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Psychological Testing Week 2 Chapters 2-3

by: AmberNicole

Psychological Testing Week 2 Chapters 2-3 Psych 3325

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These notes cover the book material on chapters 2 and 3. Hope this helps!
Introduction to Psychological Testing
Dr. Gary Stainback
Class Notes
Psychology, Psychological, Testing, Stats, Statistics
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This 36 page Class Notes was uploaded by AmberNicole on Sunday September 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 3325 at East Carolina University taught by Dr. Gary Stainback in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Psychological Testing in Psychology (PSYC) at East Carolina University.


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Date Created: 09/11/16
Chapter 2: Historical, Cultural, and Legal/Ethical Considerations A Historical Perspective Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century * It is believed that tests and testing programs first came into being in China as early as 2200 B.C.E. * Testing was instituted as a means of selecting who, of many applicants, would obtain government jobs * The tests examined proficiency in subjects like music, archery, horsemanship, writing, and arithmetic, as well as agriculture, geography, civil law, and military strategy * Knowledge of and skill in the rites and ceremonies of public and social life were also evaluating * During the Song (or Sung) dynasty, which ran from 960 to 1279 C.E., tests emphasized knowledge of classical literature * During some dynasties, testing was virtually suspended and government positions were given to family members or friends, or simply sold * In dynasties with state-sponsored examinations for official positions (referred to as imperial examination), the privileges of making the grade varied * Psychological assessment (in the broadest sense of that term), as well as counseling and psychotherapy, were probably more the province of the priest than the physician * The Ebers papyrus (15550 B.C.E.), another ancient Egyptian document, listed incantations used in efforts to ward off demons presumed to wreak havoc with one's physical and mental health * Categorizations typically included reference to an overabundance or deficiency in some bodily fluid (such as blood or phlegm) as a factor believed to influence personality * It would not be until the Renaissance that psychological assessment in the modern sense began to emerge * By the eighteenth century, Christian von Wolff had anticipated psychology as a science and psychological measurement as a specialty within that science * Darwin's enmity came primarily from religious individuals who interpreted Darwin's ideas as an affront to the biblical account of creation in Genesis * Galton (1869) aspired to classify people "according to their natural gifts" (page 1) and to ascertain their "deviation from an average" (p. 11) o Along the way, Galton would be credited with devising or contributing to the development of many contemporary tools of psychological assessment, including questionnaires, rating scales, and self- report inventories o Galton's initial work on heredity was done with sweet peas, in part because there tended to be fewer variations among the peas in a single pod o In this work Galton pioneered the use of a statistical concept central to psychological experimentation and testing: the coefficient of correlation o From heredity in peas, Galton's interest turned to heredity in humans and various ways of measuring aspects of people and their abilities * Assessment was also an important activity at the first experimental psychology laboratory, founded at the University of Leipzig in Germany by Wilhelm Max Wundt (1832-1920), a medical doctor whose title at the university was professor of philosophy o Wundt and his students tried to formulate a general description of human abilities with respect to variables such as reaction time, perception, and attention span o In contrast to Galton, Wundt focused on how people were similar, not different o Wundt viewed individual differences as a frustrating source of error in experimentation, and he attempted to control all extraneous variables in an effort to reduce error to a minimum o The objective is to ensure that any observed differences in performance are indeed due to differences between the people being measured and not to any extraneous variables * American James McKeen Cattell completed a doctoral dissertation that dealt with individual differences – specifically, individual differences in reaction time o Inspired by his interaction with Galton, Cattell returned to the University of Pennsylvania in 1888 and coined the term mental test in an 1890 publication * Psyche made the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale (CIIS) * Spearman is credited with originating the concept of test reliability as well as building the mathematical framework for the statistical technique of factor analysis * Victor Henri is the Frenchman who would collaborate with Alfred Binet on papers suggesting how mental tests could be used to measure higher mental processes * Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin was an early experimenter with the word association technique as a formal test * Lightner Witmer was the director of the psychology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and has been cited as the "little-known founder of clinical psychology", owing at least in part to his being challenged to treat a "chronic bad speller" in March of 1896 o Later that year Witmer founded the first psychological clinic the US at the University of Pennsylvania o In 1907, Witmer founded the journal Psychological Clinic and the first article in that journal was entitled "Clinical Psychology" The Twentieth Century The Measurement of Intelligence * As early as 1895, Alfred Binet (1857-1911) and his colleague Victor Henri published several articles in which they argued for the measurement of abilities such as memory and social comprehension * The Binet test would subsequently go through many revisions and translations – and, in the process, launch both the intelligence testing movement and the clinical testing movement * In 1939 David Wechsler, a clinical psychologist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, introduced a test designed to measure adult intelligence o For Wechsler, intelligence was "the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment o Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale, the test was subsequently revised and renamed the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) * A natural outgrowth of the individually administered intelligence test devised by Binet was the group intelligence test The measurement of personality * The Personal Data Sheet developed by Woodworth and his colleagues never went beyond the experimental stages, for the treaty of peace rendered the development of this and other tests less urgent * Woodworth Psychoneurotic Inventory: After the war, Woodworth developed a personality test for civilian use that was based on the Personal Data Sheet and was the first widely used measure of personality * Self-report refers to a process whereby assessees themselves supply assessment-related information by responding to questions, keeping a diary, or self-monitoring thoughts or