SAYYES--ometrics* -- a new field of measurement science

*As a certified English teacher with considerable experience with psychometricians and the people who rely entirely too much on their data manipulation expertise, I have coined this term to lend a counterpoint to the jargonizers and number crunchers.

"Psychometrics" is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational and psychological measurement. It includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits, and is primarily concerned with the study of measurement instruments such as questionnaires and tests. It involves two major research tasks: the construction of instruments and procedures for measurement and the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to measurement.

The results of psychometric analysis can be very nicely turned into charts and graphs, which can, in turn, be used to explain the success or failure of a given educational venture. The more objective the analysis, the better for creating pure numerical data and some really comprehensive graphs. State education departments, New York's among them, love to be able to employ such data driven analysis.

Psychometricians thrive on the ability of the American educational system to gather large numbers of students together and administer a standardized testing instrument that creates an easily defined line of demarcation between success and failure.

"SayYes-ometrics," on the other hand, takes a somewhat different approach. It is a field of study concerned with the technique of determining if education is accessible, relevant, and realistic. It relies on the theory that if those three criteria are met, it is nearly certain that any (reasonable) criteria laid out by psychometricians and their employers will also be met.

The Syracuse City School District, in order to engage in "SayYes-ometrics," proved itself capable of putting a large number of students in a given area to evaluate them. On Friday, Aug. 7, nearly two dozen school buses transported some 600 SCSD students to Syracuse's Thornden Park to have their five-week participation in the SCSD's Say Yes Summer Camp validated according to the standards set forth as part of the joint effort of SCSD, Syracuse University and Say Yes to Education, Inc.

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