Psychological Testing in Clinical, Educational and Business Setting

Introduction

Psychological testing involves the use of various tests to determine and measure the behavior of a person. The behavior of the person is compared to a set of behavior or test score that was set beforehand (Groth-Marnat, 2009). There are various components of testing which include observations, interviews, and norm-referenced tests. These tests are used to measure various constructs in psychological testing. The constructs include personality, aptitude, decision making, and intelligence. Psychological testing is done in various fields, and in these fields, it tests different things depending on the requirements of each field. The fields to be discussed in this essay are the clinical, educational and business fields.

Testing in Clinical Setting

Testing in this setting includes gathering information about a person so that decisions can be made about this person based on the information given so that they can get proper advice and treatment.  In a clinical setting, testing is conducted on patients for various reasons. The psychologist may want to determine the problem of the patient, the resources available to the patient that would be used to solve the problem, and the people related to the patient who can assist the patient in solving the problem (Zeepedia, 2016). Testing can also help in determining the issues in a patient’s life that are causing the problem and the expected future behavior of the patient.

Clinical psychologists are highly trained so that they can appropriately handle patients as they test them and also to know the appropriate questions to ask and how to ask them. Testing in this field is different from other settings because its main purpose is to solve a patient’s problem and not to measure the ability of a person to perform a given task. Testing in this setting follows various steps. First, the psychologist has to come up with the questions that they are going to ask the patient and also determine how to ask the questions. That is whether it will be a face to face interview or a written interview.

Secondly, the psychologist has to set some goals that need to be achieved by the end of the testing.  The goals of clinical testing may include a diagnosis where the psychologist is supposed to identify the problem of the patient. Another goal is to determine the severity of a problem. Screening is also another goal where clinical psychologists determine the possibility of occurrence of a problem in certain groups of people (Zeepedia, 2016). Clinical testing can also be used to make predictions, that is, the expected behavior of a patient in the future.

The third step involves identifying how the information collected from the patient will be interpreted. In this step, the normative sample might not always be other people. It might be a comparison between the patient’s past records and the present records which can determine if the condition of the patient is improving or worsening. Fourth, the needed information is collected from the patient, and it is recorded appropriately. The collection of information may involve interviews, reviews on medical records of the patient, reports from other people who are close to the patient, and observation of the behavior of a patient in a natural environment or simulated conditions.

The firth step is the analysis of the information collected, and conclusions are made about the patient (Zeepedia, 2016). These conclusions are based on the goal that was set for the test. The conclusions made affect someone’s life and therefore making decisions in this setting is complex. These conclusions are then communicated to the relevant people through a psychological report.

Testing in Educational Setting

Testing in an educational setting is different from other settings because of various reasons. One of them is the population involved where testing in this setting involves teachers and students. The procedures involved are mostly consultation and instruction. In this setting, the assessment is mostly done to determine student learning and academic achievements, the appropriate academic interventions in schools and the best way to implement the interventions (Groth-Marnat, 2009). Teachers and school administrators have unanimously agreed that psychological assessment is advantageous to students in achieving success in the school.

Teachers have realized that students have different emotional, behavioral and psychological difficulties that need to be determined and solved to ensure that students are successful in their education. Testing helps in identification of these difficulties which help teachers help the students depending on the difficulties that the student has (Bowles and others, 2016). In the educational testing, various constructs are measured through testing such as intelligence, personality and the ability to make decisions and these constructs determine the performance of a student. Intelligence tests are used to measure the learning potential of a student.

The intelligence tests are used to determine the abstract reasoning, vocabulary, verbal comprehension and numerical ability of a student (Groth-Marnat, 2009). These help in predicting the achievement of a student’s educational performance in the future in given subject areas since these tests have good predictive validity. This means that this technique can measure what it is intended to measure that is predicting the future behavior of a student. In this setting, the intelligence tests are combined with the academic performance of students to guide in making career choices (Bowles and others, 2016). Intelligence tests are also used when determining which students to award scholarships. In some cases, teachers may suspect learning difficulties and they can use intelligence tests to carry out a diagnostic assessment.