behaviors * A projective test is one in which an individual is assumed to "project" onto some ambiguous stimulus his or her own unique needs, fears, hopes, and motivation o Best known of all projective tests is the Rorschach, a series of inkblots developed by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach * The use of pictures as projective stimuli was popularized in the late 1930's by Henry A. Murray, Christina D. Margan, and their colleagues at the Harvard Psychological Clinic o Respondents are typically asked to tell a story about the picture they are shown o The stories told are then analyzed in terms of what needs and motivations the respondents may be projecting onto the ambiguous pictures Culture and Assessment * Culture may be defined as "the socially transmitted behavior patterns, beliefs, and products of work of a particular population, community, or group of people" o Culture teaches specific rituals to be performed at birth, marriage, death, and other momentous occasions o Culture imparts much about what is to be valued or prized as well as what is to be rejected or despised o Culture teaches a point of view about what it means to be born of one or another gender, race, or ethnic background Evolving Interest in Culture-Related Issues * Began using such tests to measure the intelligence of people seeking to immigrate to the United States * Henry H. Goddard, who had been highly instrumental in getting Binet'stest adopted for use in various settings in the US, was the chief researcher assigned to the project o Goddard (1913) used interpreters in test administration, employed a bilingual psychologist, and administered mental tests to selected immigrants who appeared mentally retarded to trained observers o Goddard (1917) concluded that, in this sample, 83% of the Jews, 80% of the Hungarians, 79% of the Italians, and 87% of the Russians were feeble minded o Although Goddard had written extensively on the genetic nature of mental deficiency, it is to his credit that he did not summarily conclude that these test findings were the result of hereditary o In reality, the findings were largely the result of using a translated Binet test that overestimated mental deficiency in native English-speaking populations, let alone immigrant populations o Goddard's research, although leaving much to be desired methodologically, fueled the fires of an ongoing nature-nurture debate about what intelligence tests actually measure o On one side were those who viewed intelligence test results as indicative of some underlying native ability o On the other side were those who viewed such data as indicative of the extent to which knowledge and skills had been acquired * One way that early test developers attempted to deal with the impact of language and culture on tests of mental ability was, in essence, to "isolate" the cultural variable * So-called culture-specific tests, or tests designed for use with people from one culture but not from another, soon began to appear on the scene * Wechsler (1944) stated at the outset that the Wechsler-Bellevue norms could not be used for "the colored populations of the United States" o The inaugural edition of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), first published in 1949 and not revised until 1974, contained no minority children in its development o Even though many published tests were purposely designed to be culture-specific, it soon became apparent that the tests were being administered – improperly- to people from different cultures o Perhaps not surprisingly, test takers from minority cultures tended to score lower as a group than people from the group for whom the test was developed The Controversial Career of Henry Herbert Goddard * As a result of his interest in studying children, Goddard had occasion to meet Edward Johnstone, the superintendent of the New Jersey Home for Feeble-Minded Children in Vineland, New Jersey * In 1902 Goddard and Johnstone, along with educator Earl Barnes, founded a "Feebleminded Club," which – despite its misleading name by current standards – served as an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas regarding special education * At the Vineland facility, Goddard found that Binet's test appeared to work very well in terms of quantifying degrees of mental deficiency * Goddard came to associate low intelligence with many of the day's most urgent social problems, ranging from crime to unemployment to poverty * Davenport was a strong believer that heredity played a role in mental deficiency and was a staunch advocate of eugenics, the science of improving the qualities of a breed (in this case, humans) through intervention with factors related to heredity o The data Goddard and Davenport collected was used to argue the case that mental deficiency was caused by recessive gene and could be inherited, much like eye color is inherited * Consequently, Goddard believe that – in the interest of the greater good of society at large- mentally deficient individuals should be segregated or institutionalized (at places such as Vineland) and not permitted to reproduce * Goddard determined that feeblemindedness ran in the line of descendants from the illegitimate tryst with the waitress * Conclusions regarding the feeblemindedness of descendants were likely to be linked to any evidence of alcoholism, delinquency, truancy, criminality, prostitution, illegitimacy, or economic dependence * Psychiatrist Abraham Myerson (1925) attacked the Kallikak study, and the eugenics movement in general, as pseudoscience o Myerson reanalyzed data from studied purporting to support the idea that various physical and mental conditions could be inherited, and he criticized those studies on statistical grounds * Goddard's book became an increasing cause for concern because it was used (along with related writings on the menace of feeble mindedness) to support radical arguments in favor or eugenics, forced sterilization, restricted immigration, and other social causes * Goddard classified many people as feebleminded based on undesirable social status, illegitimacy, or "sinful" activity * Goddard's accomplished largely through his efforts that state mandates required special education services first became law Some Issues Regarding Culture and Assessment Verbal Communication * Language, the means by which information is communicated, is a key yet sometimes overlooked variable in the assessment process * Most obviously, the examiner and the examinee must speak the same language * This is necessary not only for the assessment to proceed but also for the assessor's conclusions regarding the assessment to be reasonably accurate * When an assessment is conducted with the aid of a translator, different types of problems may emerge o Depending upon the translator's skill and professionalism, subtle nuances of meaning may be lost in translation, or unintentional hints to the correct or more desirable response may be conveyed o Some vocabulary words may change meaning or have dual meanings when translated o Interpreters may have limited understanding of mental health issue Nonverbal communication and behavior * Facial expressions, finger and hang signs, and shifts in one's position in space may all convey messages * Interviewees who show enthusiasm and interest have the edge over interviewees who appear to be drowsy or bored * In clinical settings, an experienced evaluator may