4th Edition

Modern Psychometrics The Science of Psychological Assessment

    194 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This popular text introduces the reader to all aspects of psychometric assessment, including its history, the construction and administration of traditional tests, and the latest techniques for psychometric assessment online.

    Rust, Kosinski, and Stillwell begin with a comprehensive introduction to the increased sophistication in psychometric methods and regulation that took place during the 20th century, including the many benefits to governments, businesses, and customers. In this new edition, the authors explore the increasing influence of the internet, wherein everything we do on the internet is available for psychometric analysis, often by AI systems operating at scale and in real time. The intended and unintended consequences of this paradigm shift are examined in detail, and key controversies, such as privacy and the psychographic microtargeting of online messages, are addressed. Furthermore, this new edition includes brand-new chapters on item response theory, computer adaptive testing, and the psychometric analysis of the digital traces we all leave online.

    Modern Psychometrics combines an up-to-date scientific approach with full consideration of the political and ethical issues involved in the implementation of psychometric testing in today’s society. It will be invaluable to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as practitioners who are seeking an introduction to modern psychometric methods.


    1. The history and evolution of psychometric testing


    What is psychometrics?

    Psychometrics in the 21st century

    History of assessment

        Chinese origins

        The ability to learn

        The nineteenth century

    Beginnings of psychometrics as a science

        Intelligence testing

        Eugenics and the dark decades

    Psychometric testing of ability

        The dark ages come to an end

        An abundance of abilities

    Tests of other psychological constructs










    2. Constructing your own psychometric questionnaire

    The purpose of the questionnaire

    Making a blueprint

    Writing items

        Alternate-choice items

        Multiple-choice items

        Rating-scale items

        All questionnaires

        Knowledge-based questionnaires

        Person-based questionnaires

    Designing the questionnaire

    Piloting the questionnaire

    Item analysis




    Obtaining the reliability

        Cronbach’s alpha

        Split-half reliability

    Assessing validity

        Face validity

        Content validity


    3. The Psychometric principles


        Test-retest reliability

        Parallel-forms reliability

        Split-half reliability

        Interrater reliability

        Internal consistency

        The standard error of measurement (SEM)

        Comparing test reliabilities

        Restriction of range


        Face validity

        Content validity

        Predictive validity

        Concurrent validity

        Construct validity

        Differential validity


        Norm referencing

        Criterion referencing


        Differential item functioning

        Measurement invariance

        Adverse impact


    4. Psychometric measurement

    True-score theory

    Identification of latent traits with factor analysis

        Spearman’s two-factor theory

        Vector algebra and factor rotation

        Moving into more dimensions

        Multidimensional scaling

    Application of factor analysis to test construction


        Identifying the number of factors to extract using the Kaiser criterion

        Identifying the number of factors to extract using the Cattell scree test

        Other techniques for identifying the number of factors to extract

        Factor rotation

        Rotation to simple structure

        Orthogonal rotation

        Oblique rotation

    Limitations of the classical factor-analystic approach

    Criticisms of psychometric measurement theory

        The Platonic true score

        Psychological vs. physical true scores

        Functional assessment and competency testing

        Machine learning and the black box


    5. Item response theory and computer adaptive testing


    Item banks

        The Rasch model

        Assessment of educational standards

        The Birnbaum model

    The evolution of modern psychometrics

        Computer adaptive testing

        Item equating

        Polytomous IRT

    An intuitive graphical description of item tesponse theory

        Limitations of classical test theory

    A graphical Introduction to item response theory

        The logistic curve

        3PL-model: difficulty parameter

        3PL model: discrimination parameter

        3PL model: guessing parameter

        The Fisher information function

        The test information function and its relationship to the standard error of measurement

        How to score an IRT test

    Principles of computer adaptive testing

    Summary of item response theory

    Confirmatory factor analysis

    6. Personality theory

    Theories of personality

        Psychoanalytic theory

        Humanistic theory

        Social learning theory

        Behavioral genetics

        Type and trait theories

        Different approaches to personality assessment

        Self-report techniques and personality profiles

        Reports by others

        Online digital footprints

        Situational assessments

        Projective measures

        Observations of behavior

        Task performance methods

        Polygraph methods

        Repertory grids

    Sources and management of bias

        Self-report techniques and personality profiles

        Reports by others

        Online digital footprints

        Situational assessments

        Projective measures

        Observations of behavior

        Task performance methods

        Polygraph methods

        Repertory grids

    Informal methods of personality assessment

    State versus trait measures

    Ipsative scaling

    Spurious validity and the Barnum Effect


    7. Personality assessment in the workplace

    Prediction of successful employment outcomes

        Validation of personality questionnaires previously used in employment

        Historical antecedents to the five-factor model

        Stability of the five-factor model

        Cross-cultural aspects of the five-factor model

        Scale independence and the role of facets

        Challenges to scale construction for the five-factor model

        Impression management


        Response bias and factor structure

        Development of the five OBPI personality scales

    Assessing counterproductive behavior at work

        The impact of behaviorism

        Prepsychological theories of integrity

        Modern integrity testing

        Psychiatry and the medical model

        The dysfunctional tendencies

        The dark triad

        Assessing integrity at work

        The OBPI integrity scales


    8. Employing digital footprints in psychometrics


    Types of digital footprint

        Usage logs

        Language data

        Mobile sensors

        Images and audiovisual data

    Typical applications of digital footprints in psychometrics

        Replacing and complimenting traditional measures

        New contexts and new constructs

        Predicting future behavior

        Studying human behavior

        Supporting the development of traditional measures

    Advantages and challenges of employing digital footprints in psychometrics

        High ecological validity

        Greater detail and longitude

        Less control over the assessment environment

        Greater speed and unobtrusiveness

        Less privacy and control

        No anonymity


        Enrichment of existing constructs

        Developing digital-footprint-based psychometric measures
        Collecting digital footprints

        How much data is needed?

    Preparing digital footprints for analysis

        Respondent-footprint matrix

        Data sparsity

    Reducing the dimensionality of the respondent-footprint matrix

        Singular value decomposition

        Latent Dirichlet allocation

    Building prediction models

    9. Psychometrics in the era of the intelligent machine

    History of computerization in psychometrics

        Computerized statistics

        Computerized item banks

        Computerized item generation

        Automated advice and report systems

    The evolution of AI in psychometrics

        Expert systems

        Neural networks (machine learning)

        Parallel processing

        Predicting with statistics and machine learning


    Psychometrics in cyberspace

        What and where is cyberspace?

        The medium is the message

    Moral development in AI

        Kohlberg’s theory of moral development

        Do machines have morals?

        The laws of robotics

        Artificial general intelligence



    John Rust is the founder of The Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is a Senior Member of Darwin College, UK, and an Associate Fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge, UK.

    Michal Kosinski is an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA.

    David Stillwell is the academic director of the Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is also a reader in computational social science at the Cambridge Judge Business School, UK.

    "There is a robust science for predicting and explaining what people do in any area of life, and this remarkable book, by three leading scholars, will forever change the way you think about human behavior: a true masterpiece!" – Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Columbia University, USA, and University College, UK

    "Measurement is the foundation of all science, and psychology is no exception. So, with its authoritative, updated, and comprehensive coverage of psychometrics, this volume is set to become the go-to guide for any serious psychological scientist." Sam Gosling, University of Texas, USA

    "The science of psychometrics is already changing our lives. For better or worse, it will shape our digital futures. This welcome new edition to the classic introduction to the field could hardly be more timely. "Huw Price, University of Cambridge, UK