Latent trait theory is a relatively new development in measurement theory; emphasis in its application has been placed mainly on the measurement of ability, but potential areas of application extend well beyond into measurement of job and organizational characteristics, measurement of bias and adverse impact in equal employment compliance, attitude measurement, and the measurement of performance. The theories and models grouped under latent trait theory are therefore presented, in simple, nonmathematical form, for consideration by industrial and organizational psychologists. The rationale stems from problems encountered in classical psychometric theory with its practical dependence on distributions of attributes in samples and its theoretical dependence on parallel forms, problems alleviated by the use of latent trait analyses. This article presents some basic concepts and some available computer programs. Some controversies and unresolved problems are examined from a practical perspective.
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