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Chapter

CHPT 1.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100H1
Professor
M.Fournier

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CHPT 1: APPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF PSYCH TESTING
The common view of tests are the quantifying intelligence and detecting personality problems.
However test developers use tests in many diff ways
Consequences of testing: from birth to old age we have to take tests...
i.) apgar test (0-10): after birth they test for heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflexes and color. A
low score could mean that as a toddler they might have to go for a developmental disability assessment.
ii.) from preschool years to graduation you have to take tests for learning disabilities, vocational
interests, job entery, licences, brain dysfunction. Even the final indignity test, looks at their competency
to manage financial affairs.
- these tests shape a persons destiny thus can change lives.
- psychometrician: specialist in psych or education who develops/evaluates psych tests
Definition of a test:
- test: standardized procedure for sampling behavior and describing it with categories/scores. Ex/
checklist for rating social skills to determine mental retardation, a non-timed measure of adding 2/3
digit numbers, observing a person work on a group task with ppl who are uncooperative/obtrusive.
---They must all have these cateristics:
a.) standardized procedure- the procedures for administering the test are uniform from one examiner &
setting to another. This to some level depends on the competency of the examiner but mostly on the
administration instructions in the manual.
- uniformity of the instructions is established by giving the comparable stimulus materials to all testers
(i.e. precise oral instructions for each item/subtest, and advise the examiner how to handle a wide range
of queries from the examinee). Ex/ speed of instructions, and content in the test influence examinees
answers/scores.
b.) behavior sample: a psych test is a limited sample of behavior because its practically (time
constrained) impossible test all domains of a specific behavior. However tests must be designed so that
this small behavior sample can tell you alot about the persons specific behavior in general. Ex/ 35 words
on the WAIS-IV vocab test shud tell u about a persons general vocab
- test items don’t have to resemble the behaviors the test is attempting to predict. Ex/ how much water
a person drinks predicts depression
c.) scores/categories:
-Thorndike: whatever exists in amount can be measured. This allows someone to belong to one category
and not another, by summing up performance in numbers/classifications
-implicit assumption of the psychometric viewpt is that tests measure individual diffs in
traits/characteristics that exist. They estimate the amount of the trait/quality possessed by an individual
---2 cautions:
i.) every test score always reflects some degree of measurement error- every test relies on an external
sample of behavior to estimate an unobservable thus inferred characteristic.
-Psychometricians use this equation: X= T + e, where X is the observed score, T the true score and e the
+/- error component. The best test developer can make e really small but they cant eliminate it nor can
the exact impact be known in an individual case
ii.) test consumers must not take the results too serious as they this can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy.
And thus test consumers must not make the score a material thing. Ex/ A persons IQ has no real
materialistic existence but it is useful in predicting school outcomes.
d.) norms/standards

