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PSYC*3250 Ch 3.pdf

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PSYC 3250
Deborah Powell

Thursday, October 4, 2012 Chapter 3: Testing and Society - a variety of societal concerns have affected the development, assessment and use of a variety of psychological tests - most of the controversy over the relationship between testing and society has arisen in educational and industrial settings and less on clinical Types of Decisions - the decision may be: (1) individual or institutional and (2) comparative or absolute Individual Versus Institutional Decisions - a distinction must be made between the decisions made by the person who takes the test compared with those made by the institution that administers the test - in individual decisions, tests can be used to counsel or advise the examinee, they usually have some influence on the actions or decisions of the examine - 2 societal concerns are raised in the context of individual decisions: 1. A concern that psychological tests might have an undue impact on the individual 2. Tests might change the decision or actions of individuals, and these changes are not always beneficial - the debate over the societal consequences of psychological tests has focused for the most part on institutional decisions - these decisions concern admission, advancement of students, personnel selection, placement in training programs and evaluation of job performance - 2 related issues dominate the controversy over the impact of psychological tests on institutional decisions: 1. The accuracy of the decisions 2. The fairness of the decisions Comparative Versus Absolute Decisions - comparative = comparing 2 or more people, actions, objects, options etc - absolute = assessing a single person, option, action or object - personnel selective is comparative (require less information) - absolute decisions require more precise measurement - most of the controversy over the societal impact of psychological testing centers around comparative decisions made by institutions, especially decisions involving educational admission, personnel selection and promotions Societal Concerns - there are a wide range of topics and issues: the impact of ability testing on society, the extent to which tests invade privacy dn. the fair use of tests Ability Testing - the deriving issue in this debate has been the existence and meaning of racial-based, ethnic-based and gender-based differences in test scores Thursday, October 4, 2012 - the use of tests for academic admissions as the sole basis for making selection decisions will result in racial segregation since blacks and hispanics score lower - 4 specific issues seem especially importantL whether score differences reflect real ability difference, whether differences in ability are large enough to matter, whether tests help or hurt minorities and whether we should emphasize equity or efficiency Are the Differences Real? - the differences may be due to bias in the tests (no, not by itself) - differences in tests scores may reflect real differences in ability (yes) Are the Differences Large? - are they large enough to be important? - may be so small that they are of little consequence - comparing between-group variability (differences in the mean scores for white as compared with minority examinees) is usually smaller than the within-group variability Do Tests Help or Hurt? - tests may create artificial barriers to equal employment, equal access to schools - tests provide opportunities for talented members of underrepresented/disadvantaged groups to demonstrate their abilities - without them they wouldnʼt get ahead Efficiency Versus Equity - research has established that the use of psychological tests to help make decisions about people generally improves the quality of these decisions - tests generally contribute to the efficiency of the workforce - on the other hand, the use of ability tests in making decisions may exclude many minority applicants from a particular job - efficiency and equity are measured on very different scales so different people have very different ideas as to how they 2 concepts should be balanced - debates over ability testing often boil down to differences in values that people place
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