15 Aug 2022


Psychology Testing: The Ultimate Guide

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 689

Pages: 3

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Psychologists conduct psychological tests to obtain vital information to help them understand individual characteristics and capabilities. Information about individuals can be collected through behavioral observations, conducting personalized interviews, interviewing corroborative sources such as family members, and through formal neuropsychological testing. Psychological assessment among examinees has been a very controversial issue in recent years among clinicians and laypeople. Parents, clinicians, and clients argue that the use of standardized tests with minority examinees is biased and unfair. Test results may differ among ethnic groups thereby creating long term consequences. As a result of purported bias of standardized tests, psychiatric clients may be over-diagnosed, unfair denial of employment and college admission to applicants, and students placed in special classes disproportionately (Graves,& Mitchell, 2011) . Standardized tests in psychological testing are biased because they systematically under represent minorities' actual abilities and do not take into account interactive effects of genes and environment. Bias in mental testing is categorized into construct bias, method bias, and item bias. However, various strategies can be used to address psychology test bias among examinees. 

Psychologists Should Take into Account Social Values and Beliefs of Examinees 

Every person in the country should be treated equally regardless of their ethnicity and culture differences. Achievement, intelligence, aptitude, and performance tests should, therefore, be carried out by considering the different social values and beliefs of examinees. Test examiner should halt testing individuals by assuming they belong to same ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it will be prudent to stop standardized and use culture-specific tests that cater to the need of every examinee. Equal testing opportunities should be extended to minority groups regardless of their ethnicity and social values to ensure that they have a fair competitive ground with the majorities (Hambleton, & Zenisky, 2011)

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Emphasis should be Placed on Character Test and Testing 

Psychological characteristics among individuals differ. Individual psychological features are internal which makes it difficult for scientists to observe or measure them directly. Therefore, measurement of personal traits should not be done hypothetically or inferred from a person's external behavior (BIAS, 2012). Test development procedures that can help measure internal and unseen characteristics of examinees should be used. Selection of traits of interest of examinees from an item pool should be rational and dependent on reason and judgment. Test authors or publishers should use statistical procedures to help them identify factors that measure unintended characteristics of examinees in tryout sample. 

The nominal sample of examinees who are intended to take the final the test should reflect vital characteristic of the examinees under study. It is also crucial for test planners and scientists to engage oversampling of ethnic groups to address concerns of race and ethnicity. Test developers should also consider creating supplemental norms for each racial/ethnic group under test. Test developers can address charges of examinee bias by ensuring that both the minority and majority groups have the same proportion of participants in the norming test sample. According to Graves and Mitchell (2011) , in a case where one group has a low percentage of participants, suspicions may be elicited that the tests produce inaccurate scores. 

Test tend to be Neutral to Accommodate Divergent Views of Bias 

Test bias is surrounded by the uncertainty that accompanies all measurement methods in science. Hambleton and Zenisky (2011) assert that various segment of the population also has a different understanding of the character of psychological processes and measurement. It is essential for a test developer to design test processes that are neutral and capable of accommodating divergent views of laypeople, clinicians, and professionals. When talking about bias, the public will come up with notions of prejudicial attitudes to express their dissatisfaction. Lawyers, on the other hand, may view bias as an illegal and discriminatory practice against a particular individual. Scientific researchers and test developers should, therefore, strive to use familiar terms in their reports to prevent misinterpretation. According to BIAS, (2012), misunderstanding of test reports among various groups of people can bring conflation of meaning thus making people view psychological tests as being biased. 


Psychological test examiners and researchers have a vital role to play to ensure that mental test bias is prevented or reduced. In addition to the measures mentioned above, examiners should refrain from using language bias to intimidate minority examinees and spuriously lower their test scores. Using tests that are primarily based on majority culture altogether for members of a minority group should be avoided as the results become invalid for the minorities. 


Graves, S., & Mitchell, A. (2011). Is the moratorium over? African American psychology professionals’ views on intelligence testing in response to changes to federal policy.  Journal of Black Psychology 37 (4), 407-425. 

BIAS, P. S. O. (2012). Bias in Psychological Assessment.  Handbook of Psychology, Assessment Psychology 10 , 82. 

Hambleton, R. K., & Zenisky, A. L. (2011). Translating and adapting tests for cross-cultural assessments. 

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