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Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics

Neil J. Salkind & Kristin Rasmussen

Pub. date: 2007 | DOI:

Print ISBN: 9781412916110 | Online ISBN: 9781412952644

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Encyclopedia Entry

True Score

Elaine Chapman

Classical true-score theory, most often traced to the work of Charles Spearman, has been profoundly influential in educational and psychological measurement since around the turn of the 20th century. True-score theory is essentially a model of relationships between measurement errors and observed test scores. The central notion is that any observed score can be decomposed into a “true” score component and a random-error term. Importantly, different sources of error that contribute to the observed score are not differentiated within the latter term. Classical true-score theory is expressed symbolically in the well-known expression X = T + E , in which X represents an observed score for a test taker, T represents that test taker's true score, and E is the error score, or the error of measurement associated with that observed score. In this model, the “true” score component of any individual's observed test score is presumed to reflect intrinsic ...

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