shemmassian, Ph.D. there are four key reasons for evaluating assessments before putting them into practice. These are:

  1. You’re looking for an assessment to evaluate a person with a condition or problem you haven’t evaluated before
  2. Your current assessment to evaluate a specific domain has poor psychometric properties and you want to make sure your new selection evaluates more accurately
  3. A new edition of a current assessment is released and you want to make sure the new version still provides you with the tool you need
  4. You have difficulties with a current assessment you’re using (such as difficulty administering or scoring) and want to make sure your new selection is free from such problems

As you can see you must consider many extenuating factors that can affect the success or failure of a new assessment you select, and without firsthand knowledge of the assessment you might choose one and only once you’ve administered it realize you chose wrong.

According to Dr. Shemmassian, when considering the validity of an assessment what we’re really concerned with is whether the assessment will actually measure what it says it does and won’t measure what it’s not supposed to.

Within the concept of validity lay three more specific validities that you should be aware of when evaluating and selecting assessments. These are:

  1. Construct validity
  2. Content validity
  3. Criterion validity

 
Construct validity evaluates how closely an assessment relates to a specific theory. This also leads to convergent validity or how an assessment’s scores should be associated with scores of other assessments of the same construct but not with assessments for unrelated constructs.

Content validity measures whether or not an assessment has appropriate content to measure the intended construct accurately. If you choose an assessment intended to measure sensory processing but upon administering the assessment realize that it appears more closely related to Attention Deficit Disorder you won’t receive valid results.

Criterion validity is the degree to which an assessment is associated with established measures or outcomes for a given construct. Your chosen assessment for a construct should provide an evaluation that follows accepted standards for what you’re trying to measure, and if it doesn’t it may be invalid.

Bearing these criteria in mind will ensure that you objectively evaluate an assessment before selecting it for use with individuals in your care. So whether you are comfortable evaluating assessments before use or are new to selecting assessments for individuals, having a thorough understanding of what constitutes validity is essential to selecting the assessments that will provide the most accurate results.

For those who are new to selecting assessments, a trusted clinical assessment provider can be an invaluable resource for finding assessments that will provide valid results. You will find a wide range of assessments that are verified and ready to use with data based on nationally representative samples for a given theory or construct. These ensure results that will help you select proper treatment plans for patients.

For example, if you focus on patients who struggle with speech and communication the Arizona Articulation and Phonology Scale provides insight into whether a patient needs speech pathology services based on scores defining speech Intelligibility Interpretation values, percentage of occurrence for phonological error patterns, etc. It’s easy to administer and score and meets the requirements of assessment validity that were mentioned above.

By using a trustworthy testing source you can simplify your search and have more confidence that the assessments you’re choosing from will provide valid results and intelligently guide your treatment plans for the individuals in your care. Instead of relying on the word of other professionals you can view your own options and make smart selections, such as this simple assessment for sensory processing difficulties that is a helpful resource for those wanting to know whether school age children may need additional support to stay on a proper developmental course.

Clearly, the key to selecting the appropriate assessment for a given situation is understanding the main validity criteria for a clinical assessment is whether or not it evaluates the construct it claims to evaluate based on accepted standards and norms. If this is not the case you should continue your search until you find an assessment you believe meets the validity criteria and will provide your patients with accurate results that lead to beneficial treatment decisions.

This is a sponsored post from WPS (Western Psychological Services) shared on our site to help families and educators affected by autism. Autism Educates does not necessarily endorse nor recommend any products, processes, services or modalities referenced in this post. We are an educational provider.
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