Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vantage Point or Validity?

I was sitting on our deck in the warm evening air reading the chapter on assessment validity from the textbook I am using to teach this class. For one brief, brief, moment I had a singular flash of understanding of the term construct validity (not to be confused with content validity.) One brief, brief, moment; kind of a senior moment.

As I read through the chapter I underlined everything that made sense.

I underlined two things:

  1. The term scattergram. (Okay, I can’t actually explain this term but I remember it from my Dad’s statistics class because a picture of a scattergram looks like a graph a kindergarten class would make.)
  2. The sentence: “Thus, teachers are left in a quandary about what to use from this chapter.”

An MRI of my brain would be a scattergram right now. Take another look at number 2. Even the author of this textbook admits teachers are confused about how to use this information. Try selling that to 18 undergraduate students who have to pass this class to get their teaching certificates. I’ll bet they’ll hold on to this textbook after the class is done.

I just can’t wait until I get to chapter 5 on reliability!

This past Sunday I had an exquisite “duh” moment. No, really, even better than the look on my face when I read the term “Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient” on page 89. I was standing out on the west lawn of the church in the warm morning sun with about 200 other members of Faith Evangelical Lutheran. We were being carefully lined up and waiting patiently while a member in a cherry-picker was taking a picture for the front of the new directory. Needless to say, it was taking a long time. The conversation was strange as we were lined up and no one was looking at anyone but the crowd broke out in laughter when I made the observation that “we ought to line up in the shape of a cross or something.” Apparently, we were already standing in the shape of a cross. I could hear the laughter travel to all for edges of the cross as the story spread. Let’s just say the picture will show everyone smiling.

I am an ant on the ground who thinks she needs to have the vantage point of the person in the cherry-picker bucket. I think I need to see the whole picture when God is content with me only knowing a small part of the ground on which I stand. I want to understand the whole book on assessment and God wants me to understand only a chapter, or a page, or a phrase at a time. We will get there, but we will do it on His terms not mine.

I want the big picture view of my life, too. When people ask me what I plan to do with my degree, I get nervous when I can’t give them an answer. I am pretty sure I will be paying off loans but other than that who knows? I want to know what classes I need to take and what my dissertation topic will be and what hoops I will have to jump through to get this finished and God wants me to focus on construct validity.

God has the plan for our lives. God sees the big picture. We are merely splinters of wood on the body of the cross that killed His Son. And He loves us no matter what.

I’m headed back to my assignment on construct validity. Tonight I will say a prayer that I will be content to be where I am and completing what God sets before me, one small piece at a time. I guess you could say God has blessed me with contentment validity.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways My ways,

declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

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