Pychometricians practice the science of measurement, or psychometrics.
Psychometrics is the science of measuring psychological attributes, such as intelligence or understanding. Tests are one way to assess these intangible qualities. And psychometricians’ work ensures that each test is reliable and that all test results are valid. When creating a test, psychometricians might start by determining its basic structure: which format to use, such as multiple-choice or short-answer questions; how many questions to ask; and the levels of difficulty of the questions. Psychometricians then set the time that will be allotted to take the test and make decisions about scoring, such as how many points to assign each question.
Most psychometricians work with subject-matter experts to identify what a test taker should know to be competent in a particular discipline. The subject-matter experts write questions and answers. Then, everyone works together to make sure that the test covers the right material and conforms to the plan. After new test content has been created, psychometricians make sure that it is sound. They might do this by conducting pilot trials—essentially, a test of the test.
Psychometricians also analyze test results. For example, they make scores comparable from different versions of a test. And they use score data to create reports or make recommendations—such as suggesting curriculum changes for improving student performance.
Many of the assessments that psychometricians work on have significant implications for test takers. Some psychometricians, for example, design the licensure exams that give teachers, lawyers, and others permission to work in their fields. Other psychometricians design instruments to evaluate factors ranging from career interests to mental health, all of which can affect decisions about the future.
Many psychometricians have a master’s degree or Ph.D., usually in a subject such as educational measurement, quantitative psychology, or statistics. Most people enter the discipline from a related field, such as statistics, mathematics, computer science, or psychology.
Median Salary 2019
According to payscale.com, the median salary of a Psychometrician in 2019 was $81,991.
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Information retrieved from We Use Math: Psychometrician and Bureau of Labor Statistics: You're a what? Psychometrician (PDF)
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