develop hypotheses to be tested from the nonverbal behavior of the interviewee * For example, a person who is slouching, moving slowly, and exhibiting a sad facial expression may be depressed. Then again, such an individual may be experiencing physical discomfort from any number of sources, such as a muscle spasm or an arthritis attack * Psychoanalysis: a theory of personality and psychological treatment developed by Sigmund Freud, symbolic significance is assigned to many nonverbal acts * An example of nonverbal behavior in which people differ is the speed at which they characteristically move to complete tasks * The overall pace of life in one geographic area, for example, may tend to be faster than in another * In a similar vein, differences in pace of life across cultures may enhance or detract from test scores on test involving timed items * Culture exerts effects over many aspects of nonverbal behavior * For example, a child may present as non communicative and having only minimal language skills when verbally examined Standards of evaluation * Judgments related to certain psychological traits can also be culturally relative * Cultures differ from one another in the extent to which they are individualist or collectivist * Individualist culture (typically associated with the dominant culture in countries such as the United States and Great Britain) is characterized by value being placed on traits such as self-reliance, autonomy, independence, uniqueness, and competitiveness * In a collectivist culture (typically associated with the dominant culture in many countries throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa), value is placed on traits such as conformity, cooperation, interdependence, and striving toward group goals * Cultural differences carry with them important implications for assessment Meet Dr. Nathaniel V. Mohatt * A good example of my approach to psychological testing and assessment is the development of the Awareness of Connectedness Scale * The seed research that informed the development of the ACS was the People Awakening project, a community-based participatory research study examining pathways to sobriety among Alaska Native people Tests and Group Membership * Tests and other evaluative measures administered in vocational, educational, counseling, and other settings leave little doubt that people differ from one another on an individual basis and also from group to group on a collective basis * What happens when groups systematically differ in terms of scores on a particular test: conflict * In vocational assessment, test users are sensitive to legal and ethical mandates concerning the use of tests with regard to hiring, firing, and related decision making * Claims of test-related discrimination made against major test publishers may be best understood as evidence of the great complexity of the assessment enterprise rather than as a conspiracy to use tests to discriminate against individuals from certain groups * In vocational assessment, for example, conflicts may arise form disagreements about the criteria for performing a particular job * General differences among groups of people also extend to psychological attributes such as measured intelligence * A contrasting view is that efforts should be made to "level the playing field" between groups of people * The term affirmative action refers to voluntary and mandatory efforts undertaken by federal, state, and local governments, private employers, and schools to combat discrimination and to promote equal opportunity for all in education and employment o Affirmative action seeks to create equal opportunity actively, not passively o In assessment, one way of implementing affirmative action is by altering test-scoring procedures according to set guidelines * As sincerely committed as they may be to principles of egalitarianism and fair play, test developers and test users must ultimately look to society at large – and, more specifically, to laws, administrative regulations, and other rules and professional codes of conduct – for guidance in the use of tests and test scores Psychology, tests, and public policy * Members of the general public become acquainted with the use of psychological tests in high-profile contexts, such as when an individual or a group has a great deal to gain or to lose as a result of a test score. In such situations, tests and other tools of assessment are portrayed as instruments that can have a momentous and immediate impact on one's life Legal and ethical considerations * Laws are rules that individuals must obey for the good of the society as a whole – or rules thought to be for the good of society as a whole * Whereas a body of laws is a body of rules, a body of ethics is a body of principles of right, proper, or good conduct * To the extent that a code of professional ethics is recognized and accepted by member of a profession, it defines the standard of care expected of members of that profession. In this context, we may define standard of care as the level at which the average, reasonable, and prudent professional would provide diagnostic or therapeutic services under the same or similar conditions The Concerns of the Public * Possible consequences of public misunderstanding include fear, anger, legislation, litigation, and administrative regulations * The extent of public concern about psychological assessment is reflected in the extensive involvement of the government in many aspects of the assessment process in recent decades * Assessment has been affected in numerous and important ways by activities of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of federal and state governments Some Significant Legislation and Litigation * Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 o Employment testing materials and procedures must be essential to the job and not discriminate against persons with handicaps * Civil Rights Act of 1964 (amended in 1991), also known as the equal opportunity employment act o It is an unlawful employment practice to adjust the scores of, use different cutoff scores for, or otherwise alter the results of employment-related tests on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin * Family education rights and privacy act (1974) o Parents and eligible students must be given access to school records, and have a right to challenge findings in records by a hearing * Health Insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 (HIPAA) o New federal privacy standards limit the ways in which health care providers and others can use patients' personal information * Education for all handicapped children (PL 94-142) (1975 and then amended several times thereafter, including IDEA of 1997 and 2004) o Screening is mandated for children suspected to have mental or physical handicaps o Once identified, an individual child must be evaluated be a professional team qualified to determine that child's special education needs o The child must be reevaluated periodically o Amended in 1986 to extend disability-related protections downward to infants and toddlers * Individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA) amendments of 1997 (PL 105-17) o Children should not be inappropriately placed in special education programs due to cultural differences o Schools should accommodate existing test instruments and other alternate means of assessment for the purpose of gauging th eprogress