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Handbook Of Psychological Assessment, Case Conc... ##HOT##

There is great variety in cognitive tests and what they measure, thusrequiring a lengthier explanation. Cognitive tests are often separatedinto tests of ability and tests ofachievement; however, this distinction is not asclear-cut as some would portray it. Both types of tests involvelearning. Both kinds of tests involve what the test-taker has learnedand can do. However, achievement tests typically involve learning fromvery specialized education and training experiences; whereas, mostability tests assess learning that has occurred in one'senvironment. Some aspects of learning are clearly both; for example,vocabulary is learned at home, in one's social environment, andin school. Notably, the best predictor of intelligence test performanceis one's vocabulary, which is why it is often given as the firsttest during intelligence testing or in some cases represents the body ofthe intelligence test (e.g., the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test).Conversely, one can also have a vocabulary test based on words onelearns only in an academic setting. Intelligence tests are so prevalentin many clinical psychology and neuropsychology situations that we alsoconsider them as neuropsychological measures. Some abilities aremeasured using subtests from intelligence tests; for example, certainworking memory tests would be a common example of an intelligencesubtest that is used singly as well. There are also standalone tests ofmany kinds of specialized abilities.

Handbook of Psychological Assessment, Case Conc...

Performance on psychological tests often has significant implications(high stakes) in our society. Tests are in part the gatekeepers foreducational and occupational opportunities and play a role in SSAdeterminations. As such, results of psychological testing may havepositive or negative consequences for an individual. Often suchconsequences are intended; however, there is the possibility forunintended negative consequences. It is imperative that issues of testfairness be addressed so no individual or group is disadvantaged in thetesting process based upon factors unrelated to the areas measured bythe test. Biases simply cannot be present in these kinds of professionaldeterminations. Moreover, it is imperative that research demonstratesthat measures can be fairly and equivalently used with members of thevarious subgroups in our population. It is important to note that thereare people from many language and cultural groups for whom there are noavailable tests with norms that are appropriately representative forthem. As noted above, in such cases it is important for assessors toinclude a statement about this situation whenever it applies andpotential implications on scores and resultant interpretation.

Given the need for the use of standardized procedures, any personadministering cognitive or neuropsychological measures must be welltrained in standardized administration protocols. He or she shouldpossess the interpersonal skills necessary to build rapport with theindividual being tested in order to foster cooperation and maximaleffort during testing. Additionally, individuals administering testsshould understand important psychometric properties, including validityand reliability, as well as factors that could emerge during testing toplace either at risk. Many doctoral-level psychologists are well trainedin test administration; in general, psychologists from clinical,counseling, school, or educational graduate psychology programs receivetraining in psychological test administration. For cases in whichcognitive deficits are being evaluated, a neuropsychologist may beneeded to most accurately evaluate cognitive functioning (see Chapter 5 for a more detaileddiscussion on administration and interpretation of cognitive tests). Theuse of non-doctoral-level psychometrists or technicians in psychologicaland neuropsychological test administration and scoring is also a widelyaccepted standard of practice (APA, 2010; Brandt andvan Gorp, 1999; Pearson Education, 2015). Psychometrists are oftenbachelor's- or master's-level individuals who havereceived additional specialized training in standardized testadministration and scoring. They do not practice independently orinterpret test scores, but rather work