An Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Psychometrics
Publication Year: 2010
This accessible book outlines the key ingredients of psychological assessment and provides case studies to illustrate their application, making this an ideal textbook for courses on psychometrics or psychological assessment. The book covers the nature of assessment, basic components, how tests are made, underlying statistics, reliability and validity, assessment of intelligence, abilities and personality, non-psychometric approaches, as well as ethical and professional issues and modern developments. A final chapter explains how readers can construct their own tests. Wide-ranging case studies demonstrate the variety of contexts in which assessment is conducted. The author’s clarity of writing and use of practical examples throughout helps students apply these methods in practice with confidence as part of their studies on an array of courses.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Introduction: Foundations of Psychological Assessment
- What Do We Mean by Psychological Assessment and Psychometrics?
- Historical Background
- Core Characteristics of Assessment
- The Technical Nature of Assessment
- Stable and Changing Characteristics
- Types of Measurement
- Maximum Performance Measures
- Typical Performance Measures
- Quality and Measurement
- So What are They Used For?
- What Have We Discovered about the Foundations of Psychological Assessment?
Part I: The Essential Tools of Psychological Measurement
- Chapter 2: The Basic Components – Scales and Items
- What Kinds of Scales are Available?
- Nominal Scales
- Ordinal Scales
- Scalar Variables
- Construction and Analysis of Items
- Intelligence Test Items
- Performance Tests
- Ability and Aptitude Tests
- Person-Based and Personality Questionnaires
- Items Having Rating Scales
- Forced-Choice Items
- Item Analysis
- Classical Item Analysis
- Item Response Theory
- Comparing Classical Test Theory and Item Response Theory
- Measuring Attitudes
- Attitude Measurement
- Thurstone's Scales
- Likert Scales
- Guttman's Scalogram
- The Semantic Differential
- Limitations of Attitude Measures
- What Have We Discovered about Scales and Items in Psychological Assessment?
- Chapter 3: How Assessment Measures are Made
- Planning and Designing Assessment
- Methods of Test Construction
- Criterion-Keyed Construction
- Construction Using Factor Analysis
- Construction Using Classical Test Theory
- Construction Using Item Response Theory and Rasch Scaling
- To Standardize or Not to Standardize?
- Standardized Measures
- Norm Referencing
- Criterion Referencing
- Self Referencing
- Percentile Norms
- Calculating Percentiles from Raw Scores
- Interpreting Percentiles
- What Have We Discovered about How Assessment Measures are Made?
- Chapter 4: Statistics for Psychological Measurement
- Frequency Distributions
- The Normal Curve
- Skewed Distributions
- Measures of Central Tendency
- The Normal Curve and Probability
- Sampling and Standard Error of the Mean
- Sampling Error
- The Standard Error of the Mean
- Confidence Limits
- The Normal Curve and Standard Scores
- z Scores
- Normalizing Scores
- T Scores
- Sten Scores
- Stanine Scores
- Converting Raw Scores to Standard Scores
- Standard Scores in Practice
- What Have We Discovered about the Statistics Which Underpin Psychological Assessment?
Part II: The Essential Characteristics of Psychological Measurement
- Chapter 5: The Importance of Reliability
- Why Reliability?
- Consistency and Accuracy
- The Concept of Correlation
- Correlation Coefficients
- Identifying and Evaluating Error
- The Fallibility of Scores
- Sources of Error
- Different Types of Reliability
- Evaluation of Coefficients
- Clinical Reliabilities
- Generalizability Theory
- Measuring Error and Making Decisions
- Connecting SEM and Reliability
- Effects of Range Restriction
- SEM and Standard Scale Scores
- Confidence Limits
- Standard Error of Difference
- Comparing and Combining Scores
- What Have We Discovered about Reliability?
- Chapter 6: The Significance of Validity
- Why Validity?
- Defining Validity
- What Does Validation Mean?
- A Catalogue of Validity
- Content Validity
- Criterion-Related Validity
- Construct Validity
- The Multitrait-Multimethod Approach
- Validation in Practice
- Giving Evidence
- Validity's ‘Faux Amis’
- Evaluating Validity Coefficients
- Factors Affecting Coefficients
- What Have We Discovered about Validity?
Part III: Applications of Assessment and Measurement
- Chapter 7: Measuring Intelligence and Ability
- Psychology's World Cup Winner – Intelligence
- What is Intelligence?
- Implicit and Explicit Theories
- An Intelligent History
- Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
- Guilford's Structure of Intellect
- Vernon's Hierarchy
- An Integrative Model
- The Theory of Cognitive Abilities
- Gardner and Sternberg
- A Cognitive Psychology Model
- The Development of Intelligence Testing
- Early Days
- The Stanford-Binet
- Alpha and Beta Tests
- Wechsler Scales
- The Problem of Culture
- The Alice Heim Series
- Later Developments
- Cognitive and Clinical Approaches
- Issues about Intelligence
- The Nature-Nurture Debate
- Ideology and Intelligence
- The Flynn Effect
- Measurement of Abilities and Aptitudes
- Utility Analysis
- What Have We Discovered about Measuring Intelligence and Ability?
- Chapter 8: The Assessment and Measurement of Personality
- The Concept of Personality
- Situational and Dispositional Approaches
- How Do We Define Personality?
- Making Distinctions
- Theories of Personality
- Types versus Traits
- Idiographic versus Nomothetic Approaches
- The Physiological Paradigm
- The Psychodynamic Paradigm
- The Cognitive-Behavioural Paradigm
- The Phenomenological Paradigm
- The Biological Paradigm
- The Trait Paradigm
- Questionnaire-Based Personality Assessment
- Self-Report Data
- Distortion of Responses
- Random Responding
- Central Tendency
- Measurement Error
- Correlational Approaches to Validation
- What Have We Discovered about the Assessment and Measurement of Personality?
