Validation of learning assessments: A primer

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2017 Sep;9(5):925-933. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2017.06.001. Epub 2017 Jul 29.


The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education's Standards 2016 has placed greater emphasis on validating educational assessments. In this paper, we describe validity, reliability, and validation principles, drawing attention to the conceptual change that highlights one validity with multiple evidence sources; to this end, we recommend abandoning historical (confusing) terminology associated with the term validity. Further, we describe and apply Kane's framework (scoring, generalization, extrapolation, and implications) for the process of validation, with its inferences and conclusions from varied uses of assessment instruments by different colleges and schools of pharmacy. We then offer five practical recommendations that can improve reporting of validation evidence in pharmacy education literature. We describe application of these recommendations, including examples of validation evidence in the context of pharmacy education. After reading this article, the reader should be able to understand the current concept of validation, and use a framework as they validate and communicate their own institution's learning assessments.

Keywords: Assessment; Psychometrics; Reliability; Validation; Validity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Pharmacy / methods
  • Education, Pharmacy / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results