The reliability, validity, as well as the utility of psychological testing and assessments can be argued on the basis of the correct choice of the right test or assessment tool. With in mind that psychological assessment and testing are a series of tests processes that employs the use of several techniques to help in the arrival of particular information regarding one’s behavior, the choice of a psychology test or assessment should be a well guided process as one of the means of ensuring that accurate information relating to the intended hypotheses are arrived at. In this regards, there exists several resources that can be used by counselors in selecting psychological tests and assessments.
The most widely used, and perhaps the most commonly used resources used by counselors while selecting psychological assessments and tests are books. The availability of a plethora of books written by different authors on various topics makes them indispensable resources that can offer guidance during the selection of a psychological test or assessment tool. Professedly, in existence are several books talking about various types of psychological assessment and tests. The Practice Central organization categorizes the books into several assorts inclusive of general resource books, treatment planning books (that also encompass therapeutic assessment books) and Multicultural Assessment (that also include books talking about other diversity issues).
General books, when looked at keenly, encompass books that talk about the general issues pertaining to psychological testing and assessment, fallacies and myths about psychological testing and assessment, and case studies relating to psychological assessment, just mention but a few. For instance, the book Gary Groth-Marnat that is titled Handbook of Psychological Assessment talks about the principles assessment besides offering general information about the most commonly used psychological testing and assessments methods. Also in the same category, according to the Practice Central organization is a book Lorraine D. Eyde, Gary J. Robertson and Samuel E. Krug titled Responsible Test Use: Case Studies for Assessing Human Behavior, which samples several cases that are by all means utilitarian is the helping a counselor with the choice is the right psychological test and assessment. Notably the above mentioned books are just but a representation of the various types of books that can be utile in helping one settle on the right assessment tool or test. Additionally, it of worth to note that the categorization offered by the Practice Central organization is not the standard method of categorizing resource books for psychological assessment and test; the overriding idea here is that these are books that can be used by one to make a choice of the best psychological assessment and test. In the same light, there are several online resources and journals that, just like books, can be useful resources with regards to psychological testing and assessment.
Even though several resources that can help a counselor in choosing a psychological test and assessment are in existence, there are other authoritative issues that should be taken into consideration while making the choices. This statement underscores that fact that any chosen method should have the ability to provide the counselor with the correct information upon which the counselor can base the conclusions of the psychological test. One such pertinent issue is reliability. In its basic form, reliability can be termed as the ability of a test to produce concurring results when repeated (Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2009). This means that if a test is re-administered in the same subject, the result obtained should match the initial results, and in a similar manner, if the test is administered to another client with the same condition as the initial subject, the results obtained should have some degree of concurrence with the results obtained when the test was administered to the initial subject. A psychological test that lacks reliability should not be chosen by a counselor. Weiten, Dunn & Hammer (2009) are keen to note that psychological tests are always not perfectly reliable as they always do not yield the same exact score when repeated. With regards the eminent inconsistency that is typic of psychological tests, it becomes a matter of importance for one to exercise some shrewdness before ruling out the possibility of using a given psychological test.
Closely related to reliability is validity, which according to Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, (2009) implies the ability of a psychological test measure what it is intended to measure. Difference psychological tests are designed for varied psychological measurements. Therefore, the psychological test chosen by a counselor should have the ability to measure what the counselor wants to measure. There are several type of validity; face validity, construct validity, criterion validity, convergent validity and discriminant validity, should all be taken into consideration. For instance, while a counselor is judging a test on the basis of convergent validity, the counselor should strive to assert whether the test yield similar results as other tests meant for the same psychological measurement. It is worthy of noting that validity is in most cases affected by reliability.
Standardization is yet another salient issue that should be put into consideration while picking a psychological test. For most psychological measurements, there is always need to have a conditioned setup to enable the person carrying out the test to able to note the difference in score between that subject and the conditioned setup (normally called the control). Again, there are various conditions under which different psychological tests should be performed. The counselor should be, therefore, informed about the conditions under which the chosen psychological test should be carried out. On the same note, the counselor should have basic knowledge about the chose test; it is illogical for one to settle on a test that he or she is not proficiently conversant with. Furthermore, the test should not be one that provides scores that have a likelihood of being misinterpreted by the counselor because of the counselor’s prejudices, attitude and also mood; this aspect of a test is conventionally referred to as objectivity.
Just like the four issues discussed above, determination of the appropriate test for a client is also a crucial facet in the administration of psychological tests. As mentioned earlier, there are several resources that provide information about the various psychological tests that are in existence. For one intending to choose the right test for a client, one should consult the resources talking about the usage of the test. Once a test has been chosen, once should make an effort of reading more detailed entries about the tests. In the process, one always learns about similar tests that might be used for the same purpose. There is always a need for one to assess the condition of the client before starting to look of the appropriate test.
Eyde, L. D., Robertson, G. J., & Krug, S. E. (2010). Responsible Test Use: Case Studies for Assessing Human Behavior. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Hersen, M., & Hilsenroth, M. J. (2004). Personality Assessment. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Practice Central Organization. (n.d.). Practitioner’s Bookshelf Psychological Assessment, Part I. Practice Central . Retrieved January 23, 2013, from http://www.apapracticecentral.org/update/2011/01-13/bookshelf.aspx
Weiten, W. Dunn, D. S., & Hammer, E. Y. (2009). Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the 21st century. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.