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Models, Metrics, and Measurement in Developmental Psychology

Author(s): Zachary Stein | Katie Heikkinen

Journal: Integral Review
ISSN 1553-3069

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: developmental assessment | developmental psychology | epistemology | metatheory | psychological technologies | psychometrics | quality control | usable knowledge.

Developmental psychology is currently used to measure psychologicalphenomena and by some, to re-design communities. While we generally support theseuses, we are concerned about quality control standards guiding the production of usableknowledge in the discipline. In order to address these issues precisely, we provide anoverview of the discipline's various facets. We distinguish between developmentalmodels and developmental metrics and relate each to different types of quality-controldevices. In our view, models are either explanatory or descriptive, and their quality isevaluated in terms of specific types of disciplinary discourse. Metrics are eithercalibrated measures or soft measures, and their quality is evaluated in terms of specificpsychometric parameters. Following a discussion on how developmentalists makemetrics, and on a variety of metrics that have been made, we discuss the two keypsychometric quality-control parameters, validity and reliability. This sets the stage for alimited and exploratory literature review concerning the quality of a set of existingmetrics. We reveal a conspicuous lack of psychometric rigor on the part of some of themost popular developmental approaches and invite remedies for this situation.
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