Word Play – Psychometrics

Psychometrics. It’s a term you’ve undoubtedly heard because you are involved in certification, but not a term that you may readily be able to define.

Simply stated, psychometrics is the field of study concerned with objective measurement of skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational achievement. It’s comprised of two major tasks: 1) construction of measurement instruments (such as written examinations) and 2) development of appropriate procedures for measurement.

Psychometrics was believed to have its roots with Charles Darwin and his studies pertaining to individual differences in animals. This inspired others to study differing characteristics in people. Early psychometric instruments were designed to measure intelligence (Stanford-Binet IQ test). Psychometrics is also applied in educational assessment, most recently in standardized tests for students. Another major focus of psychometrics, which is used by many companies, is personality testing (e.g. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).

Generally, in the field of certification, psychometrics is used to measure the skills, knowledge, and abilities of those in a specific profession, as compared to the minimum standards identified for that profession.