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Measurement Error

Measurement is the process of ascribing a number to some abstract concept, such as cognitive ability or school quality. This number, called the measured value, is an approximation of the abstract concept’s true value. Measurement error is the amount that a measured value deviates from the true value. Depending on its source, measurement error can be random or systematic. Each type of error affects either the measurement’s validity (i.e., the accuracy or how closely a measured value coincides with the true value) or reliability (i.e., the precision or how consistently a measurement produces the same results). It is important to know the causes of each type of error and how to minimize their effects in order to avoid utilizing misleading measurements. This entry explains random ...

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