Psychometrics: Definition & Test Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura lives in the Boise, Idaho area with her husband and children. She holds a B.A. in secondary education (English and social studies) from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a M.Ed. and Ed.S. in school counseling (K-12) from the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of South Alabama, respectively, and a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University. She teaches online at several colleges and universities across the country and has over 20 years of experience in education.

This lesson defines psychometrics and discusses what is involved in psychometric testing. It also delves into types of psychometric tests, including noting some specific examples of these tests.

Psychometrics Defined

'Psychometrics' is a big word that's thrown around quite often within the psychology and testing communities. But what exactly is it? In short, psychometrics is a field of study that deals specifically with psychological measurement. This measurement is done through testing.

There are various types of psychometric tests, but most are objective tests designed to measure educational achievement, knowledge, attitudes, or personality traits. In addition to the tests themselves, there is another part of psychometrics that deals with statistical research on the measurements that psychometric tests are attempting to obtain.

Sound confusing? It really isn't. Let's walk through some of the different kinds of psychometric tests.

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  • 0:05 Psychometrics Defined
  • 0:49 An Example
  • 2:19 Validity and Reliability
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An Example

Bob is a new recruit at the FBI Academy. The FBI is known to issue lots of psychometric tests to make sure its recruits are educated, mentally stable, and otherwise fit for duty. So, in Bob's first week at the academy, he has to take a bunch of tests.

The first type of test that Bob takes is an intelligence test - likely the Weschler or the Stanford-Binet - to determine his IQ, or intelligence quotient. A trained psychometrist, which is the person who administers this type of test, will have Bob complete a variety of tasks, from repeating a sequence of numbers forward and backward to working some pretty difficult puzzles.

After Bob completes the IQ test, he'll likely take a psychometric test that's designed to ensure he doesn't have any underlying personality or mental disorders. One such test is the MMPI, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. There are a few versions of this test available, one of which has 567 true/false questions that will determine all kinds of things about Bob's personality.

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