10 Commandments of Psychological Testing


Psychologists take the process of evaluating persons seriously. Whether for work, educational, diagnostic or clinical applications, it is essential that the right tests are used in the right way.

The need to adhere to recommended practice in psychological testing was recently highlighted in an article by Dr Bruce Leckart in the WETC Psychological Newletter, titled “The ten commandments of psychological testing.”  This article is written from the perspective of medical measurement. It’s interesting to note the consistencies across psychological measurement for purposes of patient/client assessment and evaluation for occupational applications.

Among the discussed “commandments” are some familiar points.  These include the need for appropriately supervised administration, including tests that are well established measures, considering reliability and validity, and ensuring objective scoring.

Some of the commandments are less frequently discussed – such as the need to avoid using overlapping tests during assessment. From a measurement perspective, this at first seems a bit odd: Wouldn’t the results of two tests, for example a 16PF and the NEO, provide more confidence in accurate measurement? While overlap might be ideal from a psychometrician’s perspective, it would not be from the paying client’s.  Redundant measures become costly, and time consuming to complete.

A second interesting point is, the patient or client has the right to refuse psychological testing.  This isn’t often considered in the context of occupational testing, but perhaps should be. As a potential employee, is someone bound to complete tests? What if the tests are extremely stressful or difficult? What happens if a candidate is unwilling to complete a testing session once it has begun?

As concluded, psychological tests may be the one chance at objective measurement that is part of an assessment process. Recommended testing practices must reflect the importance of the undertaking in order to make the most of it.

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