Psychology Stuff

Reliability vs. Validity

validity- Statistical technique used to determine if a test is actually measuring what it is intended to measure.

reliability-the ability to be relied on or depended on, as for accuracy, honesty, or achievement.


Validity is just as important as reliability because something can be reliable to do the same thing every time, but that result may not be the desired one. Failure is not something people want to rely on, so validity can be considered crucial in its applications. Both phenomenon seem equally important and both support each others shortcomings. The two themes compliment each other, and are molded together.


Knowing a test's validity can greatly increase its effectiveness. This can eliminate some errors such as excess information. If a test is valid then the results can be used to draw a conclusion. Reliability is crucial in having objects do the same thing over and over. Some examples include: a car frequently starting, a phone/technology frequently working, people getting tasks done persistently, but as with all things nothing is 100% reliable. Improving an object's reliability can greatly increase its value.

Gardner's vs. Sternberg's theories of intelligence

Gardner's Multiple Intelligence

Gardner identified 8 distinct groups of intelligence. These distinct groups of thinking can be used as different learning styles. This enables students and teachers to learn and teach more effectively. The eight groups Gardner identified influence what abilities people excel at. Gardner disagreed with his predecessors that a numerical value could not determine much about a person's actual abilities. The separate groups of intelligence can be used to decide what role in the workplace a young person would excel at. Discovering someone's specific intelligence group is crucial to making them effective and enjoy what they do. Being more inclined to a specific group can allow students the opportunity to specialize and increase their likelihood of job acceptance. This also allows for more people to not waste their time and money on some job they end up regretting.

Sternberg's Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

Sternberg disagreed with Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, because he believed that the 8 groups that Gardner defined, only represented talents not true abilities. Sternberg's theory is more broad than Gardner because it discusses general intelligence instead of individual abilities.

Sternberg's Principles

  1. Training of intellectual performance must be socioculturally relevant to the individual
  2. A training program should provide links between the training and real-world behavior.
  3. A training program should provide explicit instruction in strategies for coping with novel tasks/situations
  4. A training program should provide expilicit instruction in both executive and non-executive information processing and interactions between the two.
  5. Training programs should actively encourage individuals to manifest their differences in strategies and styles.
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Differences in test scores among people of different genders, races, and ethnic groups

Gender differences

Throughout history a battle between the sexes has persisted. Test scores are no different. Extensive research has been devoted in determining the reasons behind the average higher math test scores by males than average female test scores. Some studies about SAT and ACT scores suggest that it is not the knowledge the male or female student has but their approach to the test itself. Since males have generally evolved to be more competitive (for mates, food, shelter, etc.), the competition of the test environment allows men a higher chance of success. However, this information is already biased since men generally take more math and science tests than women. Therefore, the information researchers are basing their theories on is skewed to begin with.

Racial differences

Some researchers site a lack of education opprotunities as the main reason behind the racial gap. For example white students may have access to higher education in high school than blacks or hispanics, or vice versa.

Ethnic differences

Similar findings have been stated about the ethnic grade gap. Researchers also attribute this to differences in education opprotunities. In addition to these differences the environment of different ethnic groups may affect the value placed upon the child's education. For example in Afghanistan it is well known that females may only recieve a basic if any formal education at all.