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Instruments for Psychological Testing

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1. The text asserts that any test can be an instrument for good or harm. How are tests used for good? How are they used for harm? Should testing be eliminated altogether?
2. Is it important to understand the historical roots of psychological testing? Why or why not?

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Solution Summary

This solution discusses the historical use of psychological instruments and testing.

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(1) How can tests be used for good?

Psychological tests can be used for several good purposes by clinicians that include diagnosing a specific psychological disorder, and for treatment purposes. Organizations use testing to select individuals for employment. Moreover, tests can also be used to measure performance and evaluate the effectiveness of programs. The psychological test as outlined in the "standards for educational and psychological testing guidelines" (AERA, 1999) provide guidelines that are focused on two specific objectives: (a) imparting the core knowledge and skills essential to those who use tests to make decisions, or formulate policies that affect the lives of test takers, and (b) noting the expertise that test users in specific contexts must have when administering, and interpreting tests and test results (APA council or representatives, 2000).

On the other hand, a test can be harmful in its use such as (a) test bias, and (b) discrimination. Research shows that bias that occurs in psychological testing cut across racial and gender groups. As an example, Groth-Marnat (2003) points out that despite revisions and updates the Wechsler test of intelligence, it is still based ...

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