A basic puzzle in the history of measurement is how the "test score tradition" became dominant in education and psychology? Cattell (1893) and Thorndike (1904) provided solid foundations for the measurement models that would be recognized today as "item response theory". Thurstone (1925, 1926) also provided a rich source that was ignored by educational and psychological testers. When I compare Thorndike, Thurstone and Rasch (Engelhard 1984, 1991), I am impressed by the conceptual and empirical correspondence among these theorists. E.L. Thorndike is the father of item response theory.
In pursuit of how the test score tradition became dominant, I have been studying Thorndike and Wood. Thorndike's work is well known. Ben Wood's is not. But Wood was a driving force behind the measurement movement of the 1920's that replaced essay examinations with multiple-choice items (Downey 1965; Saretzky 1989). Wood completed his dissertation under Thorndike at Teachers College. My plan was to use Wood's work to understand Thorndike. But analysis of Wood's exposition of Thorndike's theory made it apparent that, despite a nominal relationship, Wood's work diverged noticeably from Thorndike's. Even though Wood studied with Thorndike and considered himself Thorndike's heir, the differences between their measurement theories provide a potent example of the consequences of different research traditions. Thorndike was in the scaling tradition. Wood was in the test score tradition - the tradition that has dominated testing practices during the 20th century.
Both Thorndike and Wood used the word "objectivity" as a cornerstone of educational measurement. Thorndike defined an abstract "objective scale" as one on which all competent thinkers agree. To increase agreement, Thorndike envisioned the construction of measuring sticks that provided explicit definitions of the scales. He advocated the construction of what would be recognized today as variable maps. Thorndike constructed these maps by calibrating agents in a variety of content areas: handwriting, written composition and vocabulary.
Wood, on the other hand, defined "objectivity" in a more limited manner. Wood's "objectivity" was a matter of how a test was scored. "The true-false test is a good example of an objective mental scale. No competent person would disagree in rating a true-false paper, provided they used the key which accompanies the test." Wood, however, did recognize that "it is perfectly possible to have a very objective scale without having one which measures the facts to be measured" - foreshadowing the injunction in most introductory measurement texts that reliability is necessary but not sufficient for establishing validity.
Thorndike defined "objectivity" in a broad sense that included aspects of reliability and validity. Wood's alternative treatment of "objectivity" as simply a problem of reliability is a defining characteristic of the test score tradition. Traditional classical test theory (CTT), rooted in Spearman (1904), is preoccupied with reliability. A negative consequence is that validity becomes a separate issue that leads to an "attenuation paradox": as a test becomes more reliable, the validity of the test scores as measured by correlation with a criterion variable becomes smaller.
Thorndike and Wood each defined a measurement problem called "objectivity" and sought solutions in ways that were consistent with the research traditions within which they operated. Wood believed that he was developing an exegesis of Thorndike's theory, but this was not the case for most measurement problems addressed by these men. Write to me, if you are interested in more detail on Thorndike and Wood.
