Rise & Fall of Psychological Testing

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Trace the rise and fall of Psychological testing in the last century. Make note of significant historical events that played part in the development of testing as a major field.

1) It all began with the need to help intellectually challenged individuals. Alfred Binet and T.Simon came up with the first general intelligence test ‘the 1905 Binet-Simon Scale’ introducing norms- by standardizing administrative conditions, and using a sample representative of the target population- to compare future scores. Along with the revisions- of a larger standardized sample and more items to increase its validity- that followed, was the norm of ‘mental age.’ It allowed one to compare a child’s intelligence score relative to others’ of the same age. Terman of Stanford University then made the revision that presented it to the United States.

2) In WWI the need to screen the intellectual ability of large groups of recruits led to Army Alpha, and Army Beta (alpha did the literate, Beta the illiterate)

3) Group tests led to standardized achievement tests for schools. In comparison to the essay versions, the standardized structure of multiple choice questions, ease of administration under identical conditions and objectivity scoring made it more popular in terms of reliability and validity. In 1923 the structured group tests evolved into the Stanford Achievement Test (by L. M. Terman and others)

4) Despite their superior standards however, the group tests underwent heavy criticism on their validity, which led to more revisions that culminated in the 1939 Wechsler-Bellevue Test. It contained various scales to analyze an individuals abilities. Among them was the performance test, which prompted the Binet test to be revised again and include subtests.

5) Around that time of WWI (1920’s- 1940’s) when personality tests were coming out the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet came to be the first structured one to simplify the interview...
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