Reliability and Validity
In order to utilize effectively the available concept of standardized testing; athletes, coaches, and parents should keep several things in mind.
Select testing techniques that are reliable and valid
This refers to the consistency, accuracy or repeatability of a test. If an individual does not change his or her athletic ability then a reliable test, repeated twice will show no difference. The only variable the test should measure is the one it is designed to. Reliability is important for the following reasons:
o If or when you repeat the measurement
o For performance tests, it’s usually more important than validity
o Because you need good reproducibility to monitor small but important changes in individual athletes
o It's crucial for researchers
To improve reliability eliminate these factors that contribute to non-reliable tests.
o Unqualified examiners are used for testing and retesting
o Change of test protocol
o The examiner uses poor technique failing to standardize the test and calibrate equipment
o External factors have not been controlled, such as environmental conditions, methodology, order of tests, or using different equipment
Further means to ensure reliability.
o Strict warm-up protocol for all tests
o Administration of tests that follows a consistent design
o Accurate timing system
o Orientation for pre-test preparation – hydration, nutrition, rest, etc.
This refers to the degree that a test measures what it intends to. This is usually straightforward, a distance run for example would not be a valid measure for explosive power.
o Select testing, tests, and protocols that are relevant to the sport
o Tests should be challenging, but not to the point where test termination is effected by excessive body temperature, dehydration, or energy depletion
o Tests must be conducted in a safe and productive environment
o Provide valid and appropriate feedback to the athlete in a timely manner