Applied Psychometrics

Objectives and scope

Recent developments in psychometrics such as item response theory are having an increasing impact on analysis in all the social sciences. At the same time, the demand for psychometric expertise in education, medicine, business and forensics is increasing considerably. As a result of these developments a serious skills shortage is emerging. To address this shortage, an ESRC RDI award initiated a training programme in applied psychometrics and computing.

The aim of this award was to develop short training events (2-day and 3-day training workshops) and longer, 5-day summer schools. Another objective of this award was to sustain these learning resources as e-learning materials in a perpetual e-resource on psychometric methods.

The lectures and hands-on practical sessions aimed to exemplify existing and recently developed methods for analysing and modelling psychological assessment data, using multiple software packages, both commercial such as Mplus, and free software such as R.

Considering the growing impact of psychometrics on research and the wider society, the training was focused on topical issues surrounding the use of psychometrics in a diverse society, particularly where decisions can have an adverse impact on specific groups defined by social, gender, ethnic, cultural, religious, or disability factors.

The target audience for training was early career researchers from various disciplines within the social sciences, and more mature researchers who wished to familiarise themselves with new and emerging psychometric methods. The courses were attended by graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, academics, and researchers/analysts based in commercial organisations.