Philosophy and Methodology of Psychological Measurement for Social-Emotional Skills
Operationalism, representationalism, and pragmatism are three major philosophies of measurement in psychology and education. These philosophies play important roles in designing and conducting measurements, as well as interpreting results. When measurement results are available, validity evidence plays important roles in supporting the plausibility of interpretation of measurement results and the appropriateness of use of measurement results. This paper focuses on discussing the nature and concepts of the philosophies and validity. Having this done, an integrative framework is described, called the construct modeling approach, in which the three philosophies and validity are situated to serve the complex reality in the fields. The assessment of Thai community attachment (TCA) is used to demonstrate how the framework works.
The assessment began with creating a developmental structure of community attachment, called the TCA construct map, to show five levels of the attribute, ranging from Receiving as the lowest level, to Complying, Accepting, Valuing, then Expanding as the highest level. Community attachment in Thai society can be described into three content domains, including (a) National, Religion, and King (NRK), (b) Thainess, and (c) Thai Citizenship. This yielded a three-dimensional structure of community attachment. Then, the developmental structure was situated in the three dimensions; that is, three construct maps of community attachment were developed—the NRK, Thainess, and Thai Citizenship construct maps.
Situational TCA items were created and assigned to grade 9th students in Thailand. Student scores or measurement results were intensively investigated in order to provide validity evidence to support the plausibility of score interpretation and the appropriateness of score use.The results showed that when the construct modeling approach was used as the integrative framework, a well-designed measurement can be systematically established, and that measurement procedure empirically relates to the three underlying philosophies as well as its measurement results are supported with several validity evidence. Moreover, the integrative framework also provides useful information for the revision of the TCA assessment.