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PSYC37H3 (159)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1A.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anthony Ruocco

Psychological Assessment - Chapter 1A; The Nature and Uses of Psychological Testing The Consequences of Testing  The baby’s first test conducted immediately after birth is the Apgar test, a quick, multivariate assessment of heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color.  total Apgar score (0 to 10) helps determine the need for any immediate medical attention.  a toddler who previously received a low Apgar score might be a candidate for developmental disability assessment  psychometrician is a specialist in psychology or education who develops and evaluates psychological tests. Definition of a Test  test is a standardized procedure for sampling behavior and describing it with categories or scores  most tests have norms or standards by which the results can be used to predict other, more important behaviors.  most tests  possess these defining features: ● Standardized procedure ● Behavior sample ● Scores or categories ● Norms or standards ● Prediction of nontest behavior  norm-referenced tests—tests that use a well-defined population of persons for their interpretive framework  criterion-referenced tests—tests that measure what a person can do rather than comparing results to the performance levels of others  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, therefore, rests largely on the directions for administration found in the instructional manual that typically accompanies a test.  In order to guarantee uniform administration procedures, the test developer must provide comparable stimulus materials to all testers, specify with considerable precision the oral instructions for each item or subtest, and advise the examiner how to handle a wide range of queries from the examinee  digit span—the maximum number of orally presented digits a subject can recall from memory  A psychological test is also a limited sample of behavior. Neither the subject nor the examiner has sufficient time for truly comprehensive testing  The essential characteristic of a good test is that it permits the examiner to predict other behaviors  A psychological test must also permit the derivation of scores or categories  Testing strives to be a form of measurement akin to procedures in the physical sciences whereby numbers represent abstract dimensions such as weight or temperature 1 Psychological Assessment - Chapter 1A; The Nature and Uses of Psychological Testing  psychological testing sums up performance in numbers or classifications.  tests measure individual differences in traits or characteristics that exist in some vague sense of the word  purpose of the testing is to estimate the amount of the trait or quality possessed by an individual.  every test score will always reflect some degree of measurement error  Tests must rely on an external sample of behavior to estimate an unobservable and, therefore, inferred characteristic.  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  best thing is to make the e very small, it can never be completely eliminated  test consumers must be wary of reifying the characteristic being measured. Test results do not represent a thing with physical reality  they portray an abstraction that has been shown to be useful in predicting nontest behaviors  An examinee’s test score is usually interpreted by comparing it with the scores obtained by others on the same test  For this purpose, test developers typically provide norms—a summary of test results for a large and representative group of subjects  The norm group is referred to as the standardization sample and must be representative of the population for whom the test is intended or else it is not possible to determine an examinee’s relative standing  norms indicate the frequency with which different high and low scores are obtained - norms allow the tester to determine the degree to which a score deviates from expectations  the ultimate purpose of a test is to predict additional behaviors, other than those directly sampled by the test Further Distinctions in Testing  In a criterion-referenced test, the objective is to determine where the examinee stands with respect to very tightly defined educational objectives  unlike norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests can be meaningfully interpreted without reference to norms  Assessment is a more comprehensive term, referring to the entire process of compiling information about a person and using it to make inferences about characteristics and to predict behavior  Assessment can be defined as appraising or estimating the magnitude of one or more attributes in a person  assessment of human characteristics involves observations, interviews, checklists, inventories, projectives  In assessment, the examiner must compare and combine data from different sources. 2 Psychological Assessment - Chapter 1A; The Nature and Uses of Psychological Testing Types of Tests  Group tests are largely pencil-and-paper measures suitable to the testing of large groups of persons at the same time  Individual tests are instruments that by their design and purpose must be administered one on one  advantage of individual tests is that the examiner can gauge the level of motivation of the subject and assess the relevance of other factors (e.g., impulsiveness or anxiety) on the test results  Intelligence tests were originally designed to sample a broad assortment of skills in order to estimate the individual’s general intellectual level  The Binet-Simon scales were successful, because they incorporated heterogeneous tasks, including word definitions, memory for designs, comprehension questions, and spatial visualization tasks.  the term intelligence test refers to a test that yields an overall summary score based on results from a heterogeneous sample of items  Aptitude tests measure one or more clearly defined and relatively homogeneous segments of ability  A single aptitude test appraises, obviously, only one ability, whereas a multiple aptitude test battery provides a profile of scores for a number of aptitudes  Aptitude tests are often used to predict success in an occupation, training course, or educational endeavor  Specialized aptitude tests also exist for the assessment of clerical skills, mechanical abilities, manual dexterity, and artistic ability  Achievement tests measure a person’s degree of learning, success, or accomplishment in a subject matter 3 Psychological Assessment - Chapter 1A; The Nature and Uses of Psychological Testing  The purpose of the test is then to determine how much of the material the subject has absorbed or mastered  The distinction between aptitude and achievement tests i
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