Chapter 3

Handbook of Learning Analytics
First Edition

Measurement and its Uses in Learning Analytics

Yoav Bergner


Psychological measurement is a process for making warranted claims about states of mind. As such, it typically comprises the following: defining a construct; specifying a measurement model and (developing) a reliable instrument; analyzing and accounting for various sources of error (including operator error); and framing a valid argument for particular uses of the outcome. Measurement of latent variables is, after all, a noisy endeavor that can nevertheless have high-stakes consequences for individuals and groups. This chapter is intended to serve as an introduction to educational and psychological measurement for practitioners in learning analytics and educational data mining. It is organized thematically rather than historically, from more conceptual material about constructs, instruments, and sources of measurement error toward increasing technical detail about particular measurement models and their uses. Some of the philosophical differences between explanatory and predictive modelling are explored toward the end.

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