Top-Rated Free Essay

Introduction to Psychological Testing

Better Essays
Introduction to Psychological Testing
PSY/475
May 28, 2012
Dan Riner

Introduction to Psychological Testing
Tests are used to evaluate, identify, and give meaning to human thought and behavior. A test is a process that is used to observe behavior and describe that behavior using numerical scales or fixed categories. The five major categories of psychological tests include mental ability, achievement, personality, interests and attitudes, and neuropsychological. Tests are primarily used in clinical, educational, personnel, and research settings. Reliability and validity are foundations that give strength to any test.

Definition of Test

The Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests defines the term test as “an evaluative device or procedure in which a sample of an examinee’s behavior in a specified domain is obtained and subsequently evaluated and scored using a standardized process” (Hogan, 2007, p. 38). A test is a process or system that is used to observe behavior and describe the behavior using numerical scales or fixed categories. According to Hogan (2007), a test is type of procedure or device that yields information about behavior and cognitive processes, and measures a sample of behavior rather than a wide examination of an individual’s behaviors. These tests are also systematic and quantified.

Major Categories of Tests

The five major categories of psychological tests include mental ability, achievement, personality, interests and attitudes, and neuropsychological (MAPIN). Mental ability includes cognitive functions such as, memory, vision, and critical thinking. The mental ability test measure cognitive functions such as, intelligence, memory, spatial visualization, quantitative reasoning, and creative thinking. Achievement tests are tests that are designed to help determine how much knowledge and skill an individual has in specific areas and in specific levels, and include assessments in reading, math, science, and social studies (Hogan, 2007). Personality tests are designed to yield information about human personality and it is the most practical of all psychological tests. Personality tests compare an individual’s responses to different clinical groups for similarities and differences.

Another major category of psychological testing is interests and attitudes, which includes vocation interest measures (Hogan, 2007). This test measures an individual’s interests and attitude toward certain topics and groups. Interest and attitude tests are widely used in high school and college to help individuals explore jobs that are applicable to his or her interests. Neuropsychological tests are designed to yield information regarding brain function and the central nervous system. These tests can include memory, verbal, psychomotor, and abstract thinking (Hogan, 2007).

Major Uses and Users of Psychological Testing

Primary users of tests include four diverse groups including clinical, educational, personnel, and research (Hogan, 2007). In a clinical setting, tests are used in counseling, school psychology, and neuropsychology. The tests are used to help identify the nature and severity of an individual’s problems, and provide the individual with suggestions on how to deal with the problem. Testing in this situation can also help an individual measure progress when dealing with his or her problem. In an educational setting, tests are used to assess student learning, to document competence for professional licensure, and to predict success in academic work (Hogan, 2007). Users of the test include teachers, parents, school board members, legislators, and educational administrators.

Personnel or employment testing are primarily used in businesses and in the military and has two main tasks (Spector, 2008). The first task is to select the most qualified individual to fill the position, and the second task is to assign a group of individual to different tasks to optimize the organization’s overall efficiency (Kubiszyn & Read, 2001). Personnel or employment tests are useful in these selection processes. In a research setting, tests are used in psychology, education, and behavioral and social sciences. Tests serve as the operational definition of the dependent variable in a research study (Hogan, 2007).

Reliability and Validity

Validity deals with what a test measures and if the measure is really what it was intended to measure. Reliability deals “only with the consistency of the measure, regardless of exactly what it is measuring” (Hogan, 2007, p. 112). A measure can be reliable without being valid; however, a test cannot be valid unless it is reliable. According to Hogan (2007), test reliability has technical and quantitative meaning. This means that the expected components of tests are consistent, replicable, and dependable. A reliable test is one that consistently yields the same or similar score for each individual, the score can be replicated within a specific margin of error, and the test is dependable in that it will yield the same or similar scores for each individual.

Validity is the extent to which a test measures and the reason behind the measure. Validity is the most important characteristic of a test. Hogan (2007) explains it is imprecise to question the validity of a test, but rather “refer to the interpretation of a score for a particular purpose or use” (p. 157). When referring to validity, it is important to assess to what degree a test is valid for the particular purpose, rather than trying to determine if it is generally valid. Equally important is the need to determine the accuracy of norms, validate scientific exploration, assess mental states, facilitate learning, and determine future needs (Hogan, 2007).

Conclusion

A test is type of procedure that yields information about behavior and cognitive processes, and measures a sample of behavior rather than a wide examination of an individual’s behaviors. The major categories of tests allow many types of users in a variety of fields’ access to valuable information. Psychological testing depends on reliability and validity of testing to help determine the accuracy of norms and validate scientific exploration (Hogan, 2007).

References

Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ:

Wiley.

Kubiszyn, T. W., Read, G. M. (2001). Psychological testing and psychological

assessment: a review of evidence and issues. American Psychologist, 56(2), 128-165.

Spector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology: research and practice (5th ed.).

Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

References: Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Kubiszyn, T. W., Read, G. M. (2001). Psychological testing and psychological assessment: a review of evidence and issues. American Psychologist, 56(2), 128-165. Spector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology: research and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    psychology testing 1

    • 757 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper in which you summarize the major assumptions and fundamental questions associated with psychological testing. Address the following in your paper:…

    • 757 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    PSYCHOLOGICAL TEST are somewhat standardized a method of gaining a set of responses from a candidate. Candidates are required to answer a carefully derived set of questions, which may focus on specific aspects of ability or facets of personality. Cognitive tests may be divided into tests of achievement and of aptitude. I would go with a test of aptitude it is focusing on what an individual is capable of achieving in the future. Cost is a major factor for psychometric testing they are expensive to design and develop, although they are sufficiently inexpensive to purchase the cost is in they usually require a trained consultant for their interpretation. A well designed test can be an extremely valid and inexpensive selection tool.…

    • 3011 Words
    • 25 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Psychometric Test

    • 2713 Words
    • 11 Pages

    Recruitment and selection are the core activities of the HR department in any organization as it is directly linked to the employees of the organization. These processes are not only important but also the most difficult as it involves a lot of cost on the part of the company. Unlike the recruitment process the selection process also involves a lot of cost in terms of interviews and tests in conducting the selection of the employees.. Many of us already know that the psychometric tests are commonly used in almost every organization not only in the selection process but also in the process of performance management of the employees. The reason for carrying out the test in the same in the two situations it is to measure the ability and the performance of the employees. In this paper I will discuss what is a psychometric test? How the companies use it and also the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a psychometric test in the selection process.…

    • 2713 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    References: Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Sturman, E. D. (2013). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (8th Ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.…

    • 1252 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    References: Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.…

    • 813 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    3. ________ testing is used to learn more about a person’s overall cognitive strengths and weaknesses. ________ is an example of this type of testing.…

    • 470 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Unit8Assignment

    • 2401 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Sturman, E. D. (2013). Psychological testing and assessment: an introduction to tests and measurement (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.…

    • 2401 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Using standardized tests to assess a person’s cognitive and learning ability is a common practice in all kinds of institutions and has been debated for years. The primary purpose of such tests is to screen out large number of applications that don’t meet the minimum requirements. The key to correct use of such tests is to ensure the content, format and process of taking the test matches with the requirements of the job.…

    • 1125 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Coun 521 Unit 1 Assignment

    • 2775 Words
    • 12 Pages

    Include information on the development of the test – full name of the test, when it was first developed, the population for which the test is appropriate, and its primary uses. Indicate whether the test is an objective or projective measure and whether it is more of an intelligence, achievement, or personality measure. Indicate whether or not this test has alternate forms, when these were created, and under what circumstances these are used.…

    • 2775 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    For most people tests occur throughout one 's life. People are administered tests for school, work, and other reasons. Testing can be for various reasons and there are different categories of testing. The major categories of tests are mental ability tests, achievement tests, personality tests, interests and attitudes, and neuropsychological tests. In order to ensure accuracy with testing, it is important to question, compare, and contrast reliability and validity of tests. Reliability deals with the stability of scores and measured traits and validity questions the purpose of the tests and what it measures (Hogan, 2007). Tests are also categorized by how they are given and by how much time one has to complete a test. The reason tests exist is because of the different needs people have, such as scientific reasons, medical reasons, or administrative reasons. Testing individuals can provide much-needed answers for production, progress, and even for life saving reasons.…

    • 959 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Psychological assessment instrument has four types of assessment that is used to determine and measure an individual personality. These psychological assessments are: qualities, observation, thinking, and feelings that characterize the individual. Psychological personality assessment instrument has many reasons of why there are four types and how they are conducted with each assessment. When comparing different assessment and theories such as: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Rorschach, and cognitive-social theories, this give the reader the opportunity to gain knowledge on validity, comprehensiveness, applicability and cultural utility of personality assessment instrument that explain an individual personality.…

    • 479 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Kaplan,R.M. & Saccuzzo, D.P. (2001). Psychological Testing Principles, Applications, and Issues. (5TH Ed), USA : Wadsworth…

    • 1373 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    The American Psychological Association, or APA, (2011), suggests that psychological assessments are an integral part of clinical psychology. Psychological assessments, or psychological testing, are used by skilled professionals, commonly psychologists, to learn either general or specific facts about people, either to inform others of how they function now, or to predict their behavior and functioning in the future (Psych Page, 2011). Throughout the course of this paper, the major assumptions and fundamental questions associated with psychological testing will be examined. This paper will define the term test, describe the major categories of tests, and identify the major uses and users of these tests. Additionally, this paper will also compare and contrast the concepts of reliability and validity and discuss how they affect the field of psychological testing.…

    • 1095 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Most, but not all, tests are designed to measure skills, abilities, or traits that are and are not directly observable. The process of using a test score as a sample of behavior in order to draw conclusions about a larger domain of behaviors is characteristic of most educational and psychological tests (Miller, et. al., 2013). Responsible test developers and publishers must be able to demonstrate that it is possible to use the sample of behaviors measured by a test to make valid inferences about an examinee's ability to perform tasks that represent the larger domain of interest.…

    • 698 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays