Assumptions about psychological testing and assessment

Category: Psychology

 

Assumptions About Psychological Testing and Assessment

In the unit introduction, you read about the influence that your history and previous experiences with tests may have on your perception of them at the start of this course. Remember to set aside these perceptions as you enter the course and learn about tests and their measurement. Remain cognizant of them as you proceed so they do not prevent you from learning about tests and, perhaps, change your mind, either way, about them. Additionally, in your readings from the Psychological Testing and Assessment text, you were introduced to seven basic assumptions about psychological assessment. Identify the one assumption that was the most difficult for you to accept based on your current understanding or previous experiences with testing.

In your post:

  • Identify the assumption by number and title that presented the most questions for you. (Include the number and title in your subject line of the discussion thread when you post it.) Also, include an indicator about how concerning the assumption is to you at this time (that is, 0 = No concern at all, just the most problematic relative to all other assumptions I am presented; 1 = Somewhat concerned with this assumption; 2 = Very concerned with this assumption; 3 = Significantly concerned and in disagreement with this assumption).
  • Identify specific parts or elements of the assumption that were most concerning to you.
  • Analyze if the assumption elements identified are based on (a) your previous experiences, (b) others’ perspectives, (c) facts, or (d) a combination of these.
  • Discuss why these elements were most concerning to you in terms of those previous experiences, perspectives, or facts. Essentially, share an example of those experiences or knowledge that resulted in your current concern.
  • Identify which future chapter in the Psychological Testing and Assessment text may be important and relevant for you, based on the assumption you identified. (Hint: Look through the Table of Contents or Index in your text for help.)

HERE IS THE EXAMPLE POST SHE GAVE US SO MAYBE THIS WILL HELP

 

SUBJECT LINE: Sample: 6 – Testing and Assessment Can Be Conducted in a Fair and Unbiased Manner

The assumption that most concerns me from the Cohen and Swerdlik (2018) text is the sixth assumption, which asserts that assessments can be conducted fairly and without bias. I rate the level of my concern as 2, or being very concerned with this assumption. As Cohen and Swerdlik (2018) noted, tests or assessments are tools wielded with a specific purpose. Even the best of tools can yield a poor result when used improperly or by the wrong person.

I believe my concerns regarding improper use of tests or assessments arise primarily from prior experience. If assessments are tools, they can be adopted by those without adequate training to use them. I recently attempted to change a light fixture in my daughter’s bedroom. While the screwdriver and circuit tester I had were of good quality, I still knocked out the electricity in half of my home and had to resort to calling a trained professional to fix the wiring that I messed up.

Of course, psychological assessments are different tools than those I used in attempting to change a light fixture. Assessments can, however, be used by people ill equipped to wield them. The potential damage of misusing psychological testing is arguably worse than the loss of electricity.

Years ago, my mother sought therapy in connection with childhood traumas. The psychologist performed some assessments, including the famed Rorschach ink blot test. He ultimately diagnosed her with multiple personalities, and she spent a small fortune on his services. It was later discovered that he had many patients with the same diagnosis, and I personally question the validity of her diagnosis and even the motivations of the therapist. While there may have been some cathartic value in discussing her trauma, she did not get the help she needed, and more harm than good was perhaps done.

There are many opportunities for psychological testing and assessments to be misused, calling into question if these tools can be used fairly and without bias. With the rise of telehealth and remote therapy, especially within the constraints of the COVID landscape, new challenges exist in ensuring fair and unbiased assessment. The element of observation is limited, for instance. To mitigate specific concerns with psychological assessment in remote settings, the American Psychological Association (APA) has issued guidance in such instances that include widening the intervals of confidence when making clinical decisions (Wright et al., 2020). While such guidance is undoubtedly useful, I wonder if it is enough.

I hope Chapter 11 will give me more knowledge about psychological assessments. Greater understanding of how these assessments are developed and used may allay some of my concerns regarding these tests being fair and unbiased. The chapter may also shed light on the selection of appropriate tests even in challenged environments.

References

Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2018). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Wright, A. J., Mihura, J. L., Pade, H., & McCord, D. M. (2020, April 3). Guidance on psychological tele-assessment during the COVID-19 crisis. American Psychological Association Services. https://www.apaservices.org/practice/reimbursement/health-codes/testing/tele-assessment-covid-19

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