Psychological Testing Paper
Psychological testing can provide a great deal of information for many people. People that rely on psychological testing include, but are not limited to psychologists, teachers, parents, behavioral specialists, and psychiatrists. In order for these people to understand the information given to them they need to have a basic understanding of psychological tests. There is a variety of tests available for testing people, and each of these tests has specific uses. These tests must also have a degree of reliability and validity in order to be useful in the field of psychological testing. The major assumptions and fundamental questions also need to be addressed.
The majority of people have a basic idea of the definition of a test. A test, (2011) according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “something (as a series of questions or exercises) for measuring the skill, knowledge, intelligence, capacities, or aptitudes of an individual or group”. This definition can fit some of the areas of psychological testing but six common elements are present in the meaning of “test” in the context of behavioral sciences (Hogan, 2007) These six common features that are present in the definition of a psychological test are: a test is some type of procedure or device, yields information, the procedure or device yields information about behavior, a sample of a behavior or cognitive process rather than many behaviors or cognitive processes, and last a test is a systematic, standardized procedure (Hogan, 2007).
A variety of psychological tests have been developed and used for many different reasons. The major categories of tests include mental ability tests, achievement tests, personality tests, interests and attitudes and neuropsychological tests (Hogan, 2007). Each of these tests has major uses and users of them.
Mental ability tests include a variety of cognitive functions. These cognitive functions can include memory, spatial visualization, quantitative reasoning, vocabulary and creative thinking (Hogan, 2007). Mental ability tests subdivide into individually and group administered intelligence tests, and a variety of ability tests. Some of the individually administered tests might include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scale. These tests provide an index of the overall mental ability of an individual. One group-administered intelligence test used is the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (Hogan, 2007).
Achievement tests are used to assess a person’s level of knowledge or skill in a specific domain. Four subdivisions of achievement tests have been widely used. The majority of achievement tests are group administered. Group administered tests can include the Stanford Achievement Test, Metropolitan Achievement Test, and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (Hogan, 2007). These tests have a series of tests in areas such as reading, mathematics, language, science and social studies. Some Achievement tests focus on a single subject, such as geometry, psychology, or Spanish. Graduate Record Examinations are commonly used to test in specific areas. Certification and licensing in specific fields also employ achievement tests. Individually administered tests can also be used to help identify and aid in diagnosis of conditions such as learning disabilities (Hogan, 2007).
Personality tests are used to understand and provide information about the human personality. Two subdivisions are used in personality testing. Objective personality tests area objectively scored and based on items answered in a true-false or similar format. Some of these tests used include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Eating Disorder Inventory (Hogan, 2007). The second subdivision is projective techniques. The techniques involve the examinee encountering a basically simple