Teaching Introductory Measurement: Suggestions for What to Include and How to Motivate Students


Deborah L. Bandalos, Professor and Director, and Jason P. Kopp, Doctoral Student, Department of Graduate Psychology and Center for Assessment and Research Studies, James Madison University, 821 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801; bandaldl@jmu.edu.


In this article, we discuss the importance of measurement literacy and some issues encountered in teaching introductory measurement courses. We present results from a survey of introductory measurement instructors, including information about the topics included in such courses and the amount of time spent on each. Topics that were included by the largest percentages of respondents were: validity, reliability, item analysis, item development, norms, standardized scores, classical test theory, instrument interpretation, and the history of testing, each of which was covered by at least 50% of respondents. Respondents were also asked the number of class sessions spent on each topic, and were asked to rate the importance of each. Responses to these questions closely paralleled those regarding the percentages of respondents who included these topics in their courses. We also report suggestions for class activities, arguing that those teaching introductory measurement courses should emphasize the relevance of measurement concepts to students’ lives and future careers. To this end, we provide suggestions for activities that might help to accomplish this goal.