Scale Construction and Development

A 2-Day Seminar Taught by Tenko Raykov, Ph.D.

Read reviews of this seminar

To see a sample of the course materials, click here.

Researchers in a wide range of disciplines are frequently involved in the development and revision of multiple-item measuring instruments, including scales, tests, inventories, questionnaires, surveys, subscales, and testlets. Scores obtained from these measuring instruments are usually employed in subsequent analyses that address substantive research questions. To a substantial degree, the quality of these instruments determines the extent to which the analyses and modeling efforts produce trustworthy results. In order to construct scales of high psychometric quality, researchers must engage in many activities aimed at building initial versions of the instruments and then repeatedly revise them to improve their performance.

This two-day seminar provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of scale construction and development in the social and behavioral sciences, especially as applied to empirical settings where measuring instruments consist of multiple components or items with no guessing. Throughout the seminar, many empirical examples are utilized from the clinical, behavioral, educational, social, marketing, and organizational disciplines. The popular latent variable modeling software Mplus is used for all the examples, along with a detailed discussion of the command syntax and interpretation of the output.

Participants in this seminar can expect to come away with:

1. A nuanced understanding of the conceptual foundations and basic mathematical and statistical relationships underlying behavioral instrument construction and development.
2.  The ability to understand, interpret and explain the output from statistical software for achieving the goals of psychometric scale construction and revision.
3.  An appreciation of the advantages of a thorough study of the underlying latent structure of a tentative version of a multi-component instrument.
4.  Practical tools and strategies for constructing an initial version of a scale.
5.  Methods for revising a scale in order to achieve higher psychometric standards.
6. The ability to deal with issues arising in the practice of scale construction and development.

This is a hands-on course with at least one hour each day devoted to carefully structured and supervised assignments. 


Mplus will be used for all examples, but prior knowledge of Mplus is not essential or required. To participate in the hands-on exercises, you are strongly encouraged to bring your own laptop computer with Mplus installed. (The demo version of Mplus will suffice for most examples utilized in the course, as well as on the remaining examples after minor modification.)

In addition, for convenient and quick confidence interval construction, short R-functions will also be provided. However, knowledge of R is not essential, required, or expected.


To benefit from this seminar, you should have the equivalent of one or more semesters of statistics: a good introductory course with some treatment of probability and random variables as well as regression analysis. Some knowledge of multivariate statistics would also be helpful, but is not essential.

Location, Format and materials

The class will meet from 9 am to 5 pm each day with a 1-hour lunch break at Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. 

Participants receive a bound manual containing detailed lecture notes (with equations and graphics), examples of computer printout, and many other useful features. This book frees participants from the distracting task of note taking. 

Registration and Lodging

The fee of $995 includes all course materials. The early registration fee of $895 is available until September 2.

Refund Policy

If you cancel your registration at least two weeks before the course is scheduled to begin, you are entitled to a full refund (minus a processing fee of $50). 

Lodging Reservation Instructions

A block of guest rooms has been reserved at the Club Quarters Hotel, 1628 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA at a special rate of $174 per night. This location is about a 5-minute walk to the seminar location. In order to make reservations, call 203-905-2100 during business hours and identify yourself by using group code STH101 or click here. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must reserve your room no later than Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

If you need to make reservations after the cut-off date, you may call Club Quarters directly and ask for the “Statistical Horizons” rate (do not use the code or mention a room block) and they will try to accommodate your request.


  1. Resources for the seminar.
  2. Factor analysis – a modeling basis for instrument construction and development in the social and behavioral sciences; exploratory and confirmatory analyses, models, and their fitting to data.
  3. Scale development with categorical items – examining latent structure for a set of categorical items and instrument improvement.
  4. Construction of initial scale version – how to choose items from a possible pool; point and interval estimation of item difficulty, inter-item correlations, and item-total correlations, all doing it the right way.
  5. Scale revision to enhance psychometric quality – coefficient alpha and reliability; point and interval estimation of reliability as well as of change in reliability due to revision, and why “Alpha if item deleted” should generally not be used.
  6. Essential unidimensionality of multiple component measuring instruments – when could we consider a scale practically unidimensional even though it may not be strictly homogeneous.
  7. Some practical issues in scale construction and development – what may be relevant in a practical setting for instrument development and revision; validity, multidimensional, and hierarchical scales.
  8. Scale construction and development with data from nationally representative studies.
  9. Optimal shortening of scales.
  10. Conclusion. 


“SCD is led by one of the world’s experts in the field within a carefully structured format that includes a wealth of references and typical datasets. This course opened a richer view on scale development.”
  Martin Pusic, New York University

“This course provides a statistically rigorous look into Scale Construction and Development. Over a two-day period, you are given a semester’s worth of material by a professor who is an expert in the field. I would highly recommend this course to those interested who may not have the time to devote to a traditional course in an academic setting.”
  Julian Quiros, Philadelphia Department of Human Services

“Statistics has never been so easy! Professor Raykov is a terrific instructor and he will guide you step-by-step through the process of constructing and developing a scale.”
  Donato Cutolo, University of Bologna

“You will come out of this course with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to develop your own scales.”
  Christopher Wheldon, National Cancer Institute

“This course is well suited for researchers who have basic knowledge or some experience of analyzing scale structure and/or factor analysis. The structure and the materials are carefully designed. The references are up-to-date. The instructor is very knowledgeable. The class pace is good. The exercise activities and Q&A time are helpful.”
  Xu Jiang, University of Memphis

“Tenko was extremely clear in his explanations of the concepts and applications. It was also helpful to learn from other participants in the course and their questions. Tenko had direct and clear responses as well.”
  Erin Cooper, Auburn University

“This course was very helpful as I was in the process of designing my own scale. If you want a detailed but quick overview of scale construction, this is the right workshop. I am walking away more confident in constructing my own scale.”
  Danielle Dickens, Spelman College 

“I learned these methods originally on the fly through my own searching and experience. This class taught me the correct way to conduct these analyses and confirmed some of what I already knew. It was highly comprehensive and insightful.”
  Julianne McGill, Auburn University

“Dr. Raykov does a really nice job of taking participants through EFA and CFA and going over the iterative process of Scale Construction. Tools were immediately applicable.”
  Jessica Sanders, University of Utah

“The course was very broad and clarifying. It was possible to get a broader perspective on the whole process of scale construction and development.”
  Fabiola Eto, Fiocruz’s National School of Public Health