Undergraduate Course - Psychology

Assignment Summary

HyeSun Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology

California State University Channel Islands


Course: Measurement and Testing of Groups and Individuals is an introductory measurement and testing course offered by the department of psychology.

Student population:
Course enrollment averages 15-35 junior/senior undergraduates

Course learning goals/outcomes:

  1. Describe how psychological and educational tests are constructed and reviewed.
  2. Interpret different types of test scores.
  3. Examine test fairness using cognitive interviews to investigate response processes.

Assignment learning goals/outcomes:

To help undergraduates apply fundamental principles in measurement for the evaluation and selection of tests using Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) reviews, to provide a learning opportunity to explore a variety of tests for the area that each student is interested in, and to assist undergraduates to advance their future careers in psychology.

  1. Understand the fundamental principles in measurement.
  2. Determine the most appropriate test for the intended purpose based on the evaluation of various sources of evidence related to test score inferences including reliability, validity, and fairness.

Description of the assignment: 

The assignment has five steps:

  1. Identify an intended purpose for testing and target examinees based on their interest (e.g., an educational test to measure students’ reading ability or a clinical test to measure cognitive functioning of Alzheimer’s patients).
  2. Search for three possible tests published in English for their intended purpose and target examinees using the MMY via library databases.
  3. Use content of MMY reviews for the three tests to evaluate sources of evidence for reliability, validity, and test fairness along with practicality and accommodations for special needs.
  4. Determine the most appropriate test based on a synthesis of all evidence along with practicality.
  5. Write a five-page paper that highlights their evaluation of sources of evidence as well as the rigor of validation study designs and potential factors that may jeopardize test fairness.

View/Download Assignment Description (PDF)

Prerequisite knowledge needed to complete the assignment:

Prior to asking students to complete the assignment, I provide five short lectures (10-25 minutes) on test development, statistical concepts of correlation coefficients, reliability, validity, and test fairness and practicality so students understand fundamental concepts in measurement and apply these measurement principles when using the MMY reviews to complete the assignment. 

To help students understand the history of test reviewing and the review procedure for the MMY, I assign students to read the following journal article:

Carlson, J. F. & Geisinger, K. F. (2012). Test reviewing at the Buros Center for Testing. International Journal of Testing, 12, 122-135.

Grading of the assignment:

The paper is graded based upon a rubric presented to students along with the instruction, and instructor’s qualitative comments are also provided to the students.

View/Download Grading Rubric (PDF)

Student response and value of the assignment for students:

On course evaluations, the mean rating for the item, “The assignments/activities in this course aided my learning” is 4.9/5. Additionally, students’ comments on the question, “What aspects of the course helped your learning the most?” showed the high impact of this assignment on their educational attainment;

  • “The assignments that were given helped me understand how I would do test review in a real-life setting.”
  • “The assignments for this course were very practical and replicated real-world work, which I appreciated.”

Considering that over 50% of students at California State University Channel Islands are from historically underrepresented groups and/or first-generation students, this self-directed learning opportunity using the MMY can also motivate more students from diverse backgrounds to pursue professional careers in psychology as indicated in the following remarks from students:

  • “The practical use of the assignments prepared me for graduate school.”
  • “Her assignments feel like real-life work I would want to do in the future.”