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Francis Galton, measurement, psychometrics and social progress

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Modern cultures are deeply imbued with notions of measurement. Nearly all scientific disciplines depend heavily on mathematical measurement and arguably the social sciences have, relatively, seen the most rapid recent development of quantitative methodology and accompanying measurement regimes. In this talk Harvey Goldstein looks at the work of Francis Galton, a pioneer of modern social measurement, and traces the influence he has had over the century since his death. The talk looks at the scientific status of Galton’s work and subsequent developments within psychometrics and education, including the use of factor analysis and item response models. Links are made to current debates concerning league tables and data freedom.

This talk is part of the Current Issues in Assessment series.

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