Psychological and Social Measurement

The Career and Contributions of Benjamin D. Wright

  • Mark Wilson
  • William P. Fisher, Jr.

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. George Engelhard Jr.
    Pages 11-24
  3. Geoff Masters
    Pages 25-32
  4. Mary E. Lunz, John A. Stahl
    Pages 33-43
  5. Mark Wilson
    Pages 75-81
  6. Ed Bouchard
    Pages 83-93
  7. Gregory Ethan Stone
    Pages 111-118
  8. Ryan P. Bowles, Karen M. Schmidt, Tracy L. Kline, Kevin J. Grimm
    Pages 119-133
  9. Mark Wilson, William P. Fisher Jr.
    Pages 163-197
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 199-278

About this book


In this tribute to Benjamin Wright, former students and colleagues recall the foundational contributions he made to the theory and practice of measurement in a career spanning over five decades. Wright is recognized as the foremost proponent of the psychometric approach of Georg Rasch, a Danish mathematician, whose ideas continue to provoke controversy. Wright’s colleagues and students, and students of their students, are leaders in educational research and practice around the world. This volume relates the extent of Wright’s influence far beyond education and psychology, where his work in measurement began, into health care and the social sciences at large. The editors and contributors—all leading measurement scholars—trace the development of themes in Wright’s work, identifying the roots of today’s formative assessment methods, the integration of quantitative and qualitative data, and the contrast between scientific and statistical methods. These previously unpublished papers reflect on Wright’s lifelong passion for making measurement both more scientific and more meaningful. They recount how Wright’s insight, energy, and gregarious nature led him to produce multiple innovations in computing, estimation methods, model development, fit assessment, and reliability theory, stimulating practical applications in dozens of fields, serving on over 120 dissertation committees, and founding several professional societies. The volume includes three reprinted articles by Wright that provide insights into his early engagement with Rasch’s ideas.

Psychological and Social Measurement will be welcomed by the broad international measurement community of professionals and researchers working in such diverse fields as education, psychology, health sciences, management, and metrology.  Scientists working in any field involving measurement science and technology will appreciate an inside look at this seminal figure and a new perspective on the expanding conversation across the sciences about measurement and the communication of meaningful, transparent information.
  • Shows how Wright’s ideas evolved with collaboration from colleagues and students and why they continue to increase in importance  across a growing range of fields;
  • Connects Wright's work in physics and psychoanalysis to current issues in psychological and social measurement;
  • Uses personal stories to humanize an intensely mathematical field, making it more accessible to a wider audience;
  • Recounts how Wright’s personal approach to his professional life inspired generations of students and colleagues;
  • Includes extensive annotated bibliographies on Wright’s works and on works reflecting his influence.


social science measurement Psychometrics objective measurment applied measurement measurement in education Rasch model Rasch measurement educational testing probabilistic modeling test design curriculum assessment

Editors and affiliations

  • Mark Wilson
    • 1
  • William P. Fisher, Jr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

Bibliographic information