23 Mar 2015
The study ofÂ person and his characteristics is theÂ most importantÂ tasksÂ of psychological science.Â Development of psychological science is characterized with significant increase in interest to problems of psycho diagnostic.Â The aim of modern psycho diagnostic is research of characteristics and differences between individuals and groups in a systematic manner.Â The task of such research in the most general form is definition of mental and psychological characteristics of individuals and their intra-individual relationships.
PsychologicalÂ test is theÂ basis forÂ psycho diagnosticsÂ ofÂ peopleÂ andÂ the foundationÂ of practicalÂ psychology. The aim of this paper is to define the concept of psychological test, describe its major categories, the concepts of reliability and validity, and other fundamental questions associated with psychological testing.
The conceptÂ of a psychological testÂ and its mainÂ characteristics
The scope of psycho diagnostic includes a set of various diagnostic methods to identify psychological characteristics of man.Â It represents a bridge between general and applied psychology, and in relation to the methods used, it acts as a common ground that unites all areas of their practical application. Practical psycho diagnostics solves some typical problems, which include the following:Â
1.Â To establish certain psychological properties or behavior in a person.Â
2.Â Determine the degree of development of these properties and their expression in specific quantitative and qualitative terms.Â
3.Â Description of diagnostic psychological behavior of a person
4.Â Comparison of the degree of development of psychological characteristics in different people.
The standardized psycho diagnostic methods, allowing obtaining comparable quantitative and qualitative indicators of the degree of development of the properties in people, are called psychological tests.Â Under standardized techniques is meant that they haveÂ strictlyÂ definedÂ rulesÂ of application,Â rangingÂ fromÂ studying the situationÂ and ending withÂ the methods of calculationÂ andÂ interpretationÂ of results.
The literature presents a great variety of definitions of psychological tests:Â
"Psychological test is essentially an objective and standardized measurement of a sample of behavior" (The American Psychological Association).Â
"Test is a standardized, often time-limited study designed to establish the quantitative (and qualitative) individual psychological differences (The American Psychological Association).Â
"Under test is understood a specific tool for evaluating the psychological qualities of the individual, which consists of set of tasks or questions, offered under standard conditions and is intended to identify particle types of behavior" (The American Psychological Association)
Objectivity,Â validityÂ andÂ reliabilityÂ are the main requirementsÂ to the test.Â It is necessary to consider these concepts and to discuss how they impact the field of psychological testing.
ObjectivityÂ of a psychological testÂ meansÂ that primaryÂ indicators, evaluationÂ and interpretationÂ of data do notÂ depend onÂ the behaviorÂ andÂ subjectiveÂ judgmentsÂ of the experimenter.Â DevelopmentÂ of testing tasks, its procedure, processingÂ of test resultsÂ is carried outÂ according to certainÂ standardÂ rules.Â To achieveÂ objectivity,Â a psychological testÂ must follow the nextÂ conditions:
-Â standardization ofÂ procedures of conductingÂ the testÂ to allow comparisonÂ of its results;
-Â standardization of testÂ performance evaluation;
- Definition of result normsÂ of the testÂ forÂ comparisonÂ them withÂ resultsÂ got from theÂ processing of test data.
These three conditions are referred to as the stages of standardization of psychological tests. During the development of a test certain standardization procedures are carried out, which include three stages:Â
1.Â The first stage of standardization of psychological tests is to establish uniform testing procedures.
2.Â The second phase is to establish a uniform evaluation of the test: the standard interpretation of the results and pre-standard evaluation.
3.Â The third stage of standardization of psychological tests is to determine the norms of the test.Â Norms are necessary in the interpretation of test results (primary parameters), as a benchmark with which to compare testing data.Â For example, in tests of intelligence the primary received IQ is correlated with standard IQ (43, 44, 45 points in the test of Raven).Â If the IQ received by respondent is above normative, as 60 points, we can talk about of the respondent as high.Â If the resulting IQ is lower than the norm, then the level of intelligence is low, if the received IQ is 43, 44 or 45 points, then it is average. (Ford-Martin, 2004)
All methods of psychological diagnosis, both standardized and non-standardized, are aimed at measuring personality traits and characteristics of intelligence.Â Each method is designed to measure a certain personal characteristic, and information about the extent to which the test actually measures it is known as the concept of validity.Â
EffectiveÂ method ofÂ testingÂ can beÂ created, ifÂ it passedÂ allÂ the stages ofÂ validation,Â when it meets requirements of both generalÂ andÂ practical validity.Â PracticalÂ validity describesÂ the testÂ not byÂ itsÂ psychologicalÂ content,Â but in termsÂ ofÂ itsÂ value for achievingÂ certainÂ practicalÂ goalsÂ (prediction,Â diagnosis). (Messic, 1980)
The last importantÂ characteristic ofÂ testsÂ are their reliability.Â ReliabilityÂ meansÂ consistency ofÂ testÂ resultsÂ of eachÂ testing attempt with the same subject,Â with theÂ resultsÂ of his firstÂ test.Â AbsoluteÂ reliability ofÂ the testÂ does notÂ exist, and errorsÂ are allowed,Â butÂ the higher areÂ they,Â the lower is theÂ testÂ reliability. The highÂ reliability ofÂ the testing methodÂ meansÂ thatÂ itÂ accuratelyÂ measuresÂ the characteristic.
TheseÂ three basic characteristics ofÂ psychological testÂ determineÂ itsÂ use in practicalÂ psychology.
Psycho diagnosticsÂ isÂ an areaÂ of psychological science, andÂ at the same timeÂ the most importantÂ formÂ of psychological practice,Â that is associatedÂ with the development and useÂ of variousÂ methodsÂ of recognitionÂ of individualÂ psychological characteristics of people.
Psycho diagnosticsÂ is aÂ set ofÂ methods and tools forÂ diagnosisÂ of mentalÂ characteristics of man.Â One of suchÂ methodsÂ isÂ testing.Â The use ofÂ psychologicalÂ testsÂ is aimedÂ to investigate the characteristicsÂ of person, and provideÂ informationÂ about mentalÂ properties ofÂ a particularÂ personÂ (the subject).
An effective psychologicalÂ testÂ shouldÂ meet requirements suchÂ as objectivity,Â validityÂ andÂ reliability,Â in this caseÂ itÂ givesÂ the correct results,Â which canÂ beÂ interpretedÂ and appliedÂ in practicalÂ psychology.
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