An Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Psychometrics


Keith Coaley

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • 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

    Part V: Constructing Your Own Test or Questionnaire

  • Copyright

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    TO Rhys, Llywelyn, Megan and Lucas


    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 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.

    Keith April 2009 Hertfordshire

    About the Author

    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


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    Author Index

    Assessment, Measures and Tests Index

    • 360-degree instruments 210–11
    • Adolescent Psychopathology Scale 248
    • Alice Heim Ability Series (AH4/AH5) 166, 174
    • Army Alpha Test 158–9
    • Army Beta Test 158–9
    • Astrological assessment 208
    • Beck Anxiety Questionnaire 12
    • Beck Depression Inventory 141
    • Behavioural analysis 212–14
    • Biodata scales 250
    • Blum's Blacky Pictures 211
    • British Ability Scales 167
    • California Personality Inventory 18, 54
    • Career Interest Inventory 223
    • Cognitive Abilities Test 167
    • Cognitive Assessment of Minnesota 167
    • Cognitive Assessment System 166
    • Conditional reasoning assessment 250
    • Connors Scales of General Psychopathology 248
    • Controlled Oral Word Association Test 21
    • Criterion Attribution Library 18
    • Critical Reasoning Test Battery 18
    • Differential Aptitude Test Battery 175
    • Dyscalculia screener 248
    • Embedded Figures Test 214–15
    • Employee Attitude Inventory 215
    • Eysenck Personality Inventory & Questionnaire 31, 56, 57, 197, 202
    • Fidgetometer 215
    • Fifteen Factor Questionnaire (15FQ) 15, 18, 31, 197, 199
    • Fifteen Factor Questionnaire-Plus (15FQ+) 197, 243, 244, 249
    • FIRO-B 221
    • Formal Caregiver Attribution Inventory 35
    • Functional Analysis Interview Form 213
    • General Ability Tests 174–5
    • General Aptitude Test Battery 175
    • General Reasoning Test 175
    • Genetic testing 250
    • Giotto personality questionnaire 216
    • Goodenough Harris Drawing Test 165
    • Graduate & Managerial Assessment 109, 175
    • Graphology 207
    • Gray's behavioural approach/inhibition
    • questionnaire 194
    • Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales 66–7, 136
    • Guttman's Scalogram 47–8
    • Hayling Test 21
    • Hogan Development Survey 216
    • Holland's Occupational Finder 223
    • Holland's Self-Directed Search 223
    • Holland's Vocational Preference
    • Interviewing 209–10
    • Jackson Vocational Interest Survey 223
    • Job simulation exercises 174
    • Jung Type Indicator (JTI) 18, 33, 36
    • Kaufman Adolescent & Adult Intelligence
    • Test 167
    • Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children 167
    • Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test 167
    • Kuder General Interest Survey 223
    • Kuder Occupational Interest Survey 223
    • Lemon Drop Test 215
    • Likert scales 46–7
    • Locus of control measure 189
    • Managerial Interest Inventory 223
    • Maudsley Personality Inventory 197
    • Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale 165
    • Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory 18
    • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 18, 32, 54–5, 141
    • Morrisby tests 215
    • Motivation & Culture Fit Questionnaire 219
    • Motivation Questionnaire 219
    • Motivational Analysis Test 218
    • Motives Values Preferences Inventory 221
    • Movement Assessment Battery for Children 18
    • MQ 219
    • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 18, 33, 36, 188, 250
    • National Adult Reading Test 21
    • NEO personality questionnaire 135, 199–200
    • Neurological testing 250
    • Numerology 208
    • Objective Analytic Battery 215
    • Objective tests 214–15
    • Occupational Interest Profile 223
    • Occupational Motivation Questionnaire 219
    • Occupational Personality Profile 18
    • Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) 15, 18, 34, 197, 202
    • Palmistry 208
    • Performance tests 214
    • Personality Assessment Inventory 18
    • Phrenology 208
    • Physiognomy assessment 208
    • Polygraphy 207–8
    • Projective assessment 211–12
    • Pseudoscientific assessments 208–9
    • Psychopathy Checklist – Revised 134
    • Raven's Progressive Matrices 18, 94, 165, 174, 234
    • Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test 21
    • Rod & frame test 214
    • Rokeach Value Survey 220
    • Role Construct Repertory Grid 183, 191–2
    • Rorschach ink-blot test 11, 129, 183, 211–2
    • Rothwell-Miller Interest Inventory 223
    • Self-concept & self-esteem measures 190
    • Semantic Differential 48–9
    • Situational assessment 209–10
    • Sixteen Personality Factor (16PF) questionnaire 15, 18, 56, 57, 93, 141, 197–200, 202, 243
    • Slow Line Drawing Test 215
    • Sociomoral Reflection Measure 110
    • Speed tests 17
    • Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory 16
    • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale 8, 157–8, 171
    • Stanton Survey 215
    • Stephenson's Q-sort 190
    • Strong Vocational Interest Blank 221–2
    • Study of Values questionnaire 220
    • Survey of Interpersonal Values 221
    • Survey of Personal Values 221
    • Temperament & Character Inventory 195
    • Thematic Apperception Test 11, 192–3, 211–12
    • Thematic Apperception Test
    • Thurstone's attitude scales 45–6
    • Tower of Hanoi Puzzle 21
    • Trail-Making Test 21
    • Trustworthiness Attitude Survey 215
    • Type Dynamics Indicator 188, 250
    • Values & Motives Inventory 219, 221
    • Values Scale 221
    • Virtual reality assessment 250
    • WAIS, see
      • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
    • Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal 166, 234, 243
    • Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence 161
    • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 18, 21, 38, 63, 94, 156, 159–61, 162–3, 171, 248
    • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test 162
    • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children 18, 116, 159, 163–4, 171
    • Wechsler Memory Scale 21, 248, 162
    • Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability 162
    • Wechsler Objective Language Dimensions 164
    • Wechsler Objective Numerical Dimensions 164
    • Wechsler Objective Reading Dimensions 164
    • Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence 157, 161
    • Wechsler Test of Adult Reading 162
    • Wisconsin Card Sorting Test 89
    • Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery 166
    • Work Values Inventory 220–1
    • Work sample tests 174

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