Dr F.J. Oort (1963) has been appointed professor of Methods and Statistics of Child Development and Education at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
Frans Oort conducts psychometric research on the use of statistical models in behavioural research. He is particularly interested in extending the scope of structural equation modelling (SEM) - a statistical technique for the analysis of linear relationships in normally distributed data - to include models for non-linear relationships in non-normally distributed data.
Non-standard SEM also applies to a second area of research: the validity of subjective measurement methods, such as self-reporting. A central question is to what extent do observed test score differences offer a valid representation of actual differences in ability or behaviour, such as skill, knowledge, personality, attitude, emotions and interests? Individual differences (including gender, age, culture, language) and differences in treatment -as in experimental research - have an effect on response behaviour and may affect the validity of the measurement. Validity issues such as item and test bias, response shift, response tendencies and styles (for example, socially desirable response behaviour), can all be regarded as violations of measurement invariance. A uniform approach can thus be applied to a wide range of validity problems, and SEM can be used to test measurement invariance hypotheses.
Oort previously worked as at the UvA's Department of Psychological Methodology, at the department of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University, and at the Department of Medical Psychology of the Academic Medical Centre (AMC-UvA,). For almost five years now, he has worked as associate professor of Methods and Statistics at the Department of Child Development and Education of the UvA. He has published fundamental research on psychometrics and applications of psychometrics in psychology, medicine, and education.