Interpretation of Test Results

In this section we’ll review test interpretation and the science used for that purpose, but first:

What is a Test? says it is a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use. What is a test, who can use certain types of tests, the ethics involved and the standards for test construction and use are all defined in detail in the book, Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

Psychological tests are formal measures of mental functioning that are objective and quantifiable. They are administered in a standardized fashion; i.e., in the same way by all examiners. Psychological techniques, however, may be less objective and rely on theory more than normative comparison, such as the Rorschach Psychodiagnostique which relies more on subjective interpretation.

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The tools often referred to globally as “tests” can inventories, measurements, questionnaires, and scales as well as psychological tests. The American Psychological Association notes that the “Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing” were approved as APA policy by the APA Council of Representatives in August 2013. The 2014 edition of the "Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing" is now available. The Testing Standards are a product of the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education who have collaboratively published them since 1966.

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