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Test theory and scale development



The course provides an overview of psychometrics and in particular of test theory. Test theory is presented from the perspective of both classical test theory and item-response theory including an exposition of reliability and validity in all their facets as well as their respective implications for the research practice. Multivariate analysis techniques commonly used in evaluating and analyzing tests, such as principal component analysis, and item-response theory will be presented at a conceptual level.

Course objectives

After successfully completing the course, the course the student should be able to:

  • discuss in depth the concepts that are central to classical test theory, item response theory, and scale construction as well as how they are related to each other

  • Explain, and illustrate with numeric examples, how reliability and validity may affect research results

  • develop and evaluate a measurement scale /instrument in an R&D cycle, to assess a psychological construct

  • perform psychometric analyses such as principal component analysis and item response modelling

  • present and defend research in public


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

Mode of instruction

  • Six lectures

  • Five computer lab sessions, participation is mandatory.

  • Group assignment

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on a written exam (60%) and an oral presentation in class of a (group) assignment (40%). Both the written exam and the oral presentation of the group assignment (individually graded) must each be 5.5 or higher.. In the case that the group assignment is deemed insufficient, the students are given the opportunity to complete the assignment to a satisfactory level within a time frame set by the instructors in a written essay. Participation in the lab classes is mandatory and failure to participate may lead to additional assignments set by the instructors. Partial (pass) grades cannot be carried over into the next academic year.


During this course Brightspace is used.

Reading list

  • Furr, R.M. (2018). Psychometrics. An introduction (3th ed.). Los Angeles, etc: Sage Publications, Inc.


Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register via My Studymap up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.

It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Contact information

The course manager is dr. Harold Nefs