Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Introduction to Psychological Testing

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The history of personality and intelligence testing, dates to the beginning World War II. In psychology, clinicians use psychological tests as a tool to help aid in identifying important information in regard to the behaviors of an individual or a group. There is a major difference between regular testing and testing used for psychological purposes. There are various tests that can be administered to determine specific abilities or identify the characteristics of an individual.

This paper will define the term “test”, describe the major categories of tests, and identify the major uses and users of these tests. Also this paper will also discuss the comparison and contrast the concepts of reliability and validity and explain how they affect psychological testing. Test According to Hogan, a test is a standardized process used to provide information about specific behaviors or cognitive process through standardized procedures. Psychological tests are a battery of tests that evaluate and measure functions of emotions and behaviors in human beings.

The test batteries are composed of interviews, and assessments that focus on specific areas such as learning, memory, attention, and academic capabilities. Tests can be conducted in various ways such as verbal, visual, oral, and written assessments or evaluation. Information gathered from standardized tests are useful and effective because they categorize specific behaviors with scores and provide results, which are reliable and valid. Psychological testing can be performed by licensed professionals; such as clinical psychologists, counseling, and school psychologist.

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Major categories of tests, Uses and Users Psychological tests provide a platform for providing information and insight, which helps to gain a better understanding of human behaviors. There different types of tests are used to measure various contexts of specific areas of behavior. According to Chadha, Psychological tests are grouped into several categories, which include personality, mental ability, attitude, achievement, and neuropsychological tests. These test can be administered to an individual alone or to a group of people.

According to Hogan intelligence test focuses on various functions of the individual who measures potential and basic ability, such as memory, cognitive functions, thinking skill, and visualization. Two of the most popular intelligence test are the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler Intelligence Tests. Achievement and aptitude tests are commonly used in educational or employment settings. Educators and employers use these tests to identify how much an individual knows about a certain topic, such as academic subject or employment position.

Educators use achievement tests to identify and compare abilities of students, while employers use these tests to identify talents, interests, and special skills (2008). According to Hogan, personality tests are commonly used in research and forensic settings to assist with providing a clinical diagnosis by measuring personality styles. Personality test is set up in two, formats. The first consists of yes or no questions and the second questions are true or false.

According to Hogan, interests and attitudes are mainly used for high school and college students to identify interests related to job fields. The most common test used to measure and identify vocational interests is the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) or the Kuder Career Search (Hogan, 2007). The last category of testing is the neuropsychological tests. These types of test focus cognitive abilities as related to brain functions such as thinking, reasoning, memory and motor coordination.

According to Hogan, uses and users of psychological tests include clinical, educational, personnel, and research settings. Clinical settings such as counseling and psychology use testing to identify the nature or severity of a specific problem or a behavior. The testing results are used to develop treatment plans used to carry out interventions for therapeutic application. According to Hogan, educators use assessment as a tool for assessing levels of student learning and abilities in efforts to help the student improve.

Another major user of psychological testing are businesses. Personnel and employment testing according to Hogan, was developed to identify and select the best candidates for employment positions. Employers also use testing to conduct performance and promotion evaluations. The last use of testing involves research. According to Hogan researchers use testing as a viable part of research studies because they are replicable and provide reliable information that useful and valid.

Compare and Contrast Reliability and Validity Test reliability and validity are very important concept of testing. These tools used to measure the data that has been collected for the test to determine if the results are sustainable and effective. According to Hogan reliability is meant to be consistent and dependable. A reliable test provides the same scores continuously for an individual. Test reliability relies on specific criteria to determine the quality and accuracy of psychological measurements (Chadha, 2009).

To determine reliability there are five methods that can be used to estimate test scores. These methods identify the proportion of the score, which may include error variances. Although these methods are used to determine reliability and identify errors there various factors, which can affect the results of the reliability of a test. Test validity is an important aspect of test evaluations. The validity of the tests focuses on specific criteria used to ensure that testing concept meets requirements and professional standards of scientific research methods.

There are two common methods used to test validity, the first is criterion validity and content validity. According to Chadha, content validity focuses on the selection of items for ability and achievement test; judgments are used to identify the usefulness or application of the test. Criterion validity according to Chadha, focuses on the ability of test score used to observe behaviors or other information gathered from the test. Reliability and validity test the same aspects of a test but in a different manner.

Reliability is more focused on the stability of a test score and validity evaluates this information based on specific criteria (Chadha, 2009). Conclusion In conclusion psychological testing is used to provide, identify, and measure characteristics, abilities and the behaviors of an individual or a group. There various types of testing be used in several contexts, which provide valuable information to the test examine. Several fields or professions rely on testing to provide information that can be used for purposes of assessments, treatment, learning, and identifying needs. Reliability and alidity methods are used to ensure that the information received from testing is effective and properly used for the purpose intended.


  1. Chadha, N. K. (2009). Introduction to psychological testing. In Applied psychometry. (pp. 71-87). New Delhi: SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd. doi: 10. 4135/9788132108221. n5
  2. Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction (2nd ed. ).
  3. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. psychological test. (2008). In The Columbia Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/entry/columency/psychological_test
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