Explain Psychological Test and Its Types

Psychological tests are most commonly used tests in psychometric approach. Sunburg (1977) claims that psychological tests are used to collect a sample of clients ‘ behaviour in a standard situation. These types of tests generally provide information which is objective, numerical and verifiable while impressionistic approach collect information through subjective methods such as interviews, observations, students records, Sociometric devices.

Types of Psychological Tests

Tests are used in counselling as they help to find out something about the client
that could not be discovered otherwise by conventional methods. If we keep this general purpose in mind we have to answer which, where, when, and how tests are to be used. If client is compared with other persons on adequately validated tests, we can have useful information about the potentialities of that person. It is sometimes said that tests work better for ruling out some areas than highlighting others. Generally speaking, low scores are more predictive than high ones.

Each person has some characteristics (traits and attitudes) which can be
measured by psychological tests. Psychometric approach supports uniform procedures to administer and score psychological tests. Norms are established on such tests and performance of individual is compared against them. Norms can be in terms of mental age, grade equivalents, percentiles, standard scores etc. Moreover, they can provide information about their aptitude, interests and attitudes.
Psychological tests can be classified on the basis of the following:

  1.  How they are administered?
  2. Whether they measure one trait or several?
  3.  Whether they measure verbal or/ and non-verbal ability?
  4.  Nature of their content.

Michell (1979) is another author provides following classification of tests in general. The classification related to different functions, purposes, preparation and administration.

1) Achievement Test:

Type of test which measure the extend to which person has
achieved something. This is usually result of planned instruction.

2) Culture-fair Test:

These tests provide an equal chance for success to persons of
all cultures and experiences. The content of these tests is equally common to all
cultures or equally un-familiar to all cultures.

3) Culture-free Test:

This type of tests are free of cultural experiences so they measure only heredity abilities. Culture bias is not eliminated by the use of non language or so called performance tests, it may reduce cultural ‘bias’ in some cases.

4) Diagnostic Test:

Test which is used to diagnose or analyse. It diagnosis the specific area of weakness. Or strengths, its nature and cause.

5) Group Test:

Test that may be administered to a number of individuals simultaneously by an examiner. It is mainly concerned with affective domain.

6) Power Test:

This test intends to measure level of performance unaffected by the speed of response. Items are usually arranged in order of increasing difficulty.

7) Prognosis (Prognostic) Test:

This test is designed to predict future success in a specific subject field.

8) Readiness Test:

A test that measures the degree to which an individual has achieved, a degree of maturity or acquired skills or information needed for undertaking of new learning activity.

9) Standardised Test:

A test designed to provide a systematic sample of individual performance, administered according to set direction, scored in accordance with set rules and interpret in reference to certain normative information.

10) Individual Test:

A test that is administered to only one person at a time.

11) Objective Test:

A test made up of items. Correct responses are set in advance and can be marked mechanically

12) Omnibus Test:

A test (1) in which items which measure a variety of mental operations are combined into a single sequence rather than being grouped together by type of operation, and (2) from which only a single score is derived, rather than separate scores for each operation or function.

13) Performance Test:

A test which involves some motor or manual response on the examinees ‘test. It is usually a manipulation of concrete equipment or material.

14) Personality Test:

Test which is used to measure one or more of non-intellectual aspects of an individual’s mental or psychological make up.

15) Survey Test:

A test that measures general achievement in a given area.

Selection of a Test

Counsellors have to select a test for a particular purpose from the available stock of tests.” The seventh Mental Measurement Year Book ‘. may be utilized as a handy resource for test selection. The content of the year book include expert reviews of tests and books about testing’s. Index of this year book has author index, title index and text content. Another source for test information is’ Test in Print. This includes bibliography for all tests printed in English.

Test selection steps:

These steps may be useful as tools for students appraisal, judgement and decisions. Pietrosfesa et al. (1980) have listed following steps:

1) Recognize need for test information.
2) Identify appropriate tests.
3) Order specimen sets.
4) Evaluate obtained materials
5) Select and administer set.
6) Evaluate test.

Although psychological tests are good tools in the hands of counsellor yet some criticism on these tests is also there. This criticism points out the short comings of these tests. Karmal and Karmal (1978) have made the division of criticism as given below:

1)Those deal with the effects of testing on individual.
2) Those deal with the collects of testing on institutions.
3) Those deal with the effects of testing on the society.


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