Chapter 3: Making valid inferences
In chapter 3, Christodoulou addresses the idea of the different purposes of assessment. This is a good introduction to the notion of how purpose affects what data we collect. The overview of validity and reliability is clear and cogent and serves as a useful guide to the teaching novice. In fact, I am seriously considering using this chapter with my PGCE students when we discuss assessment. The section on the trade-offs between reliability and validity in subjects like history is particularly helpful. Certainly it might help students question the merits of allowing students to take assessments home to finish for example.
The second part of the chapter deals with the issue of formative assessment. Of particular note, and very important, is the point that formative assessments cannot legitimately use summative grading criteria when the conditions are so different. This is a very direct challenge to all those schools whose post-levels solution has been to bring in GCSE grading for every piece of work from KS3-4. This echoes much work done over the last 2 decades in history education, notably that of Lee, Shemilt, Counsell, Brown, Burnham, and many others.
So far, I have found this the most useful chapter, possibly because the underlying idea of a clash of ideologies seems to be less evident here.