PSYC37H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Psychometrics, Apgar Score, Psychological Testing

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20 Apr 2012
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Chapter 1- Applications and Consequences of Psychological Testing
Measures of personality and intelligence are still the essential mainstays of psychological
testing
However, modern test developers have produced many other kinds of tests for diverse and
imaginative purposes that even the early pioneers of testing could not have anticipated
THE CONSEQUENCES OF TESTING
The baby’s first test conducted immediately after birth is the Apgar test (0-10 scale), a
quick, multivariate assessment of heart rate, respiration, muscle tons, reflex irritability, and
colour
Tests are used in almost every nation on earth for counselling, selection, and placement
Psychological test results alter individual destiny in profound ways
A psychometrician is a specialist in psychology or education who develops and evaluates
psychological tests
DEFINITION OF A TEST
A test is a standardized procedure for sampling behaviour and describing it with categories
or scores
In sum, tests are enormously varied in their formats and applications. Nonetheless, most
tests possesss these defining features:
Standardized procedure
Behaviour sample
Scores or categories
Norms or standards
Prediction of nontest behaviour
Standardized procedure is an essential feature of any psychological test
A test is considered to be standardized if the procedures for administering it are
uniform from one examiner and setting to another
Standardization rests largely on the directions for administration found in the
instructional manual that typically accompanies a test
The essential characteristics of a good test is that it permits the examiner to predict
other behaviours- not that it mirrors the to-be-predicted behaviours.
If answering ‘true’ to the question ‘ I drink a lot of water’ happens to help predict
depression, then this seemingly unrelated question is a useful index of depression
Every test score will always reflect some degree of measurement error
Tests must rely on an external sample of behaviour to estimate an unobservable and
therefore inferred characteristics. Psychometricians often express this fundamental point
with an equation: X= T + e where X is the observed score, T is the true score, and e is a
positive or negative error component.
The best a test developer can do is make e very small. It can never be completely
eliminated, nor can its exact impact be known in the individual case
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