Validity, reliability, and defensibility of assessments in veterinary education

Kent Hecker, Claudio Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this article, we provide an introduction to and overview of issues of validity, reliability, and defensibility related to measurement of student performance In veterinary medical education. Validity has to do with the extent to which the instrument measures whatever It Is supposed to measure, reliability has to do with the consistency of measurement, and defensibility deals with the appropriate standards of the assessment procedure. An explanation of the methods that can be used to determine reliability and validity are given and examples of how they have been used in recent research findings are provided. Veterinary educators should have an understanding of each of these concepts because evaluation of veterinary students and performance measures provides evidence of utility of assessment tools, informs teaching practices, and can guide curriculum development and revision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of veterinary medical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Assessment
  • Defensibility
  • Reliability
  • Validity
  • Veterinary education

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