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Published by: aichoo8 on Jul 29, 2010
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Internal consistency
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
internal consistency
is a measure based onthecorrelationsbetween different items on the same test (or the samesubscale on a larger test). It measures whether several items that proposeto measure the same general construct produce similar scores. Forexample, if a respondent expressed agreement with the statements "I liketo ride bicycles" and "I've enjoyed riding bicycles in the past", anddisagreement with the statement "I hate bicycles", this would beindicative of good internal consistency of the test.Internal consistency is usually measured withCronbach's alpha, a statisticcalculated from the pairwise correlations between items. Internalconsistency ranges between zero and one. A commonly-accepted rule of thumb is that an α of 0.6-0.7 indicates acceptable reliability, and 0.8 orhigher indicates good reliability. High reliabilities (0.95 or higher) are notnecessarily desirable, as this indicates that the items may be entirelyredundant. The goal in designing a reliable instrument is for scores onsimilar items to be related (internally consistent), but for each tocontribute some unique information as well.
Reliability (statistics)
is the consistency of a set of measurements ormeasuring instrument, often used to describe atest. This can either bewhether the measurements of the same instrument give or are likely togive the same measurement (test-retest), or in the case of moresubjective instruments, such as personality or trait inventories, whethertwo independent assessors give similar scores (inter-rater reliability).Reliability is inversely related torandom error.Reliability does not implyvalidity. That is, a reliable measure is measuringsomething consistently, but not necessarily what it is supposed to bemeasuring. For example, while there are many reliable tests of specificabilities, not all of them would be valid for predicting, say, jobperformance. In terms of accuracy and precision, reliability is precision,while validity is accuracy.Inexperimentalsciences,
is the extent to which themeasurements of a test remain consistent over repeated tests of thesame subject under identical conditions. An experiment is reliable if ityields consistent results of the same measure. It is unreliable if repeatedmeasurements give different results. It can also be interpreted as the lackof random error in measurement.
is the ability of a system or component toperform its required functions under stated conditions for a specifiedperiod of time. It is often reported in terms of a probability. Evaluations of reliability involve the use of many statistical tools. SeeReliabilityengineeringfor further discussion.An often-used example used to elucidate the difference between reliabilityand validity in the experimental sciences is a commonbathroom scale. If someone that weighs 200 lbs. steps on the scale 10 times, and it reads"200" each time, then the measurement is reliable and valid. If the scaleconsistently reads "150", then it is not valid, but it is still reliable becausethe measurement is very consistent. If the scale varied a lot around 200(190, 205, 192, 209, etc.), then the scale could be considered valid butnot reliable.
Reliability may be estimated through a variety of methods that couldn'tfall into two types: Single-administration and multiple-administration.Multiple-administration methods require that two assessments areadministered. In thetest-retestmethod, reliability is estimated as thePearson product-moment correlation coefficientbetween twoadministrations of the same measure. In the
alternate forms
reliability is estimated by the Pearson product-moment correlationcoefficient of two different forms of a measure, usually administeredtogether. Single-administration methods include
. The split-half method treats the two halves of a measure asalternate forms. This "halves reliability" estimate is then stepped up to thefull test length using theSpearman-Brown prediction formula. The mostcommon internal consistency measure isCronbach's alpha, which isusually interpreted as the mean of all possible split-half coefficients.
Cronbach's alpha is a generalization of an earlier form of estimatinginternal consistency,Kuder-Richardson Formula 20.
Each of these estimation methods isn't sensitive to different sources of error and so might not be expected to be equal. Also, reliability is aproperty of the
scores of a measure
rather than the measure itself and arethus said to be
sample dependent 
. Reliability estimates from one samplemight differ from those of a second sample (beyond what might beexpected due to sampling variations) if the second sample is drawn from adifferent population because the true reliability is different in this secondpopulation. (This is true of measures of all types--yardsticks mightmeasure houses well yet have poor reliability when used to measure thelengths of insects.)Reliability may be improved by clarity of expression (for writtenassessments), lengthening the measure,
and other informal means.However, formal psychometric analysis, called the item analysis, isconsidered the most effective way to increase reliability. This analysisconsists of computation of 
item difficulties
item discrimination
indices, the latter index involving computation of correlations between theitems and sum of the item scores of the entire test. If items that are toodifficult, too easy, and/or have near-zero or negative discrimination arereplaced with better items, the reliability of the measure will increase.
) = 1 −
) = exp( − λ 
). (where λ is the failure rate)
 [ edit 
 ] Classical test theory 
Inclassical test theory, reliability is defined mathematically as the ratio of the variation of the
true score
and the variation of the
observed score
. Or,equivalently, one minus the ratio of the variation of the
error score
andthe variation of the
observed score
:where ρ
is the symbol for the reliability of the observed score,
; ,, and are the variances on the measured, true and error scores

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