There are numerous various kinds of psychological tests utilized for various reasons. Psychological tests quite often include an examination of an example of behavior, from reactions to pencil-and-paper polls or oral reactions to questions regarding the presentation of some undertaking (Cohen and Swerdlik, 2018). The different types of tests are shown in the different assessments that can be done. There are educational assessments, retrospective assessments, remote assessments, and ecological momentary assessments (EMA) (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2018).
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The tests themselves differ in the number of variables they use: content, format, administrative procedure, scoring, interpretation, and technical quality (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). The variables reflect all aspects of the test, the who, what, where, when, and how. Tests can be administered in a variety of ways. They can be one-on-one or administered in a group. Some tests require a demonstration of knowledge, while others are simply observations of performance. Another administrative difference is the presence of the administrator during the test. Some tests will require their presence, while others are best conducted in their absence (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
Scoring and interpretation procedures will differ based on the format of the test and the data that is collected. The score can be numerical or a summary statement like a pass/fail that reflects the evaluation of performance on the test (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). The final difference is technical quality or psychometric soundness. This refers to the consistency and accuracy of the test (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
How are they used, in what settings are they used, and by whom are they used?
Psychological tests are used by many different professionals in many different settings for various reasons. Psychological tests used by clinicians, counselors, school psychologists, human resources, consumer psychologists, experimental psychologists, and social psychologists (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). Tests are utilized to determine abilities, job qualifications, product marketing, and cognitive function. Environments psychological tests are being administered in would be educational, clinical, counseling, geriatric, business, military, government credentialing, and academic research.
In an educational setting they are used to determine special needs, test the degree of learning, diagnose learning deficits, and for informal evaluations of behavior (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
Clinicians use psychological in public, private, and military hospitals, inpatient/outpatient clinics, private consulting, and schools or other institutions. Clinicians use them to screen for diagnose behavior problems, test intelligence and personality, as well as neuropsychology, the study of brain and how it relates to the rest of the body, cognition, and behavior (Cohen and Swerdlik2018).
Counselors working in schools, prisons, the government, and private institutions use psychological testing to assess the progress of their clients in terms of adjustment, productivity, and other related variables to their situation (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). They also use them to measure social and academic skills, personality, interests, attitudes, and values. In a geriatric setting psychological testing is used to perform cognitive evaluations needed to identify individuals with dementia or pseudodementia. They are also used for psychological assessments, adaptive evaluations, cognitive function, and quality of life assessments.
Quality of life assessments test perceived stress, loneliness, sources of satisfaction, personal values, quality of friendships, and social support (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). Psychological tests are used in a business or military setting to make decisions about someone’s career. They measure achievement, aptitude, interests, and motivation. They are used to determine qualifications for promotion, transfers, job satisfaction, and eligibility for further training (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
In the business world, psychological tests are used to determine what products the engineering and development departments should invest time into developing. They also are used to test products for marketing and sales. Marketing also uses psychological tests to when developing marketing campaigns. It helps to determine the right market for their product (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
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Government and Organizational credentials require testing. Lawyers, medical professionals, teachers, and many other professionals must complete a test to be credentialed. The last setting is academic research. Researchers use testing to collect the data necessary to support or disprove their hypothesis (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018). Testing of some sort is part of our everyday lives.
Interpretation is one limitation. Different psychologists may interpret the results differently and take different courses of action. Psychological tests measure things that are not directly detectable, more often than not there is going to be a gap between what a test is attempting to measure and what it actually measures. The overall problem with psychological tests concerns their ability to measure what they are supposed to measure. The accuracy, or usefulness, of a test is known as its validity. (Richmond, 2019)
There are cultural biases when it comes to assessment taking as well. Test results are often not accurate for people who speak another language. There are also limitations when people come from a different cultural or socioeconomical background that may not have the same experiences or language as the test. Most psychological test assumes a middle class population as standard.
Legal and ethical Issues
Public concern about psychological assessment is reflected in the extensive involvement of the government in many aspects of the assessment process in recent decades. Assessment has been affected in numerous and important ways by activities of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of federal and state governments. (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
APA Committee on Ethical Standards for Psychology published a report called Ethical Standards for the Distribution of Psychological Tests and Diagnostic Aids. This report defined three levels of tests in terms of the degree to which the test’s use required knowledge of testing and psychology. As prescribed by the Standards and in some cases by law, some of the rights that test users accord to testtakers are the right of informed consent, the right to be informed of test findings, the right to privacy and confidentiality, and the right to the least stigmatizing label. Testtakers have a right to know why they are being evaluated, how the test data will be used, and what (if any) information will be released to whom. With full knowledge of such information, testtakers give their informed consent to be tested.
Informed consents must be presented in a clear and understandable manner. The tester should provide a reason for the test administration, how tests and evaluations procedures are going to be used. Also, how assessment scores will be used and who will have access to the results. Testtakers have the right to refuse. The disclosure of the information needed for consent must, of course, be in language the testtaker can understand. Testtakers have the right to privacy and confidentiality and the right to the least stigmatizing labeling. (Cohen and Swerdlik 2018).
Test Security is equally as important. Test materials must be kept secure. Test results are private property.
- APA. (2017, January 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
- Cohen, R.J. and Swerdlik, M. E. (2018). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurements. 9th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
- Richmond, R. L. (2019). Psychological Testing: Psychological Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.guidetopsychology.com/testing.htm
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