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This lesson will cover concurrent validity and illustrate the difference between concurrent and predictive validity. Then, you can test your new knowledge with a quiz.

What Is Concurrent Validity?

Concurrent validity is a concept commonly used in psychology, education, and social science. It refers to the extent to which the results of a particular test, or measurement, correspond to those of a previously established measurement for the same construct. So, how does this work?

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Examples of Concurrent Validity

Imagine that you are a psychologist developing a new psychological test designed to measure depression, called the Rice Depression Scale. Once your test is fully developed, you decide that you want to make sure that it is valid; in other words, you want to make sure that the test accurately measures what it is supposed to measure. One way to do this is to look for other tests that have already been found to be valid measures of your construct, administer both tests, and compare the results of the tests to each other.

Since the construct, or psychological concept, that you want to measure is depression, you search for psychological tests that measure depression. In your search, you come across the Beck Depression Inventory, which researchers have determined through several studies is a valid measure of depression. You recruit a sample of individuals to take both the Rice Depression Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory at the same time.You analyze the results and find the scores on the Rice Depression Scale have a high positive correlation to the scores on the Beck Depression Scale.

That is, the higher the individual scores on the Rice Depression Scale, the higher their score on the Beck Depression Inventory. Likewise, the lower the score on the Rice Depression Scale, the lower the score on the Beck Depression Inventory. You conclude that the scores on the Rice Depression Scale correspond to the scores on the Beck Depression Inventory.

You have just established concurrent validity.

Concurrent vs. Predictive Validity

Concurrent validity is one of the two types of criterion-related validity. Criterion-related validity refers to the degree to which a measurement can accurately predict specific criterion variables. Criterion-related validity is important because it can tell us how accurately a measurement can predict criteria or indicators of a construct in the real world. In other words, how likely is it the Rice Depression Scale is actually able to predict that a person meets the diagnostic criteria (the real-world indicator) of depression?The two types of criterion-related validity are concurrent validity and predictive validity.

Predictive validity refers to the extent to which scores on a measurement are able to accurately predict future performance on some other measure of the construct they represent. For example, many colleges and universities require potential students to take either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT) in order to be admitted. This is because both the SAT and the ACT have high predictive validity; a person’s scores on both tests are accurately able to predict a person’s academic performance in college.When we examine concurrent validity, both measures are taken at the same time. For example, sample participants were given the Rice Depression Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory at the same time. When measuring predictive validity, one measurement is given before the other.

For example, you take the ACT before you are admitted to the school and your academic performance in college is measured.Let’s look at another example. Susan is a psychologist that has recently developed a test to measure perceived stress in her patients.

Before she administers the test to any of her clients, she decides to measure concurrent validity. Susan has a sample of individuals take both her test and the Perceived Stress Scale, which is a previously validated measure of stress. Susan finds that those who scored high on her test also scored high on the Perceived Stress Scale and vice versa. Susan has just established concurrent validity.

Lesson Summary

Let’s review. Concurrent validity refers to the degree in which the scores on a measurement are related to other scores on other measurements that have already been established as valid.

It is different from predictive validity, which requires you to compare test scores to performance on some other measure in the future. Both concurrent and predictive validity are types of criterion-related validity. So, remember, if you ever decide to create a test, make sure that you compare it to tests that have been previously validated. It could prevent you from measuring the wrong thing!

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