Dr Joshua McGrane

Josh McGrane completed his university medal-winning PhD in Quantitative Psychology and BA (Hons I) in Psychology at the University of Sydney.

He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Western Australia and also worked as a Psychometrician for the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) in the New South Wales Department of Education. This has provided him with extensive experience across academic and government contexts in education, including psychometric analyses and innovation of state and national-level educational assessments.

At OUCEA, Josh’s Research Fellowship is funded by AQA. He will be involved in a number of projects including developing research alliances with AQA, Assessment for Learning in Africa (AFLA), the PIRLS 2016 National Centre, and pursuing his own psychometric research interests.

Josh would welcome informal contacts from prospective doctoral students interested in the following topics:

  • Psychometric modelling of cognitive and non-cognitive attributes in education
  • The history and philosophy of measurement in the social sciences
  • The use of innovative methodologies in educational assessment
  • Rasch and IRT modelling of educational and psychological data


His research and teaching interests span the conceptual, empirical and statistical aspects of psychometrics and educational assessment. This includes questioning and investigating the key philosophical assumptions of educational and psychological measurement, as well as their historical development.

His empirical research employs a range of psychometric models, in particular the Rasch model, for scale development and validation of cognitive and non-cognitive assessments. These include achievement tests, learning progressions, performance assessments and social attitude surveys. He is committed to the use of innovative methods to enhance the validity and reliability of educational assessments, to promote the role of assessment in improving educational outcomes, and to strengthen the connection between substantive and methodological theories.

Conference papers

  • McGrane, JA, Lu, L, Turnbull, M Evaluating the reliability and validity of the English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) Learning Progression in NSW Government schools. (Washington DC)

  • McGrane, JA “Stevens’ forgotten crossroads: The divergent measurement traditions in the physical and psychological sciences from the mid-20th century.”, National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Annual Meeting. (National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Annual Meeting, San Francisco)

  • McGrane, JA Does attitudinal ambivalence necessitate the bivariate measurement of attitudes?. (Sydney)

Journal articles

  • McGrane, JA, Nowland, T (2017) “Likert or Not, Survey (In)validation Requires Explicit Theories and True Grit”, Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 15(2) 91-94.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15366367.2017.1369783

  • Maul, A, McGrane, J (2017) “As Pragmatic as Theft Over Honest Toil: Disentangling Pragmatism From Operationalism”, Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 15(1) 2-4.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15366367.2017.1342484

  • Price, A, Oliver, M, McGrane, JA (2015) “What's working memory to do with it? A case study on teenagers”, Teaching Science. 61(2) 26-32.

  • Seo, D, McGrane, J, Taherbhai, H (2015) “The Role of Student Growth Percentiles in Monitoring Learning and Predicting Learning Outcomes”, Educational Assessment. 20(2) 151-163.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10627197.2015.1028621

  • McGrane, JA (2015) “Educational Growth, Learning Progressions, and Metrological Simulacra: Putting the House in (Partial) Order”, Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 13(3-4) 200-205.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15366367.2015.1105085

  • Humphry, SM, McGrane, JA (2015) “Equating a large-scale writing assessment using pairwise comparisons of performances”, The Australian Educational Researcher. 42(4) 443-460.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13384-014-0168-6

  • McGrane, JA (2015) “Stevens’ forgotten crossroads: the divergent measurement traditions in the physical and psychological sciences from the mid-twentieth century”, Frontiers in Psychology. 6
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00431

  • McGrane, JA, Butow, PN, Sze, M, Eisenbruch, M, Goldstein, D, King, MT (2014) “Assessing the invariance of a culturally competent multi-lingual unmet needs survey for immigrant and Australian-born cancer patients: a Rasch analysis”, Quality of Life Research. 23(10) 2819-2830.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-014-0717-5

  • Butow, PN, Aldridge, L, Bell, ML, Sze, M, Eisenbruch, M, Jefford, M, Schofield, P, Girgis, A, King, M, Duggal-Beri, P, McGrane, J, Goldstein, D (2013) “Inferior health-related quality of life and psychological well-being in immigrant cancer survivors: A population-based study”, European Journal of Cancer. 49(8) 1948-1956.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2013.01.011

  • Butow, PN, Bell, ML, Aldridge, LJ, Sze, M, Eisenbruch, M, Jefford, M, Schofield, P, Girgis, A, King, M, Duggal, PS, McGrane, J, Goldstein, D (2013) “Unmet needs in immigrant cancer survivors: a cross-sectional population-based study”, Supportive Care in Cancer. 21(9) 2509-2520.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-013-1819-2

  • Colagiuri, B, King, MT, Butow, PN, McGrane, JA, Luckett, T, Price, MA, Birney, DP (2012) “A comparison of the FACT-G and the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS) in women with ovarian cancer: unidimensionality of constructs”, Quality of Life Research. 21(5) 887-897.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-011-9993-5

  • Luckett, T, Goldstein, D, Butow, PN, Gebski, V, Aldridge, LJ, McGrane, J, Ng, W, King, MT (2011) “Psychological morbidity and quality of life of ethnic minority patients with cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, The Lancet Oncology. 12(13) 1240-1248.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70212-1

  • A. McGrane, J (2010) “Are psychological quantities and measurement relevant in the 21st century?”, Frontiers in Psychology.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00022

  • Humphry, SM, McGrane, JA (2010) “Is there a contradiction between the network and latent variable perspectives?”, Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 33(2-3) 160-161.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X10000786

  • McGrane, JA, White, FA (2007) “Differences in Anglo and Asian Australians' explicit and implicit prejudice and the attenuation of their implicit in-group bias”, Asian Journal Of Social Psychology. 10(3) 204-210.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-839X.2007.00228.x


  • McGrane, J, Chan, J, Boggs, J, Hopfenbeck, T (2017) The assessment and moderation of writing with primary-aged students in contexts where English is the primary language of instruction: A systematic review.. Oxford University Press.

  • Humphry, S, McGrane, JA, Marais, I, Young, M, Seo, D, Wolfe, E, Song, T, Lazendic, G, Gregory, K, Lau, J National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) Technical Report.


  • Department staff


  • Deputy Director OUCEA
  • Research Fellow (OUCEA)

Subject area

  • Quantitative Methods

Research groups


Publications, books and other work