of special education students as measured by stand and district wide assessments * The no child left behind (NCLB) act of 2001 o This reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 was designed to "close the achievement gaps between minority and nonminority students and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers" by, among other things, setting strict standards for school accountability and establishing periodic assessments to gauge the progress of school districts in improving achievement o The "battle cry" driving this legislation was "Demographics are not destiny!" However, by 2012, it was clear that many, perhaps the majority of states, sought or will seek waivers to opt out NCLB and what has been viewed as its demanding bureaucratic structure, and overly ambitious goals * Hobson vs. Hansen (1967) o U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ability tests developed on Whites could not lawfully be used to track Black students in the school system o To do so could result in resegregation of desegregated schools * Tarasoff vs. Regents of the University of California (1974) o Therapists (and presumably psychological assessors) must reveal privileged information if a third party is endangered o In the words of the Court, "Protective privilege ends where the public peril begins." * Larry P. vs. Riles (1979 and reaffirmed by the same judge in 1986) o California judge ruled that the use of intelligence tests to place Black children in special classes had a discriminatory impact because the tests were "racially and culturally biased" * Debra P. vs. Turlington (1981) o Federal court ruled that minimum competency testing in Florida was unconstitutional because it perpetuated the effects of past discrimination * Griggs vs. Duke Power Company (1971) o Black employees brought suit against a private company for discriminatory hiring practices o The US Supreme Court found problems with "broad and general testing devices" and rules that tests must "fairly measure the knowledge or skills required by a particular job" * Albemarle Paper Company vs. Moody (1976) o An industrial psychologist at a paper mill found that scores on a general ability test predicted measures of job performance o However, as a group, Whites scored better than Blacks on the test o The US District Court found the use of the test to be sufficiently job related o An appeals court did not. It ruled that discrimination had occurred, however unintended * Regents of the University of California vs Bakke (1978) o When Alan Bakke, who had been denied admission, learned that his test scores were higher than those of some minority students who had gained admission to the University of California at Davis medical school, he sued. o A highly divided U.S. Supreme Court agreed that Bakke should be admitted, but it did not preclude the use of diversity considerations in admission decisions * Allen vs. District of Columbia (1993) o Blacks scored lower than Whites on a city fire department promotion test based on specific aspects of firefighting o The court found in favor of the fire department, ruling that "the promotional examination... was valid measure of the abilities and probable future success of those individuals taking the test" * Adarand Constructors, Inc. Vs. Pena et al. (1995) o A construction firm competing for a federal contract brought suit against the federal government after it lost a bid to a minority-controlled competitor, which the government had retained instead in the interest of affirmative action o The U.S. Supreme Court, in a close (5-4) decision, found in favor of the plaintiff, ruling that the government's affirmative action policy violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment o The Court ruled, "Government may treat people differently because of their race only for the most compelling reasons" * Jaffee vs. Redmond (1996) o Communication between a psychotherapist and a patient (and presumably a psychological assessor and a client) is privileged in federal courts * Grutter vs. Bollinger (2003) o In a highly divided decision, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the use of race in admissions decisions on a time-limited basis to further the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body * Mitchell vs. State 192 P.3d 721 (Nev. 2008) o Does a court order for a compulsory psychiatric examination of the defendant in a criminal trial violate that defendant's Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination? o Given the particular circumstances of the case, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the defendant's right to avoid self-incrimination was not violated by the trial court's order to have him undergo a psychiatric evaluation Legislation * Minimum competency testing programs are formal testing programs designed to be used in decisions regarding various aspects of students' education * The data from such programs was used in decision making about grade promotions, awarding of diplomas, and identification of areas for remedial instruction * Truth-in-testing legislation was also passed at the state level beginning in the 1980s * The primary objective of these laws was to give test takers a way to learn the criteria by which they are being judged * Some truth-in-testing laws require providing descriptions of (1) the test's purpose and its subject matter, (2) the knowledge and skills the test purports to measure, (3) procedures for ensuring accuracy in scoring, (4) procedures for notifying test takers of errors in scoring, and (5) procedures for ensuring the TestTaker's confidentiality * Truth-in-testing laws create special difficulties for test developers and publishers, who argue that it is essential for them to keep the test items secret * Gottfredson (2000) noted that although selection standards can often be improved, the manipulation of such standards "will produce only lasting frustration, not enduring solutions" * Gottfredson (2000) makes the point that those who advocate reversal of achievement standards obtain "nothing of lasting value by eliminating valid tests" * Rather than reversing achievement standards, society is best served by action to reverse other trends with deleterious effects (such as trends in family structure) * In the face of consistent gaps between members of various groups, Gottfredson emphasized the need for skills training, not a lowering of achievement standards or an unfounded attack on tests * Quota system is a selection procedure whereby a fixed number or percentage of applicants from certain backgrounds were selected Litigation * Law resulting from litigation (the court-mediated resolution of legal matters of a civil, criminal or administrative nature) can impact our daily lives * Litigation has sometimes been referred to as "judge-made law" because it typically comes in the form of a ruling by a court * To understand whether the trial judge acted properly, it is important to understand (1) a ruling that was made in the 1923 case of Frye vs. The United States and (2) a law subsequently passed by Congress, Rule 702 in the Federal Rules of Evidence (1975) * The Supreme Court ruled that the Daubert case be retired and that the trial judge should be given wide discretion in deciding what does and does not qualify as scientific evidence * General Electric Co. Vs. Joiner (1997), the Court emphasized that the trial court had a duty to