Klaas Sijtsma, Tilburg University

Who Cares about Psychometrics?

Keynote Speaker

2023 Career Award for Lifetime Achievement

Psychometrics originated from psychology more than a century ago and tried to solve problems with which psychologists struggled. Over the past few decades, psychometrics seems to have evolved into applied statistics and complex-data analysis and as a result of that deepened its technical skills and broadened its scientific perspective. Whereas the technical basis of psychometrics has become better grounded in statistics and nowadays also, for example, machine learning, the unavoidable effect is its growing alienation from psychology. Psychology, on the other hand, nowadays seems to have shifted its traditional focus on theory construction and testing toward the use of technological innovations for massive Internet (e.g., wearables) and fMRI data collection for large-scale data exploration. I will make a plea for re-directing attention in psychology to the development of theory, the use of modern data collection techniques in the service of theory development requiring patience and resilience, and a return to simple (but what’s in a name?) psychometrics directed to psychologists’ needs and others who use psychometrics for their research. As an illustration, I will discuss a few of the projects I am involved in at the moment. 

About the Speaker

Klaas Sijtsma is an emeritus professor of methods and techniques of psychological research at Tilburg University. He studied psychology and statistics and measurement theory at the University of Groningen, where he graduated in 1982 and obtained his PhD on nonparametric IRT in 1988. He was affiliated with the University of Groningen, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Utrecht University, and since 1997 Tilburg University. He specialized in psychometrics and published about a wide variety of topics in more than 200 articles and book chapters. He also co-authored three books on psychometrics and expects to publish a book on questionable research practices in 2023. He supervised many PhD students. Next to his scientific activities, he practiced several executive functions, such as President of the Psychometric Society (2010-2011), Dean of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Rector Magnificus of Tilburg University. At present, Klaas focuses on research and works together with many colleagues, primarily on a variety of psychometric topics.

Log in