Ideal for those working in psychology, counselling, psychotherapy, research, education and personnel management, our Certificate of Psychological Assessment will introduce you to the principles and practice of psychological assessment. Its focus is not on teaching you how to carry out, interpret and score test findings, but rather on the pros and cons of a number of psychological tests and when to use them.
You will gain insights into tests relevant to work aptitudes, intellectual ability, vocational interests, personality, values and attitudes, and how these tests are used individually and in combination as part of an overall psychological assessment.
You will also learn about assessment planning, report writing, interviewing as an assessment tool, and the social and ethical implications of assessments in contexts such as in socially and linguistically diverse populations.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a psychological assessment course include:
- Learning about the types of psychological tests
- Exploring achievement, aptitude, intelligence, occupational and personality tests
- Studying the history of psychological testing
- Gaining insights into the justification for using tests
- Examining the advantages and disadvantages of using psychometric testing
- Understanding psychological testing of language minority and culturally different children
- Learning about construct, discriminant and convergent validity
- Exploring test-retest reliability
- Studying the context of clinical assessment
- Gaining insights into confidentiality, informed consent and ethical practice
- Examining record keeping, professional boundaries and dual relationships
- Understanding ethics and lie detection
- Learning about computer-assisted assessment
- Exploring new tools for assessment including virtual reality
- Studying personality traits and how to design a questionnaire
- Gaining insights into weaknesses
- Examining bias, ambiguity and closed and open questions
- Understanding the assessment interview
- Learning how to screen for psychological disorders
- Exploring Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
- Gaining an understanding of the psychometric properties of SCID
- Studying how to assess Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among veterans
- Gaining insights into screening and referral procedures
- Examining how to discern if traumatic events are ongoing
- Understanding how to make recommendations and schedule follow-ups
- Learning about behavioural assessment including behaviourism
- Exploring the kinds of consequences
- Understanding behavioural versus traditional assessment
History of Psychological Testing
When studying a psychological assessment course, you will learn about the history of psychological testing, which began to take shape in around 2200 BCE! Here is a brief rundown of the types of tests, and the individuals who have made a lasting impact on the science.
- 2200 – large-scale imperial examination tests were conducted in China to evaluate public officials.
- 1800 – Babylonians develop astrology and Greeks later redefined it to predict and describe personalities.
- 500 – Pythagoras begins using physiognomy (an individual’s expressions or facial features) to evaluate personality.
- 400 – Hippocrates described the four temperaments as part of his humorology concept (that bodily fluids affect human behaviours and personality traits) for the treatment of physical and mental illness.
- 400 – Plato suggested that individuals should seek employment that is consistent with their abilities.
- 175 – Galenus designed experiments to show that it’s the brain, not the heart that is the origin of intellect.
- 500 – Science takes a backseat to superstition and faith and the history of psychological testing is temporarily halted.
- 1200– An interest in individual differences emerges as people begin to question whether those “in league with Satan” did so voluntarily – trials for witchery and sorcery were common at this time.
- 1265 – Thomas Acquinas asserts that the notion of the immortal soul should be replaced by the notion of a human’s capacity to think and reason.
- 1550 – The Renaissance witnesses an appreciation for science and a rebirth in philosophy.
- 1698 – Juan Huarte publishes The Tyral of Wits – the first book to propose assessment discipline.
- 1770 – Science and philosophy advances with the writings of German, French and English philosophers, and Rene Descartes proposes the mind-body question.
- 1823 – The Journal of Phrenology is founded to further the study of human talents and abilities. It proposed that human qualities are localised in concentrations of brain fibre.
- 1869 – Sir Francis Galton publishes a study of genius and heredity. This pioneered a statistical technique that Karl Pearson would later refer to as “correlation”.
- 1879 – Wilhelm Wundt coined the term “structuralism”, which relied heavily on an assessment tool called “introspection” whereby individuals try to describe their conscious experience of a stimulus.
- 1895 – James McKeen Cattell helped launch the beginning of mental testing.
- 1900 – Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams. It heavily influenced approaches to understanding personality for the next 50 years.
- 1905 – Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon publish a 30-item scale of intelligence designed to help classify school children.
- 1908 -Frank Parsons opens the Vocational Bureau of Boston and begins offering career guidance to young adults.
- 1914 – World War I brings about a boom in psychological testing as thousands of American recruits are screened for emotional and intellectual functioning.
- 1919 – Robert Woodworth publishes the Personal Data Sheet to help identify whether army recruits were susceptible to shell shock.
- 1921 – Hermann Rorschach publishes his famous monograph, Psychodiagnostics, which would lead to the development of the Rorschach Inkblot Test.
- 1926 – The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is developed and administered for the first time.
- 1927 – Carl Spearman publishes a theory of intelligence where he surmises the existence of a general intellectual ability factor.
- 1938 – The use of mental tests increases and at least 4000 psychological tests are now believed to be in use.
- 1943 – The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was published (see below).
- 1949 – The first version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is published (see below).
- 1949 – The first edition of the 16PF Questionnaire is released for public use.
- 1955 – The first version of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale was published (see below).
- 1962 – Isabel Briggs Meyers and Katherine Briggs publish the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
- 1962- Warren T. Norman publishes his first article with reference to the Big Five Personality Traits.
- 1970 – John L. Holland publishes the first version of the Self-Directed Search (SDS), which was intended to help individuals identify careers that match their personalities.
Types of Intelligence Tests
When you study our psychological assessment course, you will also become familiar with a number of testing theories that are used to measure intelligence and cognitive ability and offer insights into personality and psychopathology. These include:
The Wechsler Intelligence Scales
Romanian-American psychologist Wechsler developed two well-known intelligence scales — the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).
The WAIS, which was first published in 1955, is an IQ test designed to measure cognitive ability and intelligence in adults and older adolescents. Wechsler believed that rather than a single general intelligence factor, intelligence was made up of a number of different mental abilities. The test provided a profile of the test-takers overall strengths and weaknesses. It was measured by comparing their scores to those of others in their general age group. Individuals that scored between 85 and 115 out of 100 were considered to have average, normal intelligence.
The WISC is an intelligence test for children aged between six and 16. It generates an IQ score that represents a child’s general intellectual ability on five primary index scores. These are Visual Spatial Index, Verbal Comprehension Index, Working Memory Index, Fluid Reasoning Index and Processing Speed Index. Results can identify cognitive abilities and identify specific learning disabilities like dyscalculia and dyslexia.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
The MMPI is a psychometric test of adult psychopathology and personality. It is used by mental health professionals to assist with diagnoses, develop treatment plans, assist with forensic psychology, screen job candidates or as part of a therapeutic assessment procedure.
The original MMPI was developed in 1943 by Americans Starke R. Hathaway (a psychologist) and J.C. McKinley (a neurologist) as a means of evaluating mental health problems in medical and psychiatric settings. It follows a self-reporting format and provides the test user with scores on a number of scales that address important clinical problem areas, such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse. It also allows practitioners to appraise the test-taker’s willingness to disclose information. If their cooperation is assured, the test can be effective in highlighting personality traits and mental health symptoms and specific problems the individual may be experiencing.
Gain insights into what can be tested, the appropriate use of tests, and how psychological tests are constructed with a psychological assessment course, such as our Certificate of Psychological Assessment.