As children grow and develop, they might face problems related to their psychological well-being, learning, and socialization. Therefore, to evaluate the assets and weaknesses of a certain person, it is essential to take into consideration psychological testing and assessment. By getting information about school-age children and youth’s behavioral and personality development, psychologists will have the opportunity to make appropriate recommendations for the treatment or remediation. However, both parents and teachers frequently face various concerns regarding the process of testing and assessment. At the same time, considering that professional, legal, and ethical guidelines address these concerns, educators and parents should take them into account.
Historical Development of Psychological Testing and Assessment
From the historical point of view, the first testing programs were developed in China. Usually, they were based on the idea to test a person’s knowledge in music, writing, arithmetic, and agriculture and geography. During the period of Renaissance, the regular testing programs evaluating intelligence levels were transformed into psychological assessments. In the first half of the 20th century, the Rorschach Test was developed with an intention to examine personality characteristics and emotional functioning. Simultaneously, there was an immense demand to create high-quality tests evaluating human abilities.
Therefore, Alfred Binet and Victor Henri benefited to the creation of the intelligence assessment and the clinical testing (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017). As a result, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Personal Data Sheet were developed. Currently, psychology tests can be performed in the form of interviews, standardized tests, and questionnaires, depending on the primary purpose of the assessment and the personal features of the respondent.
Concerns Regarding Psychological Testing and Assessment
Even though most psychological testing programs are developed, considering potential limitations and bias, parents and teachers might experience some concerns related to this process. For instance, it is a widely known practice when the examinee has worries in terms of language barriers, culture-related discrimination, disclosure of information, and inaccurate interpretation of computerized testing. In this case, legal and ethical considerations are applied to address potential problems in this area. For example, in the middle of the past century, many states enacted minimum competency testing programs (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017).
In fact, these programs aimed to assess various aspects of students’ education. Moreover, truth-in-testing legislation was also passed on the basis of several laws that required a comprehensive description of the test’s purpose, as well as procedures used to ensure accuracy in scoring.
When it comes to computerized testing, it is important to note that computer applications in the field of psychological test administration have considerable ethical implications for educators and responders. In order to reduce the impact of potential ethical issues on the psychological assessment, test takers follow three essential guidelines, such as resolving ethical issues, human relations, as well as privacy and confidentiality (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017).
From the perspective of resolving ethical issues, this guideline requires the examiner to address all the ethical problems before moving forward. In turn, human relations refer to the guideline that obliges the examiner to ensure that the participants and others involved are not harmed in any way. Finally, in the context of confidentiality and privacy, all psychologists have to inform the respondents about how their personal information can be used. Furthermore, psychologists are required to protect the confidentiality of provided information by sharing only that data which is significant to the effectiveness of the psychological service.
A vast amount of attention should also be dedicated to the process of testing people with disabilities. Presently, the main challenges associated with psychological testing programs for this population group include the transformation of the test into a form that can be taken by the examiner, meaningful interpretation of the test data, and transformation of the responses into scores. According to guidelines for the assessment of persons with disabilities, psychologists are required to increase their knowledge and skills about working with disabled individuals on a regular basis (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017). As a result, examiners have a high level of awareness of disability paradigms, models, and their implications for service provision.
The Role of Testing and Assessment in Education
As of education, assessment and testing programs play an essential role, as they help educators evaluate, measure, and document the academic achievements of school-age children. Most frequently, these programs are based on the idea to analyze academic readiness, learning progress, and skill acquisition. In order to assess the extent to which provided information is assimilated, the US educational system uses K-through-12 assessment. In turn, the Common Core State Standards is used as a standard for learning in English and math in the US (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017). At the same time, a variety of concerns regarding testing in education still exist. Usually, they include special learning disabilities, psychoeducational test batteries, and technological issues.
Currently, school-age children who have a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability are served with the help of response in the intervention model. In fact, this multilevel model requires educators to follow three steps in terms of testing and assessment (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2017).
First, the teacher provides information to all students in the appropriate manner. Second, learners failing to make adequate progress are gathered into a group that undergoes another phase of education. Third, individuals failing the second level of education are administered with the help of an individual approach. Moreover, in order to identify the range of abilities that can be developed by a person with and without the assistance of the educator, teachers can use the zone of proximal development. This concept is beneficial for detecting the amount of knowledge disabled students can successfully process. Thus, testing in education can be applied to all students, regardless of their intelligence level.
At present, psychological assessment of school-age children is tremendously beneficial, as it helps determine a child’s personality strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it is an effective intervention for identifying certain disturbances in personality. However, teachers and parents can experience concerns regarding some aspects of this process. For instance, language barriers, culture-related discrimination, disclosure of information, and inaccurate interpretation of computerized testing are the most common concerns faced by examinees and their parents. To minimize the effect of these issues on the quality of testing, a variety of legal and ethical considerations should be taken into account.
Currently, all psychologists are required to follow the main principles of the APA Ethics Code. This document ensures that the participants and others involved in the assessment are not harmed. When it comes to the rights of examiners, they have the right of informed consent and to be informed of test findings.
Cohen, R., & Swerdlik, M. (2017). Psychological testing and assessment (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.