Psychological Assessment

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Principles - Introduction - Norms and Basic Statistics for Testing - Correlation and Regression - Reliability - Validity - Writing and Evaluating Test Items - Test Administration

Types of Tests 1. Individual tests – can be given to only one person at a time 2. Group tests – more than one person at a time by a single examiner I. Ability Tests – measure skills in terms of speed, accuracy, or both a. Achievement Test - previous learning b. Aptitude – potential for learning or acquiring specific skill c. Intelligence – person’s general potential to solve problems, adapt to changing circumstances, think abstractly, and profit from experience.

Applications - Interviewing Techniques - Theories of Intelligence and Binet Scales - The Wechsler Intelligence Scales: WAIS-IV, WISC-IV, and WPPSI-III - Other individual Tests of Ability in Education and Special Education - Standardized Tests in Education, Civil Service, and the Military - Applications in Clinical and Counseling Settings - Projective Personality Tests - Computers and Basic Psychological Science and Testing - Testing in Counseling Psychology - Testing in Health Psychology and Health Care - Testing in Industrial and Business Settings


Issues -Test Bias -Testing and the Law - Ethics and Future of Psychological Testing

- IntroductionPsychological test – educational test or a set of items that are designed to measure characteristics of human beings that pertain to behaviour. Psychological Assessment – gathering and integration of psychology-related data for the purpose of making a psychological evaluation that is accomplished through the use of such tools as tests, interviews, case studies, behavioural observation, and specially designed apparatuses and measurement procedures o Collaborative – assessor and assesse may work as “partners” from initial contract through final feedback o Therapeutic – therapeutic self-discovery and new understandings are encouraged throughout the entire assessment process o Dynamic – interactive approach to psychological assessment that usually follows a model of (1) evaluation, (2) intervention, (3) evaluation

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Scales – relate raw scores on test items to some defined theoretical or empirical distribution Scoring – process of assigning such evaluative codes or statements to performance on tests, tasks, interviews, or other behaviour samples. o Cut Score any reference point, usually numerical, divided by judgment and used to divide a set of data into two or more classifications the parties to a Test? Test Developers and Publishers Test User Testtaker Society at large

Personality Tests – measure typical behaviour- traits, temperaments, and dispositions a. Structured (objective): provides a self-report statement to which the person responds “True” or “False”, “Yes” or “No” b. Projective: provides an ambiguous test stimulus; response requirements are unclear

HISTORICAL, CULTURAL, and LEGAL/ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Han Dynasty: use of test batteries (two or more tests used in conjunction) Ming Dynasty: national multistage testing program involved local and regional testing centers equipped with special testing booths; series of tests for public office 1855: British government copied the Chinese system for employee selection and for its civil service 1883: US government established American Civil Service Commission


Who are 1. 2. 3. 4.

School Ability Tests – identify children w/ special needs b. Achievement Tests – evaluates accomplishments or the degree of learning that has taken place c. Diagnostic Tests – tool of assessment used to help narrow down and identify areas of deficit to be targeted for intervention Clinical Settings Counseling Settings Geriatric Settings Business and Military Settings

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Charles Darwin higher forms of life evolved partially because of individual differences within a species Francis Galton: individual differences exist in human sensory and motor functioning such as reaction time, visual acuity, and physical strength. Karl Pearson: developed the product-moment correlation technique Wilhelm Max Wundt: formulated a general description of human abilities with respect to variables such as reaction time, perception, and attention span; focused on how people are similar James Mckeen Cattell : coined the term mental test based on Galton’s work on individual differences in reaction time. o Also instrumental in founding the Psychological Corporation with a goal for the “advancement of psychology and the promotion of the useful applications of psychology. Charles Spearman: originating the concept of test reliability as well as building the mathematical framework for the statistics of factor analysis Victor Henri: collaborated with Binet on papers suggesting how mental tests could be used to measure higher mental processes Emil Kraepelin: early experimenter with the word association technique as a formal test Light Witmer: little known founder of clinical psychology and founded the journal Psychological Clinic having its first article entitled as “Clinical Psychology”

20th Century 

Settings 1. Educational Settings

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Alfred Binet and Victor Henri: 1895, published several articles which they argued for the measurement of abilities such as memory and social comprehension


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Binet Simon Scale – 1905, contained 30 items of increasing difficulty and was designed to identify intellectually subnormal individuals; concept of mental age was made. David Weschler, 1939: intelligence was the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with the environment o Group Intelligence Test: came into being in the US in response to the military’s need for an efficient method of screening the intellectual ability of World War I recruits Stanford Binet Scale – revision made by Terman on 1916 WWI- they army requested the assistance of Yerkes, APA president to create a committee of distinguished psychologists to develop 2 structured group tests of human abilities: They Army Alpha and the Army Beta. Achievement Tests: provide multiple choice questions that are standardized on a large sample to produce norms against which the results of new examinees can be compared.

