Psychometrics and Metrolytics

Project Lead

Dr Zhonghua Zhang

Project Details

Internationally renowned for progressive application of psychometrics, the Assessment Research Centre is also leading the way in metrolytics, a fast moving and rapidly maturing field.

Psychometrics is a field relating to testing, measurement and assessment in educational and psychological studies. It is concerned with developing advanced measurement models and statistical methods for providing objective measurement of skills, knowledge, attitudes, personality traits, performance, and achievements.

Our Centre conducts research that leads to improvement in assessment and which has a positive impact on learning. We employ a developmental approach to create assessment tools that provide high quality feedback to students and teachers.

The Centre excels in both developing methodologies (for example, measurement theory) and applying advanced measurement methods to construct and validate instruments for assessing educational achievement, on national and international levels, in literary, numeracy, problem solving and more. The Assessment Research Centre is also deeply involved in providing bespoke consulting and training services to different clients in varied settings, including school, government, higher education, and business environments.

The Centre boasts a group of expert psychometricians with advanced knowledge in conventional and modern psychometric and measurement theories, and competent skills in harnessing existing and emerging analytical software and programs. As a forward looking institute, our Centre has created a postgraduate program to nurture the development of the next generation of psychometricians.

Our researchers have developed an interdisciplinary course which aims at teaching undergraduate students how measurement science and learning analytics can be combined together to more robustly analyse big data and develop psychometrically reliable and valid measures for assessing difficult constructs. Experts from our centre will teach into this course from Semester 2, 2019.

The Assessment Research Centre has embraced metrolytics as a new direction which synthesises learning analytics and measurement science. The synthesis of these can help tackle challenges that both fields face as we strive to make digital data useful to teachers and learners.

Learning analytics enables access to a wider range of evidence not formerly available, particularly through the capacity to track events, outcomes and learning processes of all students, at an unprecedented level, while measurement science can supply the tools and mindsets to reliably and safely abstract meaning to inform learning.

Metrolytics provides measurement scientists with innovative tools for collecting and analysing big data which are strikingly different from traditional ones in terms of source, volume, and types. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format used by our Centre is an example of this. Ruby, a digital assessment and certification tool developed by our Centre, is informed by and relies on metrolytics.

Our Centre has capitalised on this to unlock opportunities for measuring some hard to assess constructs and competencies (such as collaborative problem solving, student engagement in online learning, critical thinking).

In recent years, experts from our Centre have been invited to design and deliver workshops at Learning Analytics & Knowledge conferences, introducing the concept of metrolytics and how to harness its potential


  • Dr Zhonghua Zhang
  • Dr Cuc Nguyen
  • Associate Professor Margaret Wu
  • Professor Mark Wilson
  • Dr Toshiko Kamei
  • Dr Mathew Courtney