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Psychometrics examples

This lesson defines psychometrics and psychometric testing. It also delves into types of psychometric tests, as well as noting some specific examples of these tests.

Psychometrics Defined

'Psychometrics' is a big word that's thrown around quite often within the psychology and testing communities. But what exactly is it? In short, psychometrics is a field of study that deals specifically with psychological measurement. This measurement is done through testing.

There are various types of psychometric tests, but most are objective tests designed to measure educational achievement, knowledge, attitudes, or personality traits. In addition to the tests themselves, there is another part of psychometrics that deals with statistical research on the measurements that psychometric tests are attempting to obtain.

Sound confusing? It really isn't. Let's walk through some of the different kinds of psychometric tests.

An Example

Bob is a new recruit at the FBI Academy. The FBI is known to issue lots of psychometric tests to make sure its recruits are educated, mentally stable, and otherwise fit for duty. So, in Bob's first week at the academy, he has to take a bunch of tests.

The first type of test that Bob takes is an intelligence test - likely the Weschler or the Stanford-Binet - to determine his IQ, or intelligence quotient. A trained psychometrist, which is the person who administers this type of test, will have Bob complete a variety of tasks, from repeating a sequence of numbers forward and backward to working some pretty difficult puzzles.

After Bob completes the IQ test, he'll likely take a psychometric test that's designed to ensure he doesn't have any underlying personality or mental disorders. One such test is the MMPI, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. There are a few versions of this test available, one of which has 567 (wow!) true/false questions that will determine all kinds of things about Bob's personality.

The following day, the psychometrist might have Bob take some tests that gauge his beliefs and attitudes. And this could go on and on. There are literally thousands of psychometric tests out there, although not all of them have been designed by professionals. Another popular type of psychometric test is the Likert scale, which asks about your level of agreement or disagreement in response to a prompt.

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