Cattell JK 1893. Mental Measurement. Philosophical Review 2 316-332
Downey MT 1965. Ben D. Wood: Educational reformer. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service
Engelhard G 1984. Thorndike, Thurstone and Rasch: A comparison of their methods of scaling psychological tests. Applied Psychological Measurement 8 21-38
Engelhard G 1991. Thorndike, Thurstone and Rasch: A comparison of their approaches to item-invariant measurement. Journal of Research and Development in Education 24(2) 45-60
Engelhard G (in press). Historical views of invariance: Evidence from the measurement theories of Thorndike, Thurstone and Rasch. Educational and Psychological Measurement
Saretzky GD 1989. A guide to the Ben D. Wood papers. Princeton, NJ: ETS Archives
Spearman C 1904. General intelligence, objectively determined and measured. American Journal of Psychology 15 201-293
Thorndike EL 1904. An introduction to the theory of mental and social measurements. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University
Thurstone LL 1925. A method of scaling psychological and educational tests. Journal of Educational Psychology 16 433-451
Thurstone LL 1926. The scoring of individual performance. Journal of Educational Psychology 17 446-457
Thorndike and Wood, G Engelhard Jr. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:2 p. 146
Please help with Standard Dataset 4: Andrich Rating Scale Model
|Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online)||Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online)||Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch||Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox||Best Test Design, Wright & Stone|
|Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters||Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith||Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes||Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr.||Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green|
|Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar||Journal of Applied Measurement||Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich||Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson||Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale|
|in Spanish:||Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán||Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez|
|Forum||Rasch Measurement Forum to discuss any Rasch-related topic|
Go to Top of Page
Go to index of all Rasch Measurement Transactions
AERA members: Join the Rasch Measurement SIG and receive the printed version of RMT
Some back issues of RMT are available as bound volumes
Subscribe to Journal of Applied Measurement
Go to Institute for Objective Measurement Home Page. The Rasch Measurement SIG (AERA) thanks the Institute for Objective Measurement for inviting the publication of Rasch Measurement Transactions on the Institute's website, www.rasch.org.
|Coming Rasch-related Events|
|March 31, 2017, Fri.||Conference: 11th UK Rasch Day, Warwick, UK, www.rasch.org.uk|
|April 2-3, 2017, Sun.-Mon.||Conference: Validity Evidence for Measurement in Mathematics Education (V-M2Ed), San Antonio, TX, Information|
|April 26-30, 2017, Wed.-Sun.||NCME, San Antonio, TX, www.ncme.org - April 29: Ben Wright book|
|April 27 - May 1, 2017, Thur.-Mon.||AERA, San Antonio, TX, www.aera.net|
|May 26 - June 23, 2017, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|June 30 - July 29, 2017, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|July 31 - Aug. 3, 2017, Mon.-Thurs.||Joint IMEKO TC1-TC7-TC13 Symposium 2017: Measurement Science challenges in Natural and Social Sciences, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, imeko-tc7-rio.org.br|
|Aug. 7-9, 2017, Mon-Wed.||In-person workshop and research coloquium: Effect size of family and school indexes in writing competence using TERCE data (C. Pardo, A. Atorressi, Winsteps), Bariloche Argentina. Carlos Pardo, Universidad Catòlica de Colombia|
|Aug. 7-9, 2017, Mon-Wed.||PROMS 2017: Pacific Rim Objective Measurement Symposium, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia, proms.promsociety.org/2017/|
|Aug. 10, 2017, Thurs.||In-person Winsteps Training Workshop (M. Linacre, Winsteps), Sydney, Australia. www.winsteps.com/sydneyws.htm|
|Aug. 11 - Sept. 8, 2017, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets), www.statistics.com|
|Aug. 18-21, 2017, Fri.-Mon.||IACAT 2017: International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing, Niigata, Japan, iacat.org|
|Sept. 15-16, 2017, Fri.-Sat.||IOMC 2017: International Outcome Measurement Conference, Chicago, jampress.org/iomc2017.htm|
|Oct. 13 - Nov. 10, 2017, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|Jan. 5 - Feb. 2, 2018, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|Jan. 10-16, 2018, Wed.-Tues.||In-person workshop: Advanced Course in Rasch Measurement Theory and the application of RUMM2030, Perth, Australia (D. Andrich), Announcement|
|Jan. 17-19, 2018, Wed.-Fri.||Rasch Conference: Seventh International Conference on Probabilistic Models for Measurement, Matilda Bay Club, Perth, Australia, Website|
|May 25 - June 22, 2018, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|June 29 - July 27, 2018, Fri.-Fri.|
|Aug. 10 - Sept. 7, 2018, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets), www.statistics.com|
|Oct. 12 - Nov. 9, 2018, Fri.-Fri.||On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com|
|The HTML to add "Coming Rasch-related Events" to your webpage is:|
The URL of this page is www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt52h.htm