There comes a time when we all come across a specific test such as school tests, driving test, or even as simple as food tasting test. However, there is a difference between regular tests and testing’s when referring to psychological testing. There are several different psychological tests that many psychiatrists, psychologists, and school counselors use to determine certain abilities, however each of the tests are used for a specific purpose.
It is vital for the individuals to contain high knowledge of the tests before applying it to others. Defining “Test” According to the medical dictionary, psychological tests are defined as written, visual and verbal evaluations administered to assess the cognitive and emotional functions of children and adults (Psychological Tests, 2012).
The purpose for psychological testing is to determine the mental abilities, personality traits, achievements and abilities, and neurological functioning.
Although, we all have a basic idea of what the definition of “test” is, however according to (Hogan, 2007), they developed six-element to define “test”: A test is a standardized process or device that yields information about a sample of behavior or cognitive processes in a quantified manner (Hogan, 2007).
Major Categories of Tests There are five major categories of tests that are applied by trained professionals in the field of psychology.
The five major categories are mental ability tests, achievement tests, personality tests, interests and attitudes tests, and neuropsychological tests (Hogan, 2007).
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The mental ability test is applied to test the cognitive functions, such as memory, spatial visualization, and creative thinking (Hogan, 2007).
Within the category of mental ability tests, it is separated into other categories of tests that may also be applied such as; individual administered intelligence tests, group administered tests, along with several other ability tests.
Second, the achievement tests are created to help determine the placements of students in school based on their knowledge and skills. Achievement tests are subdivides in to batteries, single subject, and certification and licensing, government sponsored programs, and individual assessment tests (Hogan, 2007).
Third of the major category tests is the personality tests, with this test professionals are able to determine the reasoning of the human personality. Within this category it is also alienated into other subdivisions such as objective tests and projective techniques (Hogan, 2007).
Next is the interest and attitudes tests, these tests are put together to help individuals maintain focus on a specific subject of interests either if it is in school or in a job placement. This category is subdivided by vocational interests and attitude scales (Hogan, 2007).
Lastly, the neuropsychological tests, the main purpose of this test is to illustrate information of the functioning of the central nervous system, mainly focusing on the information coming from the human brain (Hogan, 2007).
Uses and Users Just as all psychological tests are categorized, not all tests are applied for the same use and the same users.
Each test is done by a trained or professional to determine what is the situation based on the results and to see what treatment is best for the individual. There are four major psychological tests users are clinical, educational, personal and research (Hogan, 2007).
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Clinical users are professionals in the psychology field of clinical psychology, counseling, school psychology and neuropsychology. Psychologists use several methods of tests to identify the nature and severity of the problem, and perhaps provide some suggestions on how to deal with the problem (Hogan, 2007).
The users of educational settings are teachers, educational administrators, parents and the general public. The major use of educational settings is to establish the ability and achievements of an individual. Another reason that users use educational is to predict the success in academic work (Hogan, 2007).
Next, the users that use personal tests as there usage are business and military. Psychological test are used by these users to acquire the right individual for the task or to fill a position in job placements (Hogan, 2007).
The last test use and users is research, the users in this category are varied and it is used to test the education and other social/behavioral sciences (Hogan, 2007).
Reliability and Validity According to research reliability is best defined as, is the test is reliable if it produces the same results over and over again, when measuring the same thing. As to validity, it is defined as, a test is valid if it measures what you think it measures, as determined by some independent way of measuring the same thing (Dewey, 2007).
It is important to psychologists to understand not to use the wrong test for a different purpose than what the actual purpose was. Then the validity of the measurements of the test scores is not reliable. Conclusion To summarize, psychological tests are being used by many users to acquire adequate results of an individual either if it is for school, careers, or just a personal socialization. Also, as research continues to advance more tests will continue to be implemented to better help others and to have a better result on the treatment that is to be used by the users.