The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement

The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement

The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement

The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement


Contributors to the volume represent an international "who's who" of research scientists from the fields of psychology and measurement. It offers the insights of these leading authorities regarding cognition and personality. In particular, they address the roles of constructs and values in clarifying the theoretical and empirical work in these fields, as well as their relation to educational assessment. It is intended for professionals and students in psychology and assessment, and almost anyone doing research in cognition and personality.


In September 1997, the Educational Testing Service hosted a conference in honor of Sam Messick on the occasion of his retirement as an officer of ets, a position he held for some 30 years. It was a wonderful event, not only because the invited speakers and guests included many leading researchers in psychology and educational measurement but also because each brought strong personal and professional connections to Sam. Held at the Chauncey Conference Center on the ets campus, the conference gave Sam's many friends and colleagues at ets an opportunity to participate in a milestone event and add their good wishes to those of the participants.

This volume has much to offer the reader. It comprises a set of chapters based on papers presented at the conference. As befits a scientist of Sam's wide-ranging interests, the chapters cover a broad spectrum of topics in the areas of personality and intellect, with particular focus on constructs, validity, and values. a number of authors seized the occasion to provide a review of work in a particular area and to suggest directions for further research. Some took a more critical stance and focused on the more troubling issues in the field and indicated how they might be resolved. Others presented their own leading edge work. All acknowledged their debts to Sam and his seminal work that spanned more than 40 years.

One sad note at the conference was the fact that Dick Snow, Sam's dear friend, was not able to attend due to his increasingly fragile health. Dick died in December 1997, followed in August 1998 by the death of Ann Jungblut. Ann, of course, was Sam's longtime collaborator and inseparable companion. Her death was a shock to us aU, but most of all to Sam, and Betty, his wife. But there was more sadness to come. Sam fell ill in September and, despite a valiant struggle, died on October 6, 1998. in 13 short months we had gone from the “high” of the conference to the loss of three very special people. As I write almost exactly 2 years later, it is still difficult to come to terms with that sense of loss and the realization that these three might have accomplished even more had they been accorded a little more time.

Along with Sam and his assistant Kathy Howell, Ann and Dick were deeply involved in organizing the conference. Indeed, they were planning to edit the present volume as part of their tribute to Sarn. Sadly that was not to be. I agreed to take on the task and recruited Doug Jackson and David Wiley, both conference participants, to serve as coeditors with me. They . . .

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