Dr. Gominda Ponnamperuma

Dr Gominda Ponnamperuma

Assistant Director,
Centre for Medical Education,
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine,
National University of Singapore



Using Psychometrics to Improve Assessment in Medical Education
Date: 21 September 2017, Thursday
Time: 9am – 1pm
Synopsis: Psychometrics is a field of study that helps one make sense of a measurement that is made, usually in relation to a property of a person that one wants to measure. In medical education, more often than not, the ‘measurement’ refers to an ‘examination item’ (or ‘assessment item’; e.g. a multiple choice question, an observed rating), and the ‘property’ refers to an ‘ability’ (e.g. clinical reasoning, basic sciences knowledge, communication skills) that we want to measure. So, psychometrics could be utilized to answer key questions such as: to what extent has one measured the said property; what would be the result if the measurement is repeated; is there any error in the measurement? Hence, psychometric tools have become an indispensable asset in the quality assurance of medical examinations.

Two of the most useful psychometric concepts that are commonly used are validity and reliability. This workshop will first discuss the key principles related to validity and reliability. Then, the workshop will proceed to introduce the common indices that one uses to estimate validity and reliability. Finally, the workshop will illustrate how best the said validity and reliability indices could be interpreted in practical terms. In addition, this workshop will introduce the participants to an invaluable concept that all assessment has traditionally ignored. This concept, which is called ‘standard setting’, refers to how best to set the pass mark.

This workshop will be of benefit to all medical teachers and administrators who take part in setting, marking, implementing or evaluating (i.e. analyzing/processing the marks and other related data) medical examinations. It would be ideal if the participants could bring their own laptops (preferably fully charged) to this workshop.


1. What is psychometrics?
2. Introduction to validity and reliability
3. Measures of reliability
4. Indices of validity
5. Practical application of estimating validity indices
6. Introduction to standard setting
7. Conclusion


Dr. Ponnamperuma has served as an invited speaker cum resource person in many international symposia and conferences. Author of several journal articles and books, he sits on the editorial boards of two international medical education journals. He has been a postgraduate tutor and resource material developer for national and international medical education courses. He has also served as an examiner in medical education certificate, diploma, master’s and doctoral degree programmes in many countries. Dr. Ponnamperuma has served as an advisor, visiting professor, consultant and fellow in several academic institutes and educational projects in several countries including the UK, Singapore, Japan, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Sri Lanka. He is a founding co-chair of the Asia Pacific Medical Education Network (APME-Net). His research interests are in assessment (including selection for training), and curriculum development and evaluation.