Testing by MarijanStefanovic


									Testing, Testing - Psychometrics Evaluate Human Potential In the wide field of
psychology-the study of the human mind-there hasn't always been an emphasis on
rigorous assessment and evaluation. After all, psychology is, typically, about the inner
workings of the mind of the individual and how it impacts life and behavior. The desire
to measure things like function and intelligence gave rise to the branch of psychology
known as psychometrics. Psychometrics is a specialty in high demand, and has become a
popular focus for psychology students at the graduate level. Psychometricians are needed
in both the public and private sectors. History of Psychometrics. In 1879, Sir Francis
Galton published an article in which he described an experiment in "mental operations."
The experiment he conducted would later be called "free association," where he assessed
reaction to a list of 75 words. According to a paper by Larry Ludlow of Boston College,

He threw his resulting thoughts into a "common statistical hotch-pot" and determined (a)
the rate at which ideas were formed (50 per minute), (b) the frequency of recurrent
associations (about one half), (c) the frequency within periods of his life that associations
could be attributed (showing "in a measurable degree, the large effect of early education
in fixing our associations"), and (d) the character of associations that occurred (verbal,
sensory, "histrionic")."

The impact of this first venture into psychometrics is still relevant today. Thirty years
later, Charles Spearman took Galton's idea to the next level. He developed the idea of
measuring human intelligence while studying with Wilhelm Wundt, the founding father
of a different branch of psychology known as psychophysics. L. L. Thurstone, a
contemporary of Charles Spearman, developed the idea of comparative judgment (a
theoretical approach to measurement). Alfred Binet of France became the first
psychologist to apply psychometrics when he was asked to create an intelligence test that
would evaluate children. (This led to the Binet Scale.) The work of all of these men
contributed to the emerging field of psychometrics and planted the seeds that would
eventually grow into more specific intelligence testing, personality testing, and vocational
testing as well as many other areas of psychological measurement. Psychometricians:
Who They Are, and Where They Work Psychologists who specialize in psychometrics
are called psychometricians. These scientists design tests that make an attempt to
measure human characteristics. The field has enjoyed rapid growth since its early days.
Psychometric testing is employed now in schools, organizations, businesses, government,
the military, and of course in many clinical settings and hospitals. In recent years,
psychometricians are found working in industrial and organizational settings performing
job analyses and consumer surveys, making hiring determinations, and conducting
market research. Psychometricians are highly valued and found in every sector from
business to health care to education. Education, Salary, and Job Outlook All
psychometricians hold at least a Master's degree, and most have a doctoral degree.
Because psychometrics is considered a branch of psychology, a bachelor's degree in
psychology is not an uncommon first step. Graduate work is in the psychology
department, although you will find that many psychometricians also study statistics.
According to a recent article in Washington Monthly Magazine, psychometricians (often
called "test makers") are in high demand, thanks to legislative changes such as the No
Child Left Behind Act, which has had a huge impact on education in the United States.
More testing is required, and there are not enough test makers to fulfill demand. Any
psychologist specializing in psychometrics should have no difficulty finding
employment. Salary varies greatly. Because of the substantial educational investment,
many psychometricians prefer to work in the commercial world where pay is much
higher than in government or education. Psychometricians working in market research,
for instance, can earn upwards of $200,000 a year, while those in education may make
half that. But as demand continues to rise, so will salaries. Psychometrics is a fast-
developing and in-demand field of psychology; if you are interested in learning more
about how the human mind works, perhaps this field is the right one for you.

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