- Chapter 9: Alternative Perspectives on Assessment
- Alternative Approaches to Assessment
- Attribution Processes
- Spurious Validity
- Other Pseudosciences
- More Accepted Forms of Assessment
- Situational Assessments
- Reports by others
- Projective Instruments
- Observations of Behaviour
- Objective Tests
- Honesty and Integrity Questionnaires
- Measuring Motives, Values and Interests
- Measuring Motives
- Measuring Values
- Measuring Interests
- What Have We Discovered about Alternative Perspectives on Assessment?
Part IV: Ethical and Professional Issues
- Chapter 10: Best Practice in Assessment and Testing
- Ethics, Fairness and Assessment
- Fairness in Testing
- Data Protection
- Confidentiality and Security
- Informed Consent
- Professional Issues in Testing
- Test Administration
- Scoring Tests
- Giving Feedback
- Testing in the Twenty-First Century
- What Have We Discovered about Ethical and Professional Issues in Testing?
Part V: Constructing Your Own Test or Questionnaire
© Keith Coaley 2010
First published 2009
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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[Page v]TO Rhys, Llywelyn, Megan and Lucas[Page vi]
I wrote this book for two reasons. First, because best practice in psychological assessment and testing is something which has preoccupied me for many years and, secondly, because there was a need for an easily readable and accessible introductory text. It is designed to be an interesting and enjoyable, practical approach to the most important of all applied psychological activities. This fascinating and exciting subject has been squeezed down to its essentials.
All the technicalities are there for you to grasp. It's always difficult to understand something when you don't know at the start what its purpose is. Technicalities (yawn) only make sense when you know ‘why?’ and ‘what for?’ and I have tried to remove the jargon, to put them in context and relate them to real life applications.
There was a need for an introductory text to help a range of people. These include both undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as Human Resources and allied professionals doing the British Psychological Society's certificates of competence in testing. To begin with, I investigated the undergraduate syllabi of a number of universities, aiming to provide for these, as well as the elements of competence set for the Level A and B certificates.
For those of you who are undergraduates I cover the different professional areas of psychology, so that you can know what assessment issues are relevant to areas of practice. This will, I hope, help you to understand better the future career alternatives. For HR professionals I hope that I have provided you with a broader view of assessment and a better grasp of what is involved. The same applies to those of you who are doing Master's degrees.
This book is organized in six parts: Introduction: Foundations of Psychological Assessment; Part I: The Essential Tools of Psychological Measurement, Part II: The Essential Characteristics of Psychological Measurement; Part III: Applications of Assessment and Measurement; Part IV: Ethical and Professional Issues; and Part V: Constructing Your Own Test or Questionnaire. The differing sections can be taught separately as topic areas. Chapter 11 on constructing a test has been added to support [Page xiv]both students and lecturers in a practical research activity, as well as other practitioners who want to know how to go about it. Each chapter has been organized around key objectives which are listed at the beginning, and important themes are highlighted at the end.
I have aimed to provide a conceptual understanding of issues, including modern developments, and have linked them to an individual differences approach because many tests and questionnaires invariably measure differences between people. In addition, I have sought to lay the groundwork of statistical foundations and the parameters of sound assessment, such as reliability and validity, first and then to use these in evaluation of techniques. A key aspect is best practice, including the evaluation and selection of tests and their fair and ethical use.
I also wanted to write a book which is reasonably comprehensive, interesting and accessible, based on the way in which I have taught the subject over a long time. I have had a lot of pleasure explaining difficult concepts in simple and sometimes silly ways, often using drawings and examples, and have attempted to transfer some to the book. Humour is often more memorable. I hope, too, that it will provide a useful reference and source book for you in the future.
Psychological assessment and testing has expanded considerably. The use of new technology has advanced, enabling development of new tests, inventories and scales, as well as new methods of administration, scoring and interpretation. But they have been the subject of criticism, with lay people frequently lacking understanding of their nature and technical foundations. When I discuss them with others I constantly find they are surprised by this. A prime need is, therefore, for well-trained practitioners who have sound understanding, who can ‘carry the flag’ and explain their benefits and advantages for modern society. Provision of good training is integral to this.
I would like to thank a number of people for their help and support in writing this book. They include the university lecturers who reviewed and commented on various chapters, as well as Dr Tanya Edmonds who also reviewed some chapters. Thanks go to Dr Barry Cripps for his help and to Liam Healy for his valuable encouragement. The Sage team of Michael Carmichael, my editor, and Sophie Hine also provided substantial help throughout. Any of the book's shortcomings should, however, be attributed to myself. I am grateful to Dr Laurence Paltiel for his kind permission to reproduce copyright material. Thank you, too, to the people who matter most: my readers.HertfordshireApril 2009
About the Author[Page xv]
Dr Keith Coaley is a chartered occupational and clinical psychologist, having many years of experience as an applied psychologist, trainer and lecturer at both HE and university levels. After a first undergraduate degree, he did a second degree in psychology with the Open University before a Master's degree at Cardiff University and another later in forensic and legal psychology at Leicester University. He was awarded his PhD for his research in stress, health and job performance at Manchester. Having extensive experience of psychological assessment in practice, he has researched and published on topics relating to the fields of psychometrics and assessment. He has experience of work in Human Resources, in consultancy and in the National Health Service and prison settings, and has worked in the UK, Ireland, the Far East and Africa.
Appendix A: A Table of Areas under the Normal Curve[Page 263][Page 264]
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