nl en

Psychometrics and Structural Equation Modeling


Admission Requirements

Statistics and probability.


Many properties of individual subjects, such as extroversion, verbal intelligence, the quality of life after surgery, and of other entities, like the health of the economy, cannot be measured directly. These attributes are latent and can only be assessed via the measurement of manifest variables which depend upon them. This course introduces psychometric models and methods for specification and interpretation of latent variables, and for assessing their estimation, reliability, and validity. We also extend these latent variable models to include structured relationships among the latent variables - or structural equation models - as well as the introduction of discrete latent variables in latent class analysis. There are four parts to the class: I classical test theory, II item response theory, III structural equation models, and IV latent class models and extensions.

Course objectives

This course focuses on developing a theoretical and practical understanding of psychometric evaluation, beginning with historical models of classical test theory to modern latent variable modeling approaches. Students will obtain practical skills in R and OpenMx for implementing the models discussed in lecture with real and simulated data. Applications from social and behavioral sciences will inform the class. Students can expect to acquire knowledge and skills in the following domains:

  • The construction and evaluation of psychometric tests

  • Decomposition of error and true score variance

  • Fitting and evaluating IRT models for discrete outcomes

  • Structuring relationships between latent variables in SEMs

  • The use of discrete latent variables to assess population heterogeneity


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of Instruction

Studying a textbook, following lectures and lab meetings, making exercises. Analyzing empirical data. This work may be done in small groups of two or three students. During practicals lecturers may be consulted.

Assessment Method

The final grade depends on an open-book written exam. Access to the exam depends on the successful execution of assignments, one for each of the three parts of the course. These assignments are completed and submitted no later than at the end of each part. Course credits will be obtained when the exam is graded by at least a 6. The assignments are reports on the analysis of test data with methods of each of the three parts.

Reading List

McDonald R. P. (1999). Test Theory: A Unified Treatment, London: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Computer manuals (to be announced during the course).


It is the responsibility of every student to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. E.M. McCormick: