Qualities of Good Assessments: Standardization, Practicality, Reliability & Validity

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  • 0:04 4 Qualities of Good…
  • 0:58 Reliability
  • 2:10 Standardization
  • 3:28 Validity
  • 4:20 Practicality
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Melissa Hurst

Melissa has a Masters in Education and a PhD in Educational Psychology. She has worked as an instructional designer at UVA SOM.

Have you ever been in the middle of an assessment and thought, 'This question is unfair!' or 'This exam covers material I have never seen before!' If so, the assessment probably did not possess the qualities that make an assessment effective. This lesson will introduce you to the qualities of good assessments: reliability, standardization, validity, and practicality.

4 Qualities of Good Assessments

'Ugh! I am so frustrated! That was the worst test I have ever had!'

'I know! I probably knew only half the answers at most, and it was like the test had material from some other book, not the one we were supposed to study!'

'And what was with that loud hammering during the test? Couldn't the repair men have waited until after school to repair the roof?!'

'Yeah, all of that coupled with the fact that I was starving during the test ensures that I'll get a failing grade for sure.'

This was definitely not a good assessment. A good assessment is supposed to show what we have truly learned. There are four qualities of good assessments. Educators should ensure these qualities are met before assessing students. They are:

  • Reliability
  • Standardization
  • Validity
  • Practicality


Reliability is defined as the extent to which an assessment yields consistent information about the knowledge, skills, or abilities being assessed. An assessment is considered reliable if the same results are yielded each time the test is administered.

For example, if we took a test in History today to assess our understanding of World War I and then took another test on World War I next week, we would expect to see similar scores on both tests. This would indicate the assessment was reliable. Reliability in an assessment is important because assessments provide information about student achievement and progress.

There are many conditions that may impact reliability. They include: day-to-day changes in the student, such as energy level, motivation, emotional stress, and even hunger; the physical environment, which includes classroom temperature, outside noises, and distractions; administration of the assessment, which includes changes in test instructions and differences in how the teacher responds to questions about the test; and subjectivity of the test scorer.


Another quality of a good assessment is standardization. We take many standardized tests in school that are for state or national assessments, but standardization is a good quality to have in classroom assessments as well. Standardization refers to the extent to which the assessment and procedures of administering the assessment are similar, and the assessment is scored similarly for each student.

Standardized assessments have several qualities that make them unique and standard. First, all students taking the particular assessment are given the same instructions and time limit. Second, the assessments contain the same or very similar questions. And third, the assessments are scored, or evaluated, with the same criteria.

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