2012 World Standards Day Paper Competition

Enter the Competition! Hard copy paper submissions (no emails accepted) must be received, with an official entry form, by midnight August 10, 2012, by the SES Executive Director, 1950 Lafayette Road, Box 1, Portsmouth, NH 03801. Cash prizes of US$2,500, $1,000, and $500 are awarded to the top three papers. Further information and the official entry form are available at www.ses-standards.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=77.

How the Competition relates to us: This year's theme is "Standards Increase Efficiency," in recognition of the fact that standards increase efficiency and reduce waste, not only in measurement but in any process or outcome affected by or involving measurement. Standards embody state-of-the-art know-how and so remove the need for every organization in a field or industry to master the latest techniques themselves. Further, because they are public and because they are established via consensus processes involving all stakeholders in an industry, standards even out unwanted variation in measurement quality. Finally, standards increase efficiency by establishing a common framework for decision making, outcome evaluation, and quality improvement, because the inferences made from quantitative comparisons are coordinated, aligned, and harmonized toward shared purposes, with no need for painstakingly negotiating the details of qualitative comparisons based in ordinal scores or percentages.

In education, for instance, because there are neither universally accepted uniform units nor instruments traceable to them, measurement quality varies greatly across classrooms, schools, districts, states, and commercial testing agencies. Teachers, principals, researchers, administrators, and psychometricians create tests and assessments individually and in groups, with massive amounts of duplicated effort, inefficiency, and differences in quality. Lacking uniform units and metrologically traceable instruments, educators are stuck, mired in a swamp from which it is impossible to even approach fulfilling their potential for developing innovative products and services.

The question is, if all educational measures were linked to common reference standards, what kinds of practical guidance could be provided on issues that would assist schools, districts, states, and curriculum developers in increasing their efficiency and effectiveness to meet the needs of students, teachers, parents, researchers, and employers in the coming years?

In the wider world, companies compete globally more effectively and efficiently, at lesser cost and with less waste, when they have consensus standard measuring units to inform their processes. The same is already true in many different ways in education, from the standards used in constructing school buildings and supplying their electricity, information, technology, and water, to the accounting standards used in budgets and purchasing, to the food quality and quantity standards informing cafeteria operations. The state-of-the-art know-how contained in standards is accessible to all, helps avoid duplication, and allows us to invest more in other priorities.

Given the proven state of the art in measurement theory and practice, and given the dire need for increased efficiency and reduced waste in education, health care, and social services, it's way past time uniform measurement standards were developed and implemented in these areas.

The 2012 World Standards Day paper competition is an opportunity for Rasch researchers to tell the story of how better measurement could impact the larger economic and social spheres of life. The standards community is interested in learning more, following on recent white papers published by NIST and NSF, and on last year's third place award to William Fisher for his paper, "What the World Needs Now: A Bold Plan for New Standards," which will be the cover story in the forthcoming May/June issue of Standards Engineering The Journal of SES - The Society for Standards Professionals. A PDF of the paper is available at What the World Needs Now: A Bold Plan for New Standards.

William P. Fisher, Jr.

What the World Needs Now ....

(Crosby, 1997, p. x) shows that the unity of mathematics and measurement in a quantitative model of the natural world explains why, between 1250 and 1600, Europeans "were able to organize large collections of people and capital and to exploit physical reality for useful knowledge and for power more efficiently than any other people of the time." It can be reasonably expected that the similar unification of mathematics and measurement in a quantitative model of the psychosocial world also will enable new magnitudes of efficiency and effectiveness to be achieved in caring human relations.

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2012). What the world needs now: A bold plan for new standards. Standards Engineering, 64, 3, 1-5.
Reference: Crosby, A. W. (1997). The measure of reality: Quantification and Western society, 1250-1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2012 World Standards Day Paper Competition, W.P. Fisher, Jr., Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2012, 26:1, 1355

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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