Introduction to Psychological Testing

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Introduction to Psychological Testing

Sandra Lattin


Dan Riner

University of Phoenix

Introduction to Psychological Testing

The field of psychological testing revolves around one basic principle: the understanding, application and analysis of tests. When a person thinks of tests, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the education-based definition of a test, which is a "tool used to systematically obtain a sample of what a student knows or can do" (Madaus, Russell, and Higgins, 2009). However, testing covers a wide range of tools that can be used to find a host of information. Specific to psychological testing, a test is used for one of four major types of assessments: mental ability, achievement, personality and neuropsychology testing. These are the types of tests that are studied by psychologists interested in how assessments can be used to obtain information.

Mental ability tests are used to gauge cognitive functions, such as memory, spatial visualization, and creative thinking (Hogan, 2002). These tests are usually used to assess levels of intelligence. However, there are non-intelligence-based mental ability tests as well. The three forms of mental ability tests most widely used and administered are the individually administered intelligence tests, the group administered intelligence tests and other ability tests.

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale provides a worthy example of an individually administered intelligence test, where a person will sit with a trained psychologist, who administers a test that will help evaluate that person's mental abilities. Group administered intelligence tests like the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test are taken in a group setting. The OLSAT is administered to a group of students and is used to judge a student's abilities in regards to certain subjects that involve mental ability. The Scholastic Assessment Test is one of...