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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.

This difficulty has been addressed by Crooks, Kane & Cohen (1996).

(Messick, 1989, p.19) The unitary approach to validity also subsumes considerations about reliability which have traditionally been treated as a separate construct.

This is because confidence in any inferences must include confidence in the results themselves, any inconsistencies in the administration, marking and grading will undermine these inferences.

The form of reporting at other key stages is not prescribed.

However the public is more likely to associate national curriculum assessment with the national tests in English, mathematics and science which are sat at the end of key stages 2(3) and 3 and the teacher marked, externally set English and mathematics tasks at the end of key stage 1(4).

If more detail was required, we could move into different types of validity: predictive; concurrent; construct; and content - with the first two combined to give criterion validity.

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