Opening Remarks: International Objective Measurement Workshop XII

June 30, 2004, Cairns, Australia

Prof. Bernard Moulden:

Good morning everybody, and welcome to the Twelfth International Objective Measurement Workshop, hosted this year by James Cook University in Cairns.

Because we are geographically a little off the beaten track in this little corner of paradise, you will understand that I can't resist the opportunity to give you a 60-second burst of bragging about the university that of which I am privileged to be the Vice Chancellor and President.

A few years ago James Cook University committed itself to the goal of becoming one of the top five universities of the world enhancing life in the tropics through education and research. At the time that might have seemed a bit of a stretch target for some, but recent objective evidence shows that in fact we are well on the way to achieving it.

I know you are all interested in evidence and here is a piece of evidence that I like a lot. The recent survey by researchers at Shanghai's Jiao Tong university identified the top 500 universities of the world in terms of their research performance. That survey placed Harvard, Stanford, Caltech, and UC Berkeley at the top of the list. In fact it showed that the USA was home to 160 of the world top 500; Germany and the UK have about 40 each, and that Australia has just 13 universities in the world Top 500. Now of course I wouldn't be telling you this if it wasn't for the fact that James Cook University is one of those top 13, one of only three to be located outside of a capital city, and one of only two in Queensland - but wait, there's more.

Obviously a big university will nearly always produce more than a small one - but if you measure not total output but research intensity, by dividing output by the number of staff - then you discover that JCU ranks number three in Australia, behind ANU and Macquarie and, and with a research intensity score almost double that of the University of Queensland.

Other evidence shows that if we look just at the universities located in the tropical regions JCU ranks in the top dozen in the world, and what is more, it shows that in some disciplines the impact measures of our scientist's research - the number of times their work is cited by others - puts us in the top three or four in the world.

So there you are - I bet you didn't know that before, and I bet you feel a lot better now that you do. It certainly makes me feel good.

Once upon a time - half a lifetime ago - I was a Professor of Psychology. I worked at what some of my colleagues called the "hard" end of the discipline, on the neurophysiology of vision. They worked at what I called the "soft" end, in what seemed to me to be a context of intrinsically untestable theory and either, on the one hand, a complete absence of quantitative data or, on the other, a wealth of data of indeterminate validity and an interpretability status that I could only charitably describe as astrological. Needless to say, we didn't talk much.

Until around 1970, the advance of science had generally been assumed to be smoothly cumulative. Then Thomas Kuhn published his remarkable book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and established the notion that science proceeds in punctate steps, as one paradigm of thought replaces a previous one. Many people believe that Rasch analysis, or perhaps more generally Item Response Theory, constitutes a significant enough change in thought and approach to social sciences to merit the status of a genuine paradigm shift.

Indeed, in 2003 Mark Blais, of Harvard Medical School, wrote a book review entitled "Have you heard we're having a revolution? The coming of modern test theory" [Journal of Personality Assessment, 80, 2: 208-210]. The book in question was of course Bond & Fox's ambitiously titled "Applying the Rasch model: Fundamental Measurement in Human Science". Ambitious it may have been, but Blais was clearly converted: "This is a great book", he said, "and reading it...might just make you part of the quiet revolution in test development." (Trevor Bond can make the usual commission payments to the Vice Chancellor's special account.)

Having seen the briefing notes for your conference I'm in no doubt that a genuine revolution has occurred, and I suspect that it is well on the way to robbing the 'hard science/soft science' dimension of any reality that it may ever have had. I envy you the exciting sense of redefining the frontiers that you must all be enjoying, and I wish you well in your enthusiastic development of the new paradigm. From what I said at the outset I have no doubt you will find that James Cook University provides the ideal intellectual environment and context for your scholarly activities.

Colleagues, I apologize for not being there in person to greet you, and I can't even use pressure of work as an excuse because in June I shall be on recreational leave in Europe. I hope that northern Queensland is living up to its reputation as being glorious one day and perfect the next, and round about now I shall be thinking of you with envy and probably longing to be home. Even from the Loire Valley I shall be envying you your immersion in stochastic Guttman ordering, conjoint additivity, Campbell concatenation, sufficiency, and infinite divisibility.

Thank you for listening, enjoy yourselves, and welcome.

Opening Remarks: International Objective Measurement Workshop XII, Moulden B. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2004, 18:2 p. 975

Rasch-Related Resources: Rasch Measurement YouTube Channel
Rasch Measurement Transactions & Rasch Measurement research papers - free An Introduction to the Rasch Model with Examples in R (eRm, etc.), Debelak, Strobl, Zeigenfuse Rasch Measurement Theory Analysis in R, Wind, Hua Applying the Rasch Model in Social Sciences Using R, Lamprianou El modelo métrico de Rasch: Fundamentación, implementación e interpretación de la medida en ciencias sociales (Spanish Edition), Manuel González-Montesinos M.
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Rasch Models for Measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Best Test Design - free, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis - free, Wright & Masters
Virtual Standard Setting: Setting Cut Scores, Charalambos Kollias Diseño de Mejores Pruebas - free, Spanish Best Test Design A Course in Rasch Measurement Theory, Andrich, Marais Rasch Models in Health, Christensen, Kreiner, Mesba Multivariate and Mixture Distribution Rasch Models, von Davier, Carstensen
Rasch Books and Publications: Winsteps and Facets
Applying the Rasch Model (Winsteps, Facets) 4th Ed., Bond, Yan, Heene Advances in Rasch Analyses in the Human Sciences (Winsteps, Facets) 1st Ed., Boone, Staver Advances in Applications of Rasch Measurement in Science Education, X. Liu & W. J. Boone Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences (Winsteps) Boone, Staver, Yale Appliquer le modèle de Rasch: Défis et pistes de solution (Winsteps) E. Dionne, S. Béland
Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (Facets), Thomas Eckes Rasch Models for Solving Measurement Problems (Facets), George Engelhard, Jr. & Jue Wang Statistical Analyses for Language Testers (Facets), Rita Green Invariant Measurement with Raters and Rating Scales: Rasch Models for Rater-Mediated Assessments (Facets), George Engelhard, Jr. & Stefanie Wind Aplicação do Modelo de Rasch (Português), de Bond, Trevor G., Fox, Christine M
Exploring Rating Scale Functioning for Survey Research (R, Facets), Stefanie Wind Rasch Measurement: Applications, Khine Winsteps Tutorials - free
Facets Tutorials - free
Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (Facets) - free, J.M. Linacre Fairness, Justice and Language Assessment (Winsteps, Facets), McNamara, Knoch, Fan

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Coming Rasch-related Events
May 17 - June 21, 2024, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
June 12 - 14, 2024, Wed.-Fri. 1st Scandinavian Applied Measurement Conference, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad, Sweden
June 21 - July 19, 2024, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
Aug. 5 - Aug. 6, 2024, Fri.-Fri. 2024 Inaugural Conference of the Society for the Study of Measurement (Berkeley, CA), Call for Proposals
Aug. 9 - Sept. 6, 2024, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets),
Oct. 4 - Nov. 8, 2024, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
Jan. 17 - Feb. 21, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
May 16 - June 20, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
June 20 - July 18, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Facets),
Oct. 3 - Nov. 7, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),


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