Piaget and Measurement

Piaget challenged and confirmedCan a Piaget theory of discontinuities in development be investigated using Rasch's theory of a continuous measurement scale? Indeed it can! And in a series of three papers in Archives de Psychologie (1995), Trevor Bond demonstrates the value of a Rasch approach.

If Piaget's stages of development, advancing from concrete to abstract thinking,could only be observed as a series of distinct leaps, then they would produce Guttman response patterns in response data. We would know there were leaps in mental functioning, but we would not know how big they were. Unless they can be placed on a continuous measurement scale, it is impossible to discover how big are the leaps, which leaps are biggest, and how large they are compared with development between the leaps.

In fact, Bond's study shows that the responses do not form a perfect Guttman pattern, but they do show strong ordering. "The overwhelming degree of concurrence of stage allocations derived on the one hand from Piaget's idiosyncratic logical analyses and on the other by rigorous statistical analysis provides an unprecedented validation of this aspect of the Piagetian oeuvre." (Bond p.242)

The plot shows, on the right side, the Piagetian items validated by the measurement system -- observe the advance up from IIB to IIIA to IIIB (indicated to the extreme right). On the left side are the items which challenge Piaget's theory. Observe that the top IIIA is well into the IIIB's, suggesting there is no discontinuity. These items require either refinements to Piagetian theory or revisions to the item classification rules. Simply put, good measurement provokes better theory!

Trevor G. Bond is at the School of Education, James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia.

Bond T.G. (1996) Piaget and Measurement I: The twain really do meet. Archives de Psychologie 63, 71-87.

Bond T.G. (1996) Piaget and Measurement II: Empirical validation of the Piagetian model. Archives de Psychologie 63, 155-185.

Bond T.G. (1996) Piaget and Measurement III: Reassessing the Méthode Clinique. Archives de Psychologie 63, 231-255.

Go to Top of Page

Bond T.G. (1996) Piaget and Measurement. Rasch Measurement Transactions 10:2

Piaget and Measurement. Bond T.G. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1996, 10:2 p. 491

Rasch Publications
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

To be emailed about new material on
please enter your email address here:

I want to Subscribe: & click below
I want to Unsubscribe: & click below

Please set your SPAM filter to accept emails from welcomes your comments:

Your email address (if you want us to reply):


ForumRasch 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,

Coming Rasch-related Events
June 23 - July 21, 2023, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
Aug. 11 - Sept. 8, 2023, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets),


The URL of this page is