exclude unreliable expert testimony as evidence * In the case of Kumho Tire Company Ltd. Vs. Carmichael (1999), the Supreme Court expanded the principles expounded in Daubert to include the testimony of all experts, whether or not the experts claimed scientific research as a basis for their testimony * A psychologist's testimony based on personal experience in independent practice (rather than findings from a formal research study) could be admitted into evidence at the discretion of the trial judge The Concerns of the Profession * Anticipating the present-day Standards, Ruch (1925), a measurement specialist, proposed a number of standards for tests and guidelines for test development Test-User Qualifications * As early as 1950 an APA Committee on Ethical Standards for Psychology published a report called Ethical Standards for the Distribution of Psychological Tests and Diagnostic Aids. o This report defined three levels of tests in terms of the degree to which the test's use required knowledge of testing and psychology * Level A: Tests or aids that can adequately be administered, scored, and interpreted with the aid of the manual and a general orientation to the kind of institution or organization in which one is working (for instance, achievement or proficiency tests) * Level B: Tests or aids that require some technical knowledge of test construction and use of supporting psychological and educational fields such as statistics, individual differences, psychology of adjustment, personnel psychology, and guidance (e.g., aptitude tests and adjustment inventories applicable to normal populations) * Level C: Tests and aids that require substantial understanding of testing and supporting psychological fields together with supervised experience in the use of these devices (for instance, projective tests, individual mental tests) * There is an ethical mandate to take reasonable steps to prevent the misuse of the tests and the information they provide * The obligations of professionals to test takers are set forth in a document called the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education * This document presents standards for educational test developers in four areas: (1) developing/selecting tests, (2) interpreting scores, (3) striving for fairness and (4) informing test takers * In the interest of the public, the profession of psychology, and other professions that employ psychological tests, it may now be time for that model legislation to be rewritten – with terms such as psychological testing and psychological assessment clearly defined and differentiated * Terms such as test-user qualifications and psychological assessor qualifications must also be clearly defined and differentiated * It seems that legal conflicts regarding psychological test usage partly stem from confusion of the terms psychological testing and psychological assessment * People who are not considered professionals by society may be qualified to use psychological tests (psychological testers) Testing people with disabilities * Challenges analogous to those concerning testtakers from linguistic and cultural minorities are present when testing people with disabling conditions. Specifically, these challenges may include (1) transforming the test into a form that can be taken by the test taker, (2) transforming the responses of the test taker so that they are scorable, and (3) meaningfully interpreting the test data * Another complex issue – this one, ethically charged – has to do with a request by a terminally ill individual for assistance in quickening the process of dying * In Oregon, the first state to enact "Death with Dignity" legislation, a request for assistance in dying may be granted only contingent on the findings of a psychological evaluation; life or death literally hangs in the balance of such assessments Computerized test administration, scoring, and interpretation * Computer-assisted psychological assessment (CAPA) has become more the norm than the exception * Major issues with CAPA o Access to test administration, scoring, and interpretation software o Compatibility of pencil and paper and computerized versions of tests o The value of computerized test interpretations o Unprofessional, unregulated "psychological testing" online Life-or-death psychological assessment * Oregon's Death with Dignity Act (ODDA) provides that a patient with a medical condition thought to give that patient 6 months or less to live may end his or her own life by voluntarily requesting a lethal dose of medication * The law requires that two physicians corroborate the terminal diagnosis and stipulates that either may request a psychological evaluation of the patient by a state-licensed psychologist or psychiatrist in order to ensure that the patient is competent to make the life-ending decision and to rule out impaired judgment due to psychiatric disorder * Assistance in dying will be denied to persons "suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder, or depression causing impaired judgment" * Some fear that professionals willing to testify to almost anything (so-called hired guns) will corrupt the process by providing whatever professional opinion is desired by those who will pay their fees * The ODDA Assessment Process o 1. Review the Records and case history * A goal is to understand the patient's current functioning in the context of many factors, ranging from the current medical condition and prognosis to the effects of medication and substance use o 2. Consultation with treating professionals * To better understand the patient's current functioning and current situation o 3. Patient interviews o 4. Interviews with family members and significant others * One objective is to explore from their perspective how the patient has adjusted in the past to adversity and how the patient has changed and adjusted to his or her current situation o 5. Assessment of competence * The assessor seeks to understand the patient's reasoning and decision-making process, including all information relevant to the decision and its consequences o 6. Assessment of psychopathology o 7. Reporting findings and recommendations The Rights of Test takers * The right of informed consent o Test takers have a right to know why they are being evaluated, how the test data will be used, and what (if any) information will be released to whom o With full knowledge of such information, testtakers give their informed consent to be tested o Competency in providing informed consent has been broken down into several components * Being able to evidence a choice asto whether one wants to participate * Demonstrating a factual understanding of the issues * Being able to reason about the facts of a study, treatment, or whatever it is to which consent is sought * Appreciating the nature of the situation * As an alternative, many standardized instruments are available * One such instrument is the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Treatment * Also known as the MacCAT-T, it consists of structured interviews based on the four components of competency listed above * Another consideration related to competency is the extent to which persons diagnosed with psychopathology may be incompetent to provide informed consent * If a test taker is incapable of providing an informed consent to testing, such consent may be obtained from a parent or a legal representative * Consent must be