Psychological testing and assessment


Psychological tests are useful in evaluating a client’s behavior,personality, intelligence and mental state. A test is defined as ameasurement device to quantify behavior with an aim of predictingbehavior (Cohen, 2013). Psychological testing thus is measuringcharacteristics for purposes of understanding human behavior.Psychological testing involves a series of tests to determinepersonality, behavior and IQ. The tests require an individual toperform a behavior, which is used to measure traits. There are fourprimary types of testing namely personality assessments, behavioralassessments, IQ (Intellectual functioning assessment) and clinicalinterview. Besides these common tests, other types of tests are donefor specific areas such as aptitude for work, school, counseling,amongst other things.

Counselors and therapists use psychological testing to understandclient’s conditions and diagnose the best form of treatment (Bram,2013). Through conducting a number of tests on a client, it becomeseasy to determine how to diagnose and offer treatment to clients whoseek therapy. The results are thus very crucial for psychologists andpatients. Psychological testing takes time and need to be donecarefully for best results to be obtained. Only qualified andlicensed counselors and therapists are allowed to conductpsychological tests with an aim of treating patients. Once the testsare completed they are carefully analyzed, data is compiled,interpreted and a personalized report put down. The reports entailall tests administered especially if more than one test was given.Those tests help counselors to have a better understanding of theclient as well as help the client understand himself or herself well.

Psychological assessments are a process of testing using acombination of techniques to help arrive at a hypothesis regarding aperson’s behavior, capabilities and personality argues Hunsley etal. (2003). Psychological testing is also referred to as performing apsychological battery on someone and is performed by a licensedpsychologist who can accurately interpret psychological test and givevalid results. According to Hunsley (2003), four basic components ofpsychological assessment include norm referenced tests, interviews,observations and informal assessments. Norm referenced tests are aset of tasks given under set conditions to assess personality, skillor knowledge. A scale of measurement is given for assessments ofindividual differences regarding psychological concepts. Interviewsinclude accessing valuable information through interviews in form ofquestions while observations are done through observing someone fromtheir natural setting. Informal assessments are norm-referenced teststhat at times need to be supplemented with informal assessmentprocedures like career tests or projective tests.

Counselors and therapists need psychological assessments to weave acomprehensive and complete picture of the client’s problem. Once atherapist has gone through the assessment results, they are able todiagnose a client and start treatment that will be suitable for thepatient’s recovery. Assessment results are at times obtained fromthe third party who include the family, peers to shed light on aperson’s behavior in a different setting (Laceulle et al. 2014). Anexample of this is obtaining information from parents or teacher whenseeking to treat a child. Any discrepancies from the findings have tobe resolved before diagnostic recommendations for treatment are made.Assessments do not focus on a single test score, evaluation can bethrough a number of methods. Psychologists evaluate competenciesbefore determining which method is suitable for a client.

Psychological tests and psychological assessments differ in thatwhile psychological tests are a systematic procedure to observe one’straits while psychological assessment measures behavior throughanswering psychological tests (Gregory, 2001). Psychological testsuse numerical scales or category system while psychologicalassessments use psychological tests as one of the methods of datacollection. Tests are mostly useful for measuring the differences ofpeople overtime while assessment involves several data collectionmethods that include interviews, observation with a reason to usemore than one person. Tests are measurement devices to quantifybehavior while assessments are a process of testing using acombination of techniques to help come up with a hypothesis regardinga person’s behavior (Gregory, 2001). Assessments rely on tests tomake conclusions while tests require assessments to predict behavior.

Four different types of psychological tests discussed I chapter twoof Cohen’s textbook are personality tests, behavioral tests, IQtests and clinical interviews. Personality tests measure thecharacter of human beings or disposition asserts Cohen et al. (2013).The first personality tests aimed at predicting clinical disorders.They can be projective or objective with projective including TAT andobjective including MBTI. Behavior tests entail observing behaviorand response given a particular context. This helps the counselor ortherapist learn about a client’s behavior without his knowledge.Job performance also uses this method of tests. IQ tests help tomeasure intellectual functions in an individual. Through measuringthe IQ the cognitive strength and deficit are measured. This type oftest also is useful for neuropsychology to determine brain damage andits extent as well as how it affects behavior. The most common IQtest administered are Weschler Adult IQ scale test that tests acognitive ability through verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoningscale, working memory scale and processing speed scale (Cohen et al,2013). Clinical interviews are useful for psychological testing alsoreferred to as diagnostic interview. They last for one –two hoursand occur in a clinicians or counselor’s office as an informationgathering session for professional benefits. Clinical interviews arelike self-report tests giving the test takers an opportunity todescribe their feelings and opinions after which mental states areassessed.


Bram, A.(2013). “Psychological testing and treatment implications:We can say more,” Journal of personality assessment, 95(4),319-331

Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., &amp Sturman, E. D. (2013).Psychological Testing and Assessment: An Introduction to Testsand Measurement [8th Ed.]. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Gregory, M.(2001). “Psychological testing and psychologicalassessment,” A review of evidence and issues, Americanpsychologist, Department of Psychology, University of Alaska from

Hunsley, J.,&amp Meyer, G. J. (2003). “The incremental validity ofpsychological testing and assessment: conceptual, methodological,and statistical issues.”Psychological assessment,&nbsp15(4),446.

Laceulle, O. O’Donnell, K. Glover, V. Ormel, J. Aken, M. (2014).“Stressful events and psychological difficulties: testingalternative candidates for sensitivity,” European child&ampadolescent psychiatry, 23(2), 103-113

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