section one

What is Face Validity?

Face validity relates to the extent to which a psychological assessment appears to measure what it is intended to measure. It assesses whether the instrument looks, on the surface, like it measures what it intends to measure. While not a rigorous measure of accuracy, face validity is important for initial acceptance and understanding by test-takers.

0:39 Lead consultant, Ben Schwencke, explains face validity.
Face validity is often determined by asking participants or experts to evaluate the test and provide their subjective opinion on whether the test appears to measure the construct it was designed to measure.

The extent to which a test is considered to have face validity can vary depending on the opinion of the participant or expert evaluating the test. It is important to note that face validity does not necessarily indicate that a test is actually measuring the construct it is supposed to measure, it only indicates that the test appears to measure the construct.

Unlike content validity, which measures if a test measures all relevant aspects of a construct, and criterion-related validity, which measures if a test predicts a criterion or outcome, face validity is a preliminary step in evaluating the validity of a test. It is often used as a quick way to evaluate the test, but it should not be used as the sole indicator of a test's validity.