in written rather than oral form * The written form should specify * The general purpose of the testing * The specific reason it is being undertaken in the present case * The general type of instruments to be administered * One gray area with respect to the TestTaker's right of fully informed consent before testing involves research and experimental situations wherein the examiner's complete disclosure of all facts pertinent to the testing might irrevocably contaminate the test data * Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002) provides that psychologists * Do not use deception unless it is absolutely necessary * Do not use deception at all if it will cause participants emotional distress * Fully debrief participants o The right to be informed of test findings * Test takers have a right to be informed, in language they can understand, of the nature of the findings with respect to a test they have taken * If the test results, findings, or recommendations made on the basis of test data are voided for any reason (such as irregularities in the test administration), test takers have a right to know that as well * With sensitivity to the situation, the test user will inform the test taker (and the parent or the legal representative or both) of the purpose of the test, the meaning of the score relative to those of other test takers, and the possible limitations and margins of error of the test * A qualified professional should be available to answer any further questions that test takers (or their parents or legal representatives) have about the test scores * Ideally, counseling resources will be available for those who react adversely to the information presented o The right to privacy and confidentiality * The privacy right recognizes the freedom of the individual to pick and choose for himself the time, circumstances, and particularly the extent to which he wishes to share or withhold from others his attitudes, beliefs, behavior, and opinions * The information withheld in such a manner is termed privileged * It is information that is protected by law form disclosure in a legal proceeding * State statutes have extended the concept of privileged information to parties who communicate with each other in the context of certain relationships, including the lawyer-client relationship, the doctor- patient relationship, the priest-penitent reltaionship, and the husband-wife relationship * In most states, privilege is also accorded to the psychologist-client relationship * It is for the social good if people feel confident that they can talk freely to their attorneys, clergy, physicians, psychologists, and spouses * Confidentiality may be distinguished from privilege in that, whereas "confidentiality concerns matters of communication outside the courtroom, privilege protects clients from disclosure in judicial proceedings" * Privilege is not absolute * There are occasions when a court can deem the disclosure of certain information necessary and can order the disclosure of that information * The preservation of life would be deemed an objective more important than the non revelation of privileged information * A landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in this area was the 1974 case of Tarasoff vs. Regents of the university of California * In this case, a therapy patient had made known to his psychologist his intention to kill an unnamed but readily identifiable girl two months before the murder * The Court held that "protective privilege ends where the public peril begins," and so the therapist had a duty to warn the endangered girl of her peril * Clinicians may have a duty to warn endangered third parties not only of potential violence but of potential AIDS infection from an HIV-positive client as well as other threats to physical well-being * Another ethical mandate with regard to confidentiality involves the safekeeping of test data * In general, it is not a good policy to maintain all records in perpetuity * Relevant to the release of assessment-related information is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which took effect in April 2003. * These federal privacy standards limit the ways that health care providers, health plans, pharmacies, and hospitals can use patients' personal medical information * Personal health information may not be used for purposes unrelated to health care * In part due to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Jaffee vs. Redmond (1996), HIPAA singled out "psychotherapy notes" as requiring even more stringent protection than other records o The right to the least stigmatizing label * The Standards advise that the least stigmatizing labels should always be assigned when reporting test results * The court ruled in part that the psychological evaluation "was a professional report made by a public servant in good faith, representing his best judgment" Chapter 3: A Statistics Refresher * Relationship with tests is primarily that of a test user – the person who breathes life and meaning into test scores by applying the knowledge and skill to interpret them appropriately * You may one day create a test, whether in an academic or a business setting, and then have the responsibility for scoring and interpreting it * Test scores are frequently expressed as numbers, and statistical tools are used to describe, make inferences from, and draw conclusions about numbers Scales of Measurement * We may formally define measurement as the act of assigning numbers or symbols to characteristics of things (people, events, whatever) according to the rules * The rules used in assigning numbers are guidelines for representing the magnitude (or some other characteristic) of the object being measured  Example: Assign the number 12 to all lengths that are exactly the same length as a 12-inch ruler * A scale is a set of numbers (or other symbols) whose properties model empirical properties of the objects to which the numbers are assigned  A scale used to measure a continuous variable might be referred to as a continuous scale, whereas a scale used to measure a discrete variable might be referred to as a discrete scale * A distinction must be made, however, between what is theoretically possible and what is practically desirable * The units into which a continuous scale will actually be divided may depend on such factors as the purpose of the measurement and practicality * Measurement always involves error * In the language of assessment, error refers to the collective influence of all of the factors on a test score or measurement beyond those specifically measured by the test or measurement * The error part of the test score may be due to many different factors such as a distracting thunderstorm during the exam, or particular selection of test items the instructor chose to use for the test * Error is very much an element of all measurement, and it is an element for which any theory of measurement must surely account * Measurement using continuous scales always involves error * The measuring scale is conveniently marked off in grosser gradations of measurement * Most scales used in psychological and educational assessment are continuous and therefore can be expected to contain this sort of error o For example, a score of 25 on some test of anxiety should not be thought of as a precise measure of anxiety. o Rather, it should be thought of as an approximation of the real anxiety