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Psychology Essay

859 words - 4 pages

Anastasi and Urbina (1997) note that all psychological tests are tools that can be beneficial or harmful depending upon how they are applied to people and situations. Their first chapter cogently explores all of the contributing reasons to their assertions about both positions.
Basically, there are several elements that determine the quality and suitability of a psychological test’s ability to be a good predictor of one’s behavior. First, the test should be an objective and standardized measure of a small sample of an individual’s behavior, such as intellectual skills, vocational suitability, or personality functioning. Implicit to these parameters are the concepts of reliability ...view middle of the document...

This would encompass dealing with an adult’s anxiety or eliciting the best performance from an overactive child. In addition, the examiner must know when to focus and describe a process of behavior that may be interfering with the person’s approach to a success. Finally, the skilled examiner knows what tests to choose depending upon the situation and the referral question. For example, a skilled examiner would not choose a test that required a deaf person to listen to a recording of single words so they could repeat them back to the examiner.
For all of the elements described above that would contribute to good, valid and reliable test results, one can readily see that a breakdown in any of them could do harm. Choosing tests that are not reliable, valid or standardized to examine a given behavior would be a meaningless endeavor that could erroneously describe a person’s skills or emotions. Unskilled examiners may choose the wrong tests to administer, or they may not manage anxiety or overactive behavior of the examinee in the testing situation. In addition, they may not explain how these elements impacted the person’s performance, taking the person’s performance at face value without looking at the whole person. Each of these elements could render the test results as invalid and unreliable.
In the past, psychological testing has been criticized for doing more harm than good in terms of bias test results that undermine a person’s chances at a job, or wrongly classifying them as having learning or emotional challenges. Thus, testing was viewed as a negative endeavor with minimal prescriptive value (Gottfredson &...

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