Professor Markus’s New Book Redefines the Science of Test Measurement

June 3, 2013 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Professor Keith Markus’s new book Frontiers of Test Validity Theory: Measurement, Causation and Meaning, co-written with Denny Borsboom and published by Routledge, challenges the parameters of test validity theory using different approaches to thought and literature to reflect on validity and whether a test is actually measuring exactly what it was designed to measure.

“It’s an important time for reflection on validity, we hope to stimulate more research and interests in test validity because we think it is a neglected area of test theory,” said Markus. “Standards and guidelines for educational and psychological testing are also in the process of being revised.”

Markus’s interests in test validity were piqued when, as an undergraduate, he took a course in industrial and organization psychology, in particular a lecture that focused on validating tests used to select people for employment. In Frontiers of Test Validity Theory, the authors attempt to find reasons for the area’s neglect, suggesting that test validity is the least mathematical sub field in the most mathematical area of a non-mathematical science.

“Testing is an important topic to which people should pay attention because it has such pervasive influence over people’s lives, from the tests people will take in elementary to high school –tests that they may take to get a job or get certified in a particular field. It affects everyone’s life. It’s important to have an active and productive dialogue in this field.”

The book is divided into three sections, and the first section lays the groundwork for distinctions between good tests and bad tests by addressing measurement. The second section addresses causation because an increasingly common way of thinking about a good test is that a good test is one in which the test scores are predominantly caused by the thing that the test measures and not caused by other factors (e.g., test wiseness, reading comprehension, analytic reasoning skill, test anxiety, motivation). The third section addresses meaning because modern test validity theory is generally formulated in terms of the interpretation of test scores.

Markus is a member of the Psychology Department and on the graduate faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center in both the Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Forensic Psychology subprograms within the Psychology Doctoral Program, in the Quantitative Psychology subprogram of the Educational Psychology Doctoral Program, and also in the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program.  He teaches or has taught research methods and quantitative methods courses at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The City University of New York.

To learn more about the book, click here.

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