Samuel Messick

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Samuel J. Messick III (3 April 1931 – 6 October 1998) was an American psychologist and professor whose work at the Educational Testing Service examined construct validity.

Messick influenced language testing in 2 main ways: in proposing a new understanding of how inferences made based on tests must be challenged, and in drawing attention to the consequences of test use.

Division 5 of the American Psychological Association named the annual Samuel J. Messick Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award in his honor. One of his collaborators, Douglas N. Jackson, won the award in 2004.


  • (ed. with Harold Gulliksen) Psychological scaling: theory and applications; report of a conference. New York: Wiley, 1960.
  • (ed. with John Ross) Measurement in personality and cognition. New York: Wiley, 1962.
  • (ed. with Silvan Tomkins) Computer simulation of personality: frontier of psychological theory, New York: Wiley, 1963.
  • (ed. with Arthur H. Brayfield) Decision and choice; contributions of Sidney Siegel. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.
  • (ed. with Douglas N. Jackson) Problems in human assessment. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.
  • (ed.) Individuality in learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1976.

Further reading[edit]

  • McNamara, Tim. "Validity in language testing: The challenge of Sam Messick's legacy". Language Assessment Quarterly: An International Journal. 2006, Vol. 3, No. 1, Pages 31–51
  • Weideman, Albert. 2012. "Validation and validity beyond Messick". Per Linguam, Vol. 3, No. 2, Pages 1–14