score had the measuring instrument been calibrated to yield such a score * There are four different levels or scales of measurement * The French word for black is noir o N: nominal o O: ordinal o I: interval o R: ratio Nominal Scales * Nominal scales are the simplest form of measurement * These scales involve classification or categorization based on one or more distinguishing characteristics, where all things measured must be placed into mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories Ordinal Scales * Like nominal scales, ordinal scales permit classification o However, in addition to classification, rank ordering on some characteristic is also permissible with ordinal scales * Although he may have never used the term ordinal scale, Alfred Binet, a developer of the intelligence test that today bears his name, believed strongly that the data derived from an intelligence test are ordinal in nature * It is a classification, not a measurement... we do not measure, we classify * Ordinal scales imply nothing about how much greater one ranking is than another * Even though ordinal scales may employ numbers or "scores" to represent the rank ordering, the numbers do not indicate units of measurement o For example, performance difference between the first-ranked job applicant and the second- ranked applicant may be small while the difference between the second- and third – ranked applicants may be large * Ordinal scales have no absolute zero point * In the case of a test of a job performance ability, every test taker, regardless of standing on the test, is presumed to have some ability; no TestTaker is presumed to have zero ability * Because there is no zero point on an ordinal scale, the ways in which data from such scales can be analyzed statistically are limited * One cannot average the qualifications of the first- and third-ranked job applicants, for example, and expect to come out with the qualifications of the second-ranked applicant Interval Scales * In addition to the features of nominal and ordinal scales, interval scales contain equal intervals between numbers o Each unit on the scale is exactly equal to any other unit on the scale * But like ordinal scales, interval scales contain no absolute zero point * With interval scales, we have reached a level of measurement at which it is possible to average a set of measurements and obtain a meaningful result * Because interval scales contain no absolute zero point, a presumption inherent in their use is that no test taker possesses none of the ability or trait being measured Ratio Scales * A ratio scale has a true zero point * All mathematical operations can meaningfully be performed because there exist equal intervals between the numbers on the scale as well as a true or absolute zero point Ratio-Level Measurement in the Palm of One's Hand * Dynamometer: an instrument used to measure strength of hand drip * On this test it is possible to achieve a score of 0, indicating a complete lack of exerted pressure Measurement Scales in Psychology * The ordinal level of measurement is most frequently used in psychology * Why would psychologists wants to treat their assessment data as interval when those data would be better described as ordinal? o The attraction of interval measurement for users of psychological tests is the flexibility with which such data can be manipulated statistically Describing Data * A distribution may be defined as a set of test scores arrayed for recording or study * A raw score is a straightforward, unmodified accounting of performance that is usually numerical * A raw score may reflect a simple tally, as in number of items responded to correctly on an achievement test Frequency Distributions * In a frequency distribution, all scores are listed alongside the number of times each score occurred * Often, a frequency distribution is referred to as a simple frequency distribution to indicate that individual scores have been used and the data have not been grouped * Frequency distribution used to summarize data is a grouped frequency distribution o In a grouped frequency distribution, test-score intervals, also called class intervals, replace the actual test scores * In most instances, a decision about the size of a class interval in a grouped frequency distribution is made on the basis of convenience * Upper and lower limits of the distribution * Frequency distributions of test scores can also be illustrated graphically * A graph is a diagram or chart composed of lines, points, bars, or other symbols that describe and illustrate data * Three kinds of graphs used to illustrate frequency distributions are the histogram, the bar graph, and the frequency polygon o A histogram is a graph with vertical lines drawn at the true limits of each test score (or class intervals) to be placed along the graph's horizontal axis (also referred to as the abscissa or X-axis) and for numbers indicative of the frequency of occurrence to be placed along the graph's vertical axis (also referred to as the ordinate or Y-axis) o In a bar graph, numbers indicative of frequency also appear on the Y-axis, and reference to some categorization (e.g., yes/no/maybe, male/female) appears on the X-axis * Here the rectangular bars typically are not contiguous o Data illustrated in a frequency polygon are expressed by a continuous line connecting the point where test scores or class intervals (as indicated on the X-axis) meet frequencies (as indicated on the Y-axis) Please refer to pictures 1-7 Skewness * Nature and extent to which symmetry is absent * Indication of how the measurement in a distribution are distributed * A distribution has a positive skew when relatively few of the scores fall at the high end of the distribution * Positively skewed examination results may indicate that the test was too difficult * More items that were easier would have been desirable in order to better discriminate at the lower end of the distribution of test scores * A distribution has a negative skew when relatively few of the scores fall at the low end of the distribution * Negatively skewed examination results may indicate that the test was too easy o In this case, more items of a higher level of difficulty would make it possible to better discriminate between scores at the upper end of the distribution * The term skewed carries with it negative implications from many students * One way of gauging the skewness of a distribution is through examination of the relative distances of quartiles from the median * In a positively skewed distribution, Q3-Q1 will be greater than the distance of Q2-Q1 * In a negatively skewed distribution, Q3-Q2 will be less than the distance of Q2-Q1 * In a distribution that is symmetrical, the distances from Q1 and Q3 to the median are the same Kurtosis * The term testing professionals use to refer to the steepness of a distribution in its center is kurtosis o Distributions are generally described as platykurtic (relatively flat), leptokurtic (relatively peaked), or somewhere in the middle – mesokurtic * Distributions that have high kurtosis are characterized by a high peak and "fatter" tails compared to a normal distribution o In contrast, lower kurtosis values indicate a distribution with a rounded peak and thinner tails o According to the original definition, the normal bell-shaped curve would have a kurtosis value of 3 o In other methods of computing kurtosis, a normal