An ELT Glossary : Content validity

Content validity is a test quality concerned with whether the test under consideration tests only what has been covered in the preceding course (for progress tests), the preceding course syllabus (for achievement tests) or test specification (for proficiency tests).

Examples : 
  • in their course, the learners have been studying the present continuous for ongoing present events, These are included in their progress test, but the reading comprehension also includes several examples of the present continuous used to express future arrangements - and tests learners on their understanding of this. This test lacks content validity.
  • a professional qualification for language teachers has a methodology syllabus which consists of 100 items. In the written exam which they sit, they are asked about something which is not included in the syllabus. This test lacks content validity.