SCALES OF MEASUREMENT  Properties 1. Magnitude – property of moreness. A scale has the property of magnitude if we can say that a particular instance of the attribute represents more, less, or equal amounts of the given quantity than does another instance. 2. Equal Intervals – if the difference between two points at any place o the scale has the same meaning as the difference between two other points that differ by the same number of scale units. 3. Absolute Zero- when nothing of the property being measured exists. Type of Scale


Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio

No Yes Yes Yes

Equal Intervals No No Yes Yes

Absolute 0 No No No Yes

Measurement of Personality 

Personality Tests (1920-1940) – measured presumably stable characteristics or traits that theoretically underlie behaviour. o


o o o o o


Traits – relatively enduring dispositions (tendencies to act, think, or feel in a certain manner in any given circumstance) that distinguish one individual from another. Robert S Woodworth – measure of adjustment and emotional stability that could be administered quickly and efficiently to group of recruits (Personal Data Sheet) Woodworth Personal Data Sheet – an early structured personality test that assumed that a test response can be taken at face value Projective Tests – an individual is assumed to “project” onto some ambiguous stimulus his or her own unique needs, fears, hopes, and motivation. Rorschach Inkblot test: highly controversial projective test that provided an ambiguous stimulus and asked the subject what it might be Thematic Apperception test: projective test that provided ambiguous pictures and asked subjects to make up a story Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): structured personality test that made no assumptions about the meaning of a test response. Such meaning was to be determined by empirical research 16PF: A structured personality test based on the statistical procedure of factor analysis

Ordinal: IQ Tests Interval: Temperature on C and F Ratio: Kelvin Scale; Yards, Speed

Frequency Distributions – displays scores on a variable or a measure to reflect how frequently each value was obtained. Positive Skew – relatively few scores fall at the high end of the distribution (e.g. the test was too difficult) Negative Skew – When relatively few of the scores fall at the low end of the distribution (e.g. the test was too easy) Percentile Rank– an expression of the percentage of people whose score on a test or measure falls below a particular raw score, or a converted score that refers to a percentage of testtakers; contrast with percentage correct

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P = B/N x 100 = percentile rank of Xi P= percentile rank X,= score of interest B = number of scores below X, N= total number of scores 

Percentiles – specific scores or points within a distribution; divide the total frequency for a set of observations into hundredths.

DESCRIBING DISTRIBUTIONS 1. Mean – arithmetic average score in a distribution 2. Standard Deviation – approximation of the average deviation around the mean; square root of variance

Culture and Assessment 

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Culture– socially transmitted behaviour patterns, beliefs, and products of work of a particular population, community, or group of people Henry S Goddard – highly instrumental in getting Binet’s test adopted for use in various settings in the US who raised questions about how meaningful such tests are when used with people from various cultural language and backgrounds Verbal Communication – language is a key yet sometimes overlooked variable in the assessment process.




Σ( X – X) N

Variance – measure of variability equal to the arithmetic mean of the squares of the differences between the scores in a distribution and their mean 2

σ ²=

Σ( X – X ) N

Norms and Basic Statistics for Testing  

Tests– devices used to translate observations into numbers Purpose of Statistics o Descriptive Statistics – are methods used to provide a concise description of a collection of quantitative information o Inferential Statistics – used to make inferences from observations of a small group of people known as a sample to a larger group of individuals known as population.


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Z Score – transforms data into standardized units that are easier to interpret; difference between a score and the mean, divided by the standard deviation


X,–X z =¿ ¿ S


Scatterplot – useful in revealing curvilinearity in a relationship (eyeball guage” of how curved the graphy is

Regression – analysis of relationships among variables for the purpose of understanding how one variable may predict another. Simple Regression – X (predictor variable); Y (outcome variable); results in an equation for a regression line. Regression Line – line of best fit Multiple Regression – takes into account the intercorrelations among all variables involved; correlation among predictor scores

 - Correlation and Regression Expression of degree and direction of correspondence between two thing. Coefficient of Correlation – numerical index that expresses this relationship: It tells us the extent to which X and Y are co-related.  Pearson r –when the relationship is linear and when the two variables being correlated are continuous  Coefficient of Determination – indication of how much variance is shared by the X- and the Y- variables.  Spearman Rho – rank-order correlation coefficient when sample size is fewer than 30 and when both sets of measurements are in ordinal or rank-order form. GRAPHIC REPRESENTATIONS OF CORRELATION 1. Bivariate distribution 2. Scatter Diagram 3. Scattergram

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Meta-analysis – family of techniques used to statistically combine information across studies to produce single estimates of the statistics beig studied

Culture and Inference


Reliability Validity Writing and Evaluating Test Items Test Administration

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