Book Review: Making Measures
by Ben Wright and Mark Stone

Published by Phaneron Press (2004), available from - ISBN: 1930847394

This is a relatively short (127 pages) book that attempts to add to the recent literature of readable descriptions of the Rasch model. Using examples refined from years of explanation experience, Ben and Mark produce excellent discussions in short form for objective measurement, conjunction, and item calibration.

Unfortunately, the book has a bit of the Jekyll-and-Hyde syndrome. Between pages 15 and 51, it jumps with minimal explanation into Newton's Laws, principal components analysis, and Winsteps output. The book also has a bit of the Biblical Q syndrome as the reader changes style from Wright to Stone to Stenner. The lack of connectivity (pun intended) is apparent.

Regardless, there are many times that we hear, "So what is the Rasch model? Can you give me a real example?" This inexpensive paperback is a wonderful introduction for those occasions. You could drop off a copy and walk away confident the reader would know much more than they did when they asked the questions.

We could also see this as a supplement to a traditional beginning measurement course for consumers (educators, psychologists, etc.) who want to know a little about the Rasch process, but don"t have an extensive background. Fortunately, the examples are mainstream and the references are classic. The historical citations from Peirce, Guttman, Piaget, and Bernoulli are intriguing and worth reading. Each chapter is short and there are plenty of figures, so the total reading time is minimal. Unfortunately, there are also chapters without references (6 and 7) which leave the reader unsatisfied if they cannot understand a technical illustration or concept.

To us, the best thing about Making Measures is the refined way that complex concepts and definitions are explained from the perspective of experience and understanding. There are wonderful insights over and over in the book: "The straighter the line [Figure 6], the fewer the distortions and the closer the data points to the line, the more uniform the conjoint relation between items and person" (p. 38). Another: "The ruler does not exist until we imagine it and carve it [from the tree]." (p. 83). The analysis of the thresholds of the Fear Survey Schedule is a perfect illustration of the strength of Rasch for rating scale development. Stenner's history of the development of Lexiles should be required reading for all educators who want to measure learned constructs.

The weakest thing is the lack of direction for those who want to learn more. A few pages in the last chapter that would guide one to methods like Facets or authors like Bond, Fox, Linacre, Smith and Andrich are badly needed. Also, there is no mention of IOMW or the Rasch Measurement SIG (AERA). Again, that would be useful for anyone who thought it of interest to read the book.

Steve Lang and Judy Wilkerson
University of South Florida

Book Review: Making Measures by Ben Wright and Mark Stone, Lang S., Wilkerson J. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2004, 17:4 p.949

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

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