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22 Apr 2012
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Chapter 1
The Consequences of Testing
We encounter many tests throughout life, even one at birth(Apgar test)
Apgar test determines need for medical attention, usually low scores on this test require
child to take developmental disability assessment during toddler stage
After graduation, adults also face many tests; job entry, drivers licence, security
clearance, etc.
Psychological test results change lives
Psychometrician is a specialist in psychology or education that develops and evaluates
psychological tests
Definition of a Test
Test is a standardized procedure for sampling behaviour and describing it with
categories or scores
Most test have norms and standards which by the results can be used to predict other
more important behaviour
Tests are varied in terms of format and applications but they do possess these features
o Standardized procedures
o Behaviour sample
o Scores or categories
o Norms or standards
o Prediction of nontest behaviour
Standardized procedure is an essential feature of any psychological test
A test is standardized if procedures for administrating it are uniform from one examiner
and setting to another
Even the best test can be useless if the tester doesn’t administer it properly, however
most examiner are competent
Formulation of directions essential step in the standardization of a test
To guarantee uniform administration procedures, test developer must 1) provide
comparable stimulus materials to all testers,2) specify oral instructions for each item or
subtest and 3) advise examiner how to handle wide range of queries from examinee
Psychological tests are limited samples of behaviour due to constraints (ex. time)
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Test items don’t need to resemble behaviour that the test is trying to predict, rather a
good test is that it permits the examiner to predict other behaviours
Psychological test must also permit derivation of scores or categories
Thorndike said, whatever exists at all exists in some amount
McCall said, anything that exists in amount can be measured
Psychological testing sums up performance in numbers or classifications
Assumption of psychometric viewpoint is that tests measure individual differences in
traits or characteristics, all people assumed to possess traits or characteristics but in
different amounts
Every test score will always reflect some sort of measurement error
Tests must rely on external sample of behaviour to estimate an unobservable and
therefore inferred characteristic
Psychometricians express fundamental point with the equation, X = T + e
X is observed score, T is true score, and e is a positive or negative error component
Test developers try to make e as small as possible, can never be completely eliminated
Consumers must be wary of reifying the characteristic being measured
Norm group is referred to as a standardization sample
Tests are not ends in themselves, ultimate purpose of a test is to predict additional
behaviours other than those directly sampled by the test
Further Distinctions in Testing
In a norm-referenced test, the performance of each examinee is interpreted in
reference to a relevant standardization sample
In a criterion-reference test, the objective is to determine where the examinee stands
with respect to very tightly defined educational objectives
Assessment refers to the entire process of compiling information about a person and
using it to make inferences about characteristics and to predict behaviour
The term assessment was invented during WW2 to describe a program to select men for
a secret service assignment
Types of Tests
Tests can be grouped into two, group test and individual tests
Group tests are pencil and paper measures to test a large number of people at the same
time
Individual tests are those that must be administered one on one
Advantage of individual test is that the examiner can gauge the level of motivation of
the subject and assess the relevance of other factors on the test results
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Tests can be sorted into 8 categories, see table 1.1
Each of the categories contains norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, individual and
group tests
Intelligence tests were originally designed to sample a broad assortment of skills in
order to estimate the individuals general intellectual level
Binet-Simon scales were successful, partly because they incorporated heterogeneous
tasks
Aptitude tests measure one or more clearly defined and relatively homogenous
segments of ability, often used to predict success in occupation, training course or
educational endeavour
They come in single aptitude tests and multiple aptitude test batteries
Achievement tests measure a person’s degree of learning, success, or accomplishments
in a subject matter
This test assumes that schools have taught the subject matter directly
The purpose of this test is to see how much an individual has absorbed
Creativity tests assess a subjects ability to produce new ideas, insights, or artistic
creations
Some psychometricians say creativity is another label for applied intelligence
Personality tests measure traits, qualities, or behaviours that determine a person’s
individuality
Interest inventories measure an individual’s preference for certain activities or topics
and thereby help determine occupational choice
Behavioural procedure assume that behaviour is best understood in terms of clearly
defined characteristics such as frequency, duration, antecedents, and consequences
Neuropsychological tests are used in the assessment of persons with known or
suspected brain dysfunction
A full neuropsychological assessment requires 3-8 hours of one on one testing with an
extensive battery of measures
Uses of Testing
Most common use of psychological testing it to make decisions about a person
Five uses of a test:
o Classification
o Diagnosis and treatment planning
o Self-knowledge
o Program evaluation
o Research
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