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- norms: summary of test results for a large and representative group of subjects. The norm group is the
standardization sample- they are representative of the population for whom the test the test is
intended to test. If norms are not provided the test is not useful unless its a criterion referenced test.
- norms establish the averafe performance and also indicate the frequency with which diff high/low
scores are obtained. Allows the tester to determine the degree to which a score deviates from
expectations which is useful in predicting non test behavior of the examinee.
e.) prediction of nontest behavior: the ability of a test to predict non-test behavior is determined by
validational research, mostly conducted after the test is released. However validational research is no
always done, thus years later someone might find the test is useless.
--Types of test:
1.) norm-referenced test: use well defined population of persons for interpretation. Most common test.
The performance of each examinee is interpreted in reference to a relevant standardization sample.
2.) Criterion-referenced test: measure what a person can do rather than comparing results to the
performance of others. Definition of test here differs slightly! Less common. The objective is to
determine where the examinee stands with respect to very tightly defined educational objectives.
Results can be meaningfully interpreted without reference to norms.
- However this depends heavily on the competency of the examiner.
**most test however the examiner is competent so it rests heavily on the
Difference between assessment and test:
-- assessment: refers to the entire process of compiling info about a person and using it to make
subjective inferences about characteristics & to predict behavior. [def: appraising or estimating the
magnitude of 1 or more attributes in a person].
- the term assessment was invented during WW2 when they were assessing men to be recruited into
the secret service, involved 4 days of written tests, interviews, real life situation tests (differentiate the
know-how & can-do) and personality tests.
-- test: represent only 1 source of info used in the assessment process.
Types of tests: 2 broad camps:
1.) Group test: usually pencil and paper that can be administered to a large group of ppl at the same
time.
2.) Individual test: instruments that are designed to be administered one on one. Benefit of this is that
the examiner can see the level of motivation of the subject and assess other factors (ie. Anxiety or
impulsiveness).
---8 categories of tests that can be seen in a broad sense (they each contain a norm-referenced,
criterion-ref, individual/group tests, and can be divided in many diff ways: typology vs. Typical response)
and a narrow sense (each test measures diff aspects of an individual).
1.) Intelligence test: measures an individuals ability in relatively global areas that help determine
potential for scholastic work or certain occupations. It yields an overall summary score based on results
from a heterogenous sample of items.
- Binet-Simon test: incorporated several heterogenous tasks including wrd definitions, memory for
designs, comprehension questions and spatial visualization tasks. So did the Army Alpha that had 8 diff
sections (practical judgement, info, arithmetic, and reasoning).
2.) Aptitude test: measure the capability for a relatively specific task or type of skill. Narrow form of
ability testing. 2 types: single aptitude test (appraises only 1 ability) and multiple aptitude tests batteries
(appraises a number of aptitudes).
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- used to predict success in an occupation, training course, or educational endeavor. Ex/ GRE:
3.) Achievement tests: measure a persons degree of learning, success, or accomplishment in a
subject/task. The implicit assumptions of these is that schools teach the material directly, and they
commonly have several subtests (reading, math, science).
- the diff btwn this and an aptitude test is in the matter of use, any test can be an achievement test if it
measures how much a subject absorbs whereas any test can be an aptitude test if it helps predict future
performance.
- sometimes 1 instrument can serve 2 purposes: an aptitude test to forecast future performance and an
achievement test to monitor past learning.
4.) Creativity tests: assess novel, original thinking and the capacity to find unusual or unexpected
solutions, especially for vaguely defined problems.
- educators liked divergent thinking (variety of answers to a complex problem) as opposed to convergent
thinking (single correct solution to a well defined problem).
- however some say creativity aka applied intelligence
5.) Interest inventories: measures an individuals preference for certain activities/topics & thereby help
determine occupational choice.
6.) Personality tests: measure the traits, qualities, or behaviors that determine a persons individuality;
and helps predict future behavior. Come in checklists, inventories, & projective techniques.
7.) Behavioral procedures: objectively describe/count the frequency of a behavior, identifying the
antecedents and consequences of the behavior. They tend to be highly pragmatic in that they are
combined with treatment approaches.
8.) Neuropsych test: measure cognitive, sensory, perceptual, and motor performance to determine the
extent, locus, and behavioral consequences of brain damage. A full neuropsych assessment requires 3-
8hours of 1-1 testing with an extensive battery of measures.
Uses of testing:
a.) make decisions about persons/programs: most common use. 5 distinctions:
i.) classification: procedures that involve assigning a person to 1 category rather than another. Many
different forms of classifications that ultimately lead to differential treatment...
1.) placement: sorting the persons into diff programs appropriate to their needs or skills
2.) screening: quick and simple tests/procedures to identify ppl with special characteristics/needs.
Psychometricians are advised to do follow up testing after screen tests to ensure misclassifications don’t
happen.
3.) certification/selection: pass/fail quality which can change privilege rights
ii.) Diagnosis and treatment planning:
- diagnosis: 2 interwined tasks, determing the nature/source of a persons abnormal behavior and
classifying the behavior pattern within an accepted diagnostic system. This usually guides treatments.
- a diagnosis is more than giving a label, a proper diagnosis conveys info about strengths, weakness,
etiology, and best treatment choices.
iii.) self knowledge: not every instance of psych testing provides self knowledge
iv.) Program evaluation: Ex/ Project Head Start: federally funded that supports nationwide pre school
teaching projects for underprivileged children. Using psych tests they found that children show
immediate gains in IQ but they dissipate in the long run.
v.) Research: ex/ Needleman: using an array of testing found that low level lead absorption causes
decrements in IQ, RT impairments, and undesirable classroom behaviors.
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