Another test that is used in an educational setting is the achievement tests. These tests are standardized and validated, and an example is the Progressive Achievement Tests. This test is mainly used in an education setting to measure a student’s performance in comprehension, mathematics, and vocabulary. This test is usually a norm-referenced test where students tested are compared to other students who have been tested beforehand (Bowles and others, 2016). These results of these tests are used in determining which students need to be given supplementary work or attend extension classes and in which field that is whether in comprehension, vocabulary or mathematics.

Conclusively, tests in the educational setting are important in four areas. One, the norm-referenced tests help in determining the strengths and weaknesses of students and hence work at improving their performance (Groth-Marnat, 2009). The second one is that the tests are used to monitor progress where teachers can determine whether a student’s performance in a given area is improving or declining. These tests are also used in grouping students so that the teachers can help these groups depending on their problems. Lastly, these tests can help in determining a given disability in a student hence helps in formulating an individualized lesson plan.

Testing in a Business Setting

Testing in a business setting is mostly conducted when hiring new employees. This is because employee turnover should be kept at the minimum and therefore the human resource department of every organization wants to ensure that they hire suitable individuals for the job positions available in the organization. Some organizations also conduct psychological tests on its employees to measure their continued suitability for the position that they occupy (Fogarty, 2000). The tests in the business setting are used to determine the intelligence, personality and general aptitude of an individual.

There are various standardized tests that are used in the business field. An example is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is a personality test that is used by both public and private organizations. This test measures four characteristics of a person. First, it measures a person’s energy source. The source can either be the natural environment or from within the person that is from their own emotions or ideas (Fogarty, 2000). The second involves the ability of an employee to pay attention to their intuition or sensory information.

The third scale determines how a person makes decisions, that is, whether they base their decisions on personal values or they use reasoning and logic. Another scale measures how an employee carries out their daily activities. This determines whether they are organized or spontaneous. The conclusions from this tests help in determining the right job for an employee and also when faced with many individuals, a decision can be made on the most appropriate candidate for the position (Fogarty, 2000).

Another example of a standardized test used in the business setting is the International Personality Item Pool Test. This test has five categories that also measure the personality and attitude of a person. These categories also have sub-categories that make the test more precise. The first category is extraversion which determines the level at which a person seeks the company of others. It studies the friendliness, social activity level, and engagement of a person.

Another category measures agreeableness. This shows the ability of a person to cooperate with others and to trust other people. The third category is conscientiousness which tests the competence of a person. This also determines a person’s self-discipline and their drive towards making an achievement. Neuroticism is tested in the fourth category, and this entails the reactions and emotions towards other people’s actions and opinions (Groth-Marnat, 2009).

The fifth category determines the openness of an individual that is, how willing they are to accept new ideas, challenges, and experiences. In the business setting other tests that are conducted include honesty tests, self-assessment tests, customized specialty tests, and effectiveness tests. All the tests in the business setting ensure suitability of a person and their job position and also monitor the performance of a person in a given position.

Conclusion

Psychological testing or assessment is utilized in different fields to answer questions about people depending on the field in question. Some of the fields where psychological testing is useful are in the clinical, educational and business setting. In the clinical setting, testing is used to determine the problem of an individual and its severity. In the educational setting, tests are used to determine the student’s strengths and weakness and therefore it can be used to improve and deal with the weaknesses of the students. In the business field, testing ensures that the right people are employed in an organization and also monitors the performance of an employee in an organization. This shows that in all the three fields psychological testing is important despite being used in different ways and for different purposes.

References

Bowles, T., Scull, J., Hattie, J., Clinton, J., Larkins, G., Cicconi, V., Kumar, D., & Arnup, J. L. (2016). Conducting psychological assessments in schools: Adapting for converging skills and expanding knowledge. Issues in Educational Research, 26(1), 10.

Braden, J. P. (2013). Psychological assessment in school settings. John R. Graham, 261.

Fogarty, G. J. (2000). Principles and applications of educational and psychological testing. Department of Psychology. University of Southern Queensland.

Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment. John Wiley & Sons.

Zeepedia. (2016). THE CONCEPT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY. retrieved from: http://www.zeepedia.com/read.php?the_concept_of_psychological_assessment_in_clinical_psychology_clinical_psychology&b=84&c=15

 

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