Friday, May 22, 2009

Why I love Psychometrics

Psychometrics plays a role in everyone’s life, even though it is not at the forefront of many minds.  Psychometrics is the field of study that studies knowledge, attitudes, abilities and personality traits.  Each piece of psychometrics are seen through my daily life and help me understand myself better.

In my own schooling, there were many tests completed to see if a student was keeping up with the status quo of the remainder of the class.  While these tests were not always IQ tests, the administrators often found whether the student had been learning or not.  A lot of this learning was attributed to the student’s knowledge base and it sometimes decided whether the student would move on in their classes. 

These tests that were completed to find the knowledge base in education were created from the Classical Test Theory (CTT).  This is just one sub-section of psychometrics, but an important one.  The CTT is often used in schools to test reading, writing and mathematics knowledge.  There are types of error involved in the CTT, which helps to create the observed score, but in my experience administrators don’t often take this into account.

Personality is one of the other major sections of psychometrics that I have seen prominent in my life.  While IQ testing and educational testing have been completed repeatedly, personality testing is often forgotten about.  When I was working in the Counseling Center at Ithaca College, I was able to take some of the personality tests that were given by the counselors.  I found these very interesting because it gave me more insight into my abilities and myself than any other test.  The other two major sections of psychometrics are really focused on intelligence and knowledge, but personality testing also includes attitudes and abilities.

I believe that it is important to include psychometrics into the classroom and everyday life because it can give valid information about a person.  While testing always involves error, the CTT and personality tests are reliable sources of data.  The data can then be measured and people can be held accountable, which is a necessity in the current school system and life. 

1 comment:

  1. This is excellent. Another analogy would be piano. Pianists spend countless hours practising (rote learning) before being able to play, and can chord or improvise creatively only after they’ve done rote learning. Not a single one of these people who advocate that rote learning stifles creativity could play the piano without drill.
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