In our competitive world, we measure and compare mental capacities, thought processes, and skills by taking tests. Tests help to set a standard base of knowledge that ultimately has the ability to drive the directions our lives take. The brains behind the tests that define us are psychometricians.
Psychometricians, or psychometrists, are psychological scientists who study psychometrics. Psychometrics is the science of measuring psychological factors and intangible attributes like intelligence, skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personalities, reasoning, and understanding. The goal is to understand how the mind works through testing. It’s basically a job that mixes statistical and data analysis, testing theory, research, and human behavior.
Psychometricians design, score, conduct, analyze, compare, and tweak tests. They are the creators of IQ tests, career tests, GREs, SATs, licensure exams, and many other forms of testing. A single test may license professionals, determine funding, compare IQs, admit students into university, or plenty of other important things.
A psychometrician’s job ultimately has a major impact on the lives of test takers around the world. The tests they design directly effect people like lawyers, EMTs, teachers, doctors, students, job seekers, real estate agents, patients, and countless other test takers. Has a test ever defined your life path?
It’s not an easy task to design a test. The first step is to conduct research and collect data on the test takers. Psychometricians need to understand their audience to create a well-designed test that will accurately and reliably measure mental abilities, thought processes, skills, and other factors.
Next the psychometrician must decide on the actual test format. Will the test be multiple choice? Essay? Short answer? True/False? How many questions will the test consist of? How difficult or tricky does it need to be? Will there be time limits? Is it best to have the test scored by a human or a computer? There are lots of factors to consider.
Psychometricians are the brains behind the test’s layout and design, but they usually don’t write the actual questions. Since psychometricians work with a wide variety of subjects, it’s common to work with subject matter experts. These experts know and understand the content and material and are better equipped to write the actual test questions.
After the questions are written and the test is designed, the psychometrician will run pilot tests on select groups to test the test before it’s distributed to mass test takers. This is when they can iron out any kinks.
Often the psychometrician will administer the test and score it too. Based on the results, they compile reports so they can analyze and compare their findings. The big question is – did the test measure the intended characteristics in a reliable and valid format?
If necessary, the psychometrician will tweak the tests for more details, better accuracy, increased reliability, or to eliminate test bias. Their reports and findings may also influence curriculum changes in the future.
To become a psychometrician you need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, statistics, computer science, mathematics, or a related field. Most psychometricians have a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. There are no licenses or certifications necessary to be a psychometrician. Although, many psychometricians are licensed psychologists who also dabble in psychometrics.
Most psychometricians find work with test taking companies, but there are also jobs with research facilities, universities, hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, corporations, state and federal government offices, and anywhere else that relies on testing. Typically a psychometrician can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.
Testing affects everybody. It may determine the course of your entire life. If the psychology and methodology of testing interests you, then consider finding a psychometrician job.
Quick Facts About Psychometrician Careers
Job Title: Psychometrician aka Psychometrist aka Test Designer
Office: Office and Testing Centers
Description: Design Tests
Certifications/Education: Degree In Related Field
Necessary Skills: Statistics, Research, Data Analysis, Test Design
Potential Employers: Testing Companies, Schools, Research Facilities, Governments
Pay: $50,000 to $100,000 per year