Psychometricians: What They Are and What They Do

What is a Psychometrician?

A psychometrician is someone who practices the science of educational and psychological measurement, or in other words, testing. Psychometricians measure the validity, reliability, and fairness of an exam program, and are an integral part in the process of creating valid and reliable language tests. They may be involved in all aspects of the development of the program, such as defining the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that the exam is designed to measure; they may also be involved in the development of the test specifications, the item writing process and the standard setting studies. While practicing or overseeing each of these areas, the psychometrician is highly concerned with ensuring that each part of the process conforms to testing industry standards, such as those in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. These standards are considered the primary source for test publishers, test takers, and test users.

How Do I Become a Psychometrician?

There are currently no certifications for becoming a psychometrician; rather, people practicing in the field will often have an advanced degree from an Educational Measurement or Psychology program. Generally, a psychometrician needs skills and experience in quantitative analyses, critical thinking and statistics, as data analyses is an integral part of psychometrics. Many psychometricians go on to work for testing organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for psychometricians will grow faster than the average rate for all occupations, with excellent salary prospects.

A 2012 list of over fifty advanced degree programs in the U.S. and Canada that focus on Educational Measurement was compiled by the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). It can be found here.

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