Test and Measurement


Constructing a useful psychological test is a meticulous process. First, you must formulate a clear, empirically based definition of what is to be measured and carefully consider the items and response formats that would best measure this construct. The test items are created based on a theory or by sampling a domain of knowledge. Subject-matter experts are often called upon to generate and evaluate the initial test items. The test is then given to a large sample of people, and, after careful analysis, the statistical properties of each item are scrutinized, and decisions are made about item retention, elimination, and revision.

As part of this class, you complete many of the steps necessary to construct a test. Test construction can be broken into two main phases. In phase one, you create test items. In phase two, you gather and analyze data from those items in order to choose the best items, (i.e., those that best measure the construct you have identified and defined). Ideally, your assignment would be to create items, gather data, and then analyze the data that you gathered. Unfortunately, test construction generally requires data from hundreds of participants, which is impractical to do over the course of one quarter. Therefore, your assignment will be broken down into two parts:

1. First, you design a test. You decide on a construct, write your test specifications, create test items, and have your classmates review your items.

2. Then, instead of gathering data on your own test, you are provided with a set of test data to analyze.

This week, consider what you would like your proposed test to measure. You describe this construct using evidence from literature and submit it to your Instructor for approval this week. Additionally, you should install the IBM-SPSS software on your computer and open the dataset in this week’s Learning Resources. Although you do not need to analyze this dataset in any way this week, you do begin to perform calculations on it next week. For now, familiarize yourself with how to open the dataset using SPSS.

The Assignment (1 paragraph)

By Day 7 of this week, submit a brief description of the construct of interest for a Final Project to your Instructor for approval, including cited evidence from the empirical literature that helped you create an operational definition of this construct.