[Rasch] Not a Fan of Lexiles?

Mike Linacre (RMT) rmt at rasch.org
Fri Nov 2 11:58:50 EST 2007

Paul writes: "Once you treat data models as "optional", and focus on the 
problem to be solved rather than forcing a single data model to be applied 
to it, all kinds of analysis and solution options open up."

This is a data-dominated approach - the approach preferred by Fred Lord:
"Building statistical models is just like this. You take a real situation 
with real data, messy as this is, and build a model that works to explain 
the behavior of real data."
Martha Stocking's summary of Item Response Theory, the statistical 
methodology of Frederic M. Lord (1912-2000), New York Times, 2-10-2000

That would seem to be the best approach, but in the search for the Top 
Quark, physicists went to expensive extremes in "forcing a single data 
model to be applied". There was great rejoicing when they succeeded. They 
didn't want "more solutions" that would explain all the messy data they 
obtained from the millions of experiments they conducted that didn't 
produce a top quark.

Physicists, cooks and carpenters all have a "model" of what they want, and 
they do their best to obtain it - even if it means specifying, selecting, 
constructing the data that conforms to their models. But social scientists, 
in general, reject this approach. But which approach has been more productive?

Mike L.

Mike Linacre
Editor, Rasch Measurement Transactions
rmt at rasch.org www.rasch.org/rmt/ Latest RMT:  21:1 Summer 2007
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