Entries by Nathan Thompson, PhD

What is a T score?

A T Score (sometimes hyphenated T-Score) is a common example of a scaled score in psychometrics and assessment.  A scaled score is simply a way to present scores in a more meaningful and easier-to-digest context, with the benefit of hiding the sometimes obtuse technicalities of psychometrics.  Therefore, a T Score is a standardized way that […]

Item Review Workflow for Exam Development

Item Review is the process of ensuring that newly-written test questions go through a rigorous peer review, to ensure that they are high quality and meet industry standards. What is  an item review workflow? Developing a high-quality item bank is an extremely involved process, and authoring of the items is just the first step.  Items […]

Likert Scale Items

Likert scales (items) are a type of item used in human psychoeducational assessment, primarily to assess noncognitive constructs.  That is, while item types like multiple choice or short answer are used to measure knowledge or ability, Likert scales are better suited to measuring things like anxiety, conscientiousness, or motivation. In the realm of psychology, surveys, […]

Test Blueprints & Specifications

Test blueprints, aka test specifications (shortened to “test specs”), are the formalized design of an assessment, test, or exam.  This can be in the context of educational assessment, pre-employment, certification, licensure, or any other type.  Generally, the amount of effort and detail is commensurate with the stakes of the assessment; a 10 item quiz for […]

What is a testlet?

Testlet is a term in educational assessment that refers to a set of test items or questions grouped together on a test, often with a common theme or scenario. This approach aims to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced assessment of an individual’s abilities compared to traditional testing methods. What is a testlet? As mentioned […]


What is Job Task Analysis?

Job Task Analysis (JTA) is an essential step in designing a test to be used in the workforce, such as pre-employment or certification/licensure, by analyzing data on what is actually being done in the job.  Also known as Job Analysis or Role Delineation, job task analysis is important to design a test that is legally […]

What is QTI? Question and Test Interoperability Standards

Question and Test Interoperability® (QTI) is a set of standards around the format of import/export files for test questions in educational assessment and HR/credentialing exams.  This facilitates the movement of questions from one software platform to another, including item banking, test assembly, e-Learning, training, and exam delivery.  This serves two main purposes: Allows you to […]

Four-Fifths Rule: Fair Employment Selection

The Four-Fifths Rule is a term that refers to a guideline for fairness in hiring practices in the USA.  Because tests are often used in making hiring decisions, the Four-Fifths Rule applies to them so it is an important aspect of assessment in the workforce, but it also applies to other selection methods, such as […]


Classical Test Theory: Item Statistics

Classical Test Theory (CTT) is a psychometric approach to analyzing, improving, scoring, and validating assessments.  It is based on relatively simple concepts, such as averages, proportions, and correlations.  One of the most frequently used aspects is item statistics, which provide insight into how an individual test question is performing.  Is it too easy, too hard, too […]

Content Validity in Assessment

Content validity is an aspect of validity, a term that psychometricians use to refer to evidence that interpretations of test scores are supported.  For example, predictive validity provides evidence that a pre-employment test will predict job performance, tenure, and other important criteria.  Content validity, on the other hand, focuses on evidence that the content of […]