distribution would have kurtosis of 0, with positive values indicating higher kurtosis and negative values indicating lower kurtosis Please refer to picture number 8. Standard Scores * A standard score is a raw score that has been converted from one scale to another scale, where the latter scale has some arbitrarily set mean and standard deviation * Raw scores may be converted to standard scores because standard scores are more easily interpretable than raw scores * With a standard score, the position of a test taker's performance relative to other test takers is readily apparent * Zero plus or minus scale is so because it has a mean set at 0 and a standard deviation set at 1 * Raw scores converted into standard scores on this scale are more popularly referred to as z scores Please refer to picture 9. T-Scores * If the scale used in the computation of z-scores is called a zero plus or minus one scale, then the scale used in the computation of T-scores can be called a fifty plus or minus ten scale; that is, a scale with a mean set at 50 and a standard deviation set at 10 * This standard score system is composed of a scale that ranges from 5 standard deviations below the mean to 5 standard deviations above the mean * For example, a raw score that fell exactly at 5 standard deviations below the mean would be equal to a T-score of 0, a raw score that fell at the mean would be equal to a T of 50, and a raw score using T-scores is that none of the scores is negative Other standard scores * Stanine: a term that was a contraction of the words standard and nine * A standard score obtained by a linear transformation is one that retains a direct numerical relationship to the original raw score * A nonlinear transformation may be required when the data under consideration are not normally distributed yet comparisons with normal distributions need to be made o Resulting standard score does not necessarily have a direct numerical relationship to the original, raw score o As the result of a nonlinear transformation, the original distribution is said to have been normalized Please refer to pictures 10-11 Correlation and Inference * A coefficient of correlation (or correlation coefficient) is a number that provides us with an index of the strength of the relationship between two things The concept of correlation * Correlation is an expression of the degree and direction of correspondence between two things * A coefficient of correlation(r) expresses a linear relationship between two (and only two) variables, usually continuous in nature * It reflects the degree of concomitant variation between variable X and variable Y * The coefficient of correlation is the numerical index that expresses this relationship: It tells us the extent to which X and Y are "co-related" * If a correlation coefficient has a value of +1 or –1, then the relationship between the two variables being correlated is perfect – without error in the statistical sense * If two variables simultaneously increase or simultaneously decrease, then those two variables are said to be positively (or directly) correlated * A negative (or inverse) correlation occurs when one variable increases while the other variables decreases * If a correlation is zero, then absolutely no relationship exists between the two variables * Correlation coefficient is merely an index of the relationship between two variables, not an index of the causal relationship between two variables * Although correlation does not imply causation, there is an implication of prediction Please refer to pictures 12-13. The Spearman Rho * One commonly used alternative statistic is variously called a rank-order correlation coefficient, a rank- difference correlation coefficient, or simply Spearman's rho * The coefficient of correlation is frequently used when the sample size is small (fewer than 30 pairs of measurements) and especially when both sets of measurements are in ordinal (or rank-order) form Graphic representations of correlation * Bivariate distribution, a scatter diagram, a scattergram, or scatterplot is a simple graphing of the coordinate points for values of the X-variable (placed along the graph's horizontal axis) and the Y- variable (placed along the gaph's vertical axis) * Scatterplots are useful because they provide a quick indication of the direction and magnitude of the relationship, if any, between the two variables * To distinguish positive from negative correlations, note the direction of the curve * To estimate the strength of magnitude of the correlation, note the degree to which the points form a straight line * Scatterplots are useful in revealing the presence of curvilinearity in a relationship * Curvilinearity in this context refers to an "eyeball gauge" of how a curved graph is * Remember that Pearson r should be used only if the relationship between the variables is linear * If the graph does not appear to take the form of a straight line, the chances are good that the relationship is not linear * When the relationship is nonlinear, other statistical tools and techniques may be employed * A graph also makes the spotting of outliers relatively early * An outlier is an extremely atypical point located at a relatively long distance – an outlying distance – from the rest of the coordinate points in a scatterplot * In some cases, outliers are simply the result of administering a test to a very small sample of test takers * As in the case with very low raw scores or raw scores of zero, outliers can sometimes help identify a test taker who did not understand the instructions, was not able to follow the instructions, or was simply oppositional and did not follow the instructions * In other cases, an outlier can provide a hint of some deficiency in the testing or scoring procedures * The scatterplot indicates that the relationship between entrance test scores and grade point average is both linear and positive Meta-Analysis * Generally, the best estimate of the correlation between two variables is most likely to come not form a single study alone but form analysis of the data from several studies * Combine statistically the information across the various studies; that is what is done using a statistical technique called meta-analysis * Meta-analysis may be defined as a family of techniques used to statistically combine information across studies to produce single estimates of the data under study * The estimates derived, referred to as effect size, may take several different forms * In most meta-analytic studies, effect size is typically expressed as a correlation coefficient * A key advantage of meta-analysis over simply reporting a range of findings is that, in meta-analysis, more weight can be given to studies than have larger numbers of subjects * Some advantages to meta-analysis are o Meta-analysis can be replicated o The conclusions of meta-analyses tend to be more reliable and precise than the conclusions from single studies o There is more focus on effect size rather than statistical significance alone o Meta-analysis promotes evidence-based practice, which may be defined as professional practice that is based on clinical and research findings * The value of any meta-analytic investigation is very much a matter of the skill and ability of the meta- analyst, and use of an inappropriate meta-analytic method can lead to misleading conclusions


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