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Psychometrics is the science of psychological measurement. It spans the creation, evaluation, administration, and interpretation of standardized tests. These tests serve to produce an objective measure of a sample of behaviour such as knowledge, attitudes and personality. Standardized tests are used in a wide range of fields including education, the workforce, and mental health assessment. Two well known standardized tests are the SAT and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

History and origins

The history of tests reach back to antiquity. Chinese officials were required to pass oral competency tests to serve in the civil service. The ancient Greeks had testing as part of the educational process. From their beginnings in the Middle Ages universities in Europe have relied on formal exams to award degrees and honours.

The English biologist Francis Galton began the field of modern psychometrics. His research into human heredity created many forms of research and statistical methods to test physical traits and sensory perception. This was the first battery of mental tests ever created, and was used to collect informations on thousands of people. Objective testing and standardized procedures were emphasized.

The first intelligence test was created by Alfred Binet for use in the French education system. The intelligence test was created to detect children who would likely have problems learning to read. The original goal was to provide these children with a tailored education in order to help them master reading. Binet's test was later used to classify children by mental age and place them in the appropriate grade.