Metrology, psychometrics, and new horizons for innovation
LivingCapitalMetrics.com, Sausalito, California 94965 USA, and BEAR Center, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 USA
The vital roles of common languages, metrics, and standards in team-based innovation are well established. The historical success of science has depended extensively on mathematically rigorous, theoretically explained, experimentally evaluated, and socially distributed communications networks comprised of metrologically traceable measuring instruments. Recent descriptions of practical and theoretical correspondences between metrology and psychometrics extend scientific model-based reasoning into education and other fields. Realizing psychometrics’ metrological potentials requires attending to interrelated ethical, technical, and social issues. First, measurement must embody the ethics of the Golden Rule in support of compassionate and tolerant comparisons. Technically, effective measurement systems involve (a) invariant units, with known uncertainties, (b) scientific laws modelling substantive relationships in the world, (c) hypotheses experimentally tested against data, (d) explanatory theories providing predictive control over the construct, and (e) methods for ensuring traceability to the standard unit. But to be effective, measurement systems incorporating these features will need to be situated in a larger social context cognizant of needs for the relevant standards bodies, educational programs and textbooks, professional societies, legal and regulatory oversight, accounting and economic applications, etc. Paraphrasing Rasch, the challenges are huge, but having formulated the problem, human ingenuity will likely find a way to solve it.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.