On the IMEKO 2013 Joint Symposium in Genoa, Italy

A number of presentations involving Rasch measurement models, methods, and results were made at the joint symposia of the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO) technical committees on measurement science and metrology education (TC-1 and TC-7) in Annecy (France), London (England), and Jena (Germany) in 2008, 2010, and 2011, respectively (Fisher, 2009, 2010, 2011). A paper based on Mark Wilson's keynote address at the 2011 meeting has recently been published in the IMEKO journal, Measurement (Wilson, 2013).

This journal also has a forthcoming celebration of the work of the late Ludwik Finkelstein in press (volume 46, number 8, pp. 2885-2992). Finkelstein made a large number of foundational contributions to educational and conceptual issues in measurement science, and had a special interest in exploring the possibility of a unified science of measurement applicable across the natural and social sciences (see, for instance, Finkelstein, 2003, 2009, 2010).

Wilson's keynote at the Jena IMEKO symposium in 2011 was given at the invitation of Luca Mari, an engineer and philosopher of measurement based at the Universite Cattaneo, in Castellanza, Italy. Wilson reciprocated the invitation by bringing Mari to last summer's International Meeting of the Psychometric Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mari gave a well-attended workshop on metrology, and an invited address. He will also be a visiting scholar in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, in November, 2013. Mari is intensely involved in the ongoing revisions to the International Vocabulary of Metrology (known as the VIM; Joint Committee on Guides in Metrology, 2008), especially as this involves efforts continuing Finkelstein's interest in integrating measurement concepts from all fields into a common frame of reference.

The most recent instance of the IMEKO joint symposium (which now also includes TC-13, the technical committee on measurements in biology and health care) was held in Genoa, Italy, September 4-6, 2013. The papers presented are available in volume 459 of the Journal of Physics Conference Series at http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/459/. Mari and Wilson's keynote providing a "gentle introduction to Rasch measurement models for metrologists" will be of special interest. Additional Rasch-oriented presentations were made by Maul, Torres-Irribarra, and Wilson; Camargo and Henson; Bezruczko; Stenner; Massof; Stephanou, Pendrill; and Fisher. RMT readers may also be interested in related work presented by Benoit, Crenna, Rossi, Granovskii, Pavese, Ruhm, Thomas, and others.

An exciting new dialogue between the natural and social sciences is underway. Each has much to learn from the other. Metrology has had little need to attend to the individual-level stochastic processes structuring invariant cognitive and behavioral constructs, and measurement practice in psychology and the social sciences has everything to learn about the value of local traceability to globally uniform units. Everyone interested in contributing to or learning from this dialogue is invited to make their voices heard.

IMEKO 2013, Genoa, Italy


Finkelstein, L. (2003). Widely, strongly and weakly defined measurement. Measurement, 34(1), 39-48(10).

Finkelstein, L. (2009). Widely-defined measurement - An analysis of challenges. Measurement, 42(9), 1270-1277.

Finkelstein, L. (2010). Measurement and instrumentation science and technology-the educational challenges. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 238, doi:10.1088/1742-6596/238/1/012001.

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2008). Notes on IMEKO symposium. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 22(1), 1147, www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt221.pdf.

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2010). Unifying the language of measurement. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 24(2), 1278-1281 www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt242.pdf.

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2012). 2011 IMEKO conference proceedings available online. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 25(4), 1349 www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt254.pdf.

Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM/WG 2). (2008). International vocabulary of metrology: Basic and general concepts and associated terms, 3rd ed. Sevres, France: International Bureau of Weights and Measures--BIPM. www.bipm.org/utils/common/documents/jcgm/JCGM_200_2008.pdf. Accessed 17 October 2013.

Wilson, M. (2013). Using the concept of a measurement system to characterize measurement models used in psychometrics. Measurement, 46, 3766-3774.

William P. Fisher, Jr., University of California-Berkeley

On the IMEKO 2013 Joint Symposium in Genoa, Italy. William P. Fisher, Jr. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2013, 27:3 p. 1425-6

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