Concurrent Validity Definition and Examples

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What is Concurrent Validity?

concurrent validity
Concurrent validity is a type of Criterion Validity. If you create some type of test, you want to make sure it’s valid: that it measures what it is supposed to measure. Criterion validity is one way of doing that. Concurrent validity measures how well a new test compares to an well-established test. It can also refer to the practice of concurrently testing two groups at the same time, or asking two different groups of people to take the same test.


  • It is a fast way to validate your data.
  • It is a highly appropriate way to validate personal attributes (i.e. depression, IQ, strengths and weaknesses).


  • It is less effective than predictive validity to predict future performance or potential, like job performance or ability to succeed in college.
  • If you are testing different groups, like people who want jobs and people who have jobs, responses may differ between groups. For example, people who already have jobs may be less inclined to put their best foot forward.

Concurrent Validity Examples

Example 1: If you create a new test for depression levels, you can compare its performance to previous depression tests (like a 42-item depression level survey) that have high validity. Concurrent means “as the same time”, so you would perform both tests at about the same interval: you could test depression level on one day with your test, and on the next day with the established test. A statistically significant result would mean that you have achieved concurrent validity. If the tests are farther apart (i.e. they aren’t administered concurrently), then they would fall into the category of Predictive Validity instead of criterion validity.

Example 2: Concurrent validity can also occur between two different groups. For example, let’s say a group of nursing students take two final exams to assess their knowledge. One exam is a practical test and the second exam is a paper test. If the students who score well on the practical test also score well on the paper test, then concurrent validity has occurred. If, on the other hand, students who score well on the practical test score poorly on the paper test (and vice versa), then you have a problem with concurrent validity. In this particular example, you would question the ability of either test to assess knowledge.

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