Jeanette Melin and Leslie Pendrill: Humans as measurement instruments and Construct Specification Equations (CSE) in measurement systems

November 15, 2022

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

2:00 - 4:00 PM (PST) at Berkeley Way West 4500 and on Zoom

Open to GSE faculty, students, and community.


For any kind of measurement, a proper description of the measurement system is a key when assuring quality. In categorically based measurement such as in healthcare or education, a human takes a – central – position in the measurement system. Each element of a measurement system has quantities attributed to it. In healthcare or education, the measurement object is typically characterized as a task of a certain level of difficulty while the measurement instrument (human) has a certain level of ability. In the first part of the workshop, participants will be given the task of drawing a measurement system for their own studies.

Attributes such as task difficulty and person ability are estimated experimentally from the responses of cohort members to different items. A construct specification equation (CSE) provides a corresponding theoretical explanation of each attribute as ‘built up’ causally of a sum of a few covariates which capture our best knowledge and understanding of the construct. In our initial work aiming to extend metrological concepts to include the ordinal and nominal responses of humans, we have focused on developing CSEs for conceptually simple tests such as classic non-verbal (block or digit) recall tests. We have adopted an information theoretical approach, particularly deploying Brillouin’s classic 1962 entropy expression and have found entropy to be a dominant explanatory variable for task difficulty. Such causal CSEs can provide additional validity, metrological references for traceability and allow the design of novel and more efficient tests based on a judicious selection of items.

In the second part of the workshop, participants will work on identifying key explanatory variables for the construct(-s) of interest in their own studies.

Part of the workshop stems from the NeuroMET projects and has received funding from the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research as some of the first to consider quality-assured measurements for categorically based measurements.

About the speakers:

Jeanette Melin is a researcher at RISE department Measurement Science and Technology. She has a PhD in medical sciences and her main research interest is cross-disciplinary methodological work to improve measurement quality assurance in the human and social sciences. Jeanette is PI for RISE research group on categorically based measurements aiming to both advance researcher beyond state-of-the-art and build a sustainable organization for quality assured measurements for categorically based measurements.

Leslie Pendrill, senior researcher, has devoted most of his professional life to research & education in metrology (i.e., quality-assured measurement). He was the Head of Research at Swedish National Metrology Institute 1985 – 2012, with leading roles, nationally and internationally, including Chair 2009 - 12 for EURAMET (, the Association of National Metrology Institutes in Europe. He is the author of Quality Assured Measurement, Unification across Social and Physical Sciences; 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG, ISBN: 978-3-030-28695-8 (e-book),