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Tests & measures in education

Finding a test or measurement instrument for your doctoral study is often one of the most challenging parts of your research. The multidisciplinary aspect of Education research can further complicate the task of finding an instrument. In fact, many education dissertations use psychological measurement instruments.

Identifying instruments

Most measurement instruments can be used for a variety of research topics. The instrument(s) you choose will depend on the specific things you want to measure as part of your own research.

Where should you start?

Start by looking at the Identify Tests tab of the  Tests & Measures Guide. It provides basic information about available test databases and provides videos of sample searches.

Which test database should you use?

For psychological concepts, such as self-efficacy, personality, locus of control, motivation, stress, etc., use a psychological test database.

Examples include Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print, HaPI, and PsycTESTS.

For measurements of learning, such as standardized achievement tests or literacy measures, and some behavior/attitude scales designed for children, use the ETS Test Collection.

If your topic doesn't fit well with the test databases listed above, try searching dissertations or skim related research articles for potential test names.
 

Tip: You may want to avoid specifying your research population when you search for tests. Most tests are fairly generic, and can be used with multiple populations.

For example, if you're interested in job stress among teachers, you may want to search for a general job stress scale that's designed for all occupations.

Find the full text

It can be difficult to find the full text of an instrument. Most tests are not freely available on the Internet, and few are published in full in journal articles. Some require that the tester have special training, or require payment to use. The availability of an instrument is often dependent on its publication status.

Learn more about published and unpublished tests.

The Find the Whole Test tab of the Tests & Measures Guide shows how to find the full text of most psychological tests.

Many educational tests are found in the ETS Test Collection.

Dissertations often include the full text of instruments in an appendix. Learn how to search for a specific instrument in the dissertations database.

Mental Measurements Yearbook

Searching Mental Measurements Yearbook:
 

The Mental Measurements Yearbook contains evaluative reviews of test and instruments in psychology, education, business, and leadership.  It is important to note that MMY does not contain the actual instrument, but does provide helpful information in determining the usefulness of an instrument.

 

To access the Mental Measurements Yearbook, follow these steps:

  1. From the Library homepage, click on the Databases A-Z button.


     
  2. Click on M and then scroll down and select Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print link.

    You may have to sign in with your Walden ID and password.
     
  3. Enter your search terms: be sure to limit to one concept per line.

To search for general assessments, this is one example of a search:

First search box: preschool

Second search box: assessment

 

To search for specific topics, this is one example of a search:

First search box: toddler

Second search box: social


 

Reviews contain information about the reliability, validity, and publication details of the testing instruments. A score index that allows users to easily identify what is being measured in individual tests and bibliographic information is also included. Testing instruments fall into many categories such as psychological tests, career inventories, intelligence and aptitude, and personality.

For more information about tests and measures look at our guide.