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Psychological Measurement (PSYC 3250) Chapter Summaries- Ch 1-17

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PSYC 3250
Christopher Upton

Psychological Measurement Chapter Summaries Chapter 1 Tests and MeasurementsPsychological tests represent systematic applications of a few relatively simple principles in an attempt to measure personal attributes thought to be important in describing or understanding individual behaviourTests are used to make important decisions about individuals Psychological Tests A DefinitionA psychological test is a measurement instrument that has 3 defining characteristics 1 It is a sample of behaviour 2 The sample is obtained under standardised conditions 3 There are established rules for scoringobtaining numerical information Behaviour SamplingEvery psychological test requires the respondent to do something o The subjects behaviour is used toMeasure some specific attributePredict some specific outcomeImplications of behaviour samples in psychological measurement o A psychological test is not a thorough measurement of all possible behavioursStrict adherence to standard procedures for administering various psychological tests helps to minimize the effects of extraneous variables such as o Physical conditions of testing o The characteristics of the examiner o Subjects confusion regarding demands of the test Scoring RulesThe aim of testing is to measure or describe in a quantitative way some attributes of the person taking the test however there must be some set of rules or procedures for describing this in a quantitative formThere are 2 known scoring rules o Objective indicates that 2 people each applying the same set of scoring rules to an individuals responses will always arrive at the same score for that individual o Subjective relies on the judgment of the examiner and this cannot be described with sufficient precision to allow for their automatic application also known as human judgementTests vary considerably in the precision and detail of their scoring rules Types of TestsMost psychological tests can be sorted into 3 general categories 1 Tests of performance 2 Behaviour Observations 3 Selfreports Tests of PerformanceMost familiar category of tests is one in which subjects are given some welldefined task that they try their best to perform successfully and in which the test scores is determined by the subjects success in completing each taskThe defining feature of this test relates to the intent or state of mind of the person taking the test o They are designed to assess what a person can do under the conditions Behavioural ObservationsThis category of tests assess typical behaviourperformance within a specific contextThe subject may not know their behaviour is being measured which differs from performance tests where the subject does know SelfReportsThis category of tests asks the subject to reportdescribe their feelings attitudes beliefs values opinions or physicalmental stateIt includes surveys questionnaires and polls Tests and Decisions Uses of Psychological Tests Origins of TestingThe systematic development of psychological tests is a relatively new phenomenon o The theory and technology used in modern psychological testing have been developed within the last 100 yearsThe strongest motivation for the development of psychological tests has been practical rather than theoretical Educational TestingEducational institutions must make admissions and advancement decisions about millions of students every yearStandardized massproduced test such as SATS are widely used in admissions Personnel TestingAbility tests and tests of specific skills are widely used in personnel selection in both public and private sectors Clinical TestingClinical psychologists employ a wide variety of tests in assessing individual clientsTesting Activities of PsychologistsPsychological assessment is common in several of the fields of applied psychology although the types of assessment devices and techniques vary widely across different fields o There are considerable overlap among the assessment activities of the different fieldsThere are 2 differences in ways in which individuals with training and those without training in psychology typically use these tests o With trainingPsychologists who use tests in their work are more likely to have training in measurement theoryPsychologists recognise the limitations of the tests they use and are better able to effectively use the results of test researchMany tests used by psychologists require a greater degree of professional judgement in their interpretation than othersThere is an ongoing debate about the competencies needed to administer and use psychological tests by those who are not licenced psychologists Information about TestsThe greater diversity of psychological tests is both a help an a hindrance to the potential test user o Positive side tests are available that meet a wide variety of practical needs o Negative side many tests might be used in any specific setting and vary in cost and qualityTo have a good idea about the quality cost and a small description regarding updated tests have a look at the Mental Measurements Yearbooks Standards for TestingGiven the widespread use of tests there is considerable potential for abuse of psychological testing o Attention has thus been devoted to the development and enforcement of professional and legal standards and guidelines for psychological testingThe American Psychological Association APA has taken a leading role in developing professional standards for testing o The most general document dealing with this is the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct whose preamble statepsychologists respect and protect human and civil rights and do not knowingly participate in or condone discriminately practicesThe body outlines the psychologists responsibility with regard to issues such as competence confidentiality and the welfare of consumers of psychological services o A more specific document is called the Standards for Educational and Psychological TestingThe different standards and guidelines deal with 2 interrelated issues o Technical standards are used to evaluate the psychometrics characteristics of a test o Standards for professional behaviour make it clear that psychologists are personally and professionally responsible for safeguarding the welfare of all consumers of psychological testingActual ethical problems depend on the context in which the test is given and used
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