Measurement provides a means for quantifying important phenomena of interest. In many measurement contexts, researchers are interested solely in describing their data efficiently. Such data summarization may be accomplished through the use of descriptive statistics. Unlike contexts in which the researcher is interested in drawing generalizations from data, descriptive statistics are not used to draw inferences to a larger population.

For example, consider a situation in which a teacher has recently administered a 10-point quiz. Fundamentally, the teacher has constructed the quiz in the hope that those with more knowledge of the course material will perform better (receive higher scores) than those with less knowledge of the course material. After grading the quizzes, the teacher records each student’s score in a spreadsheet, which is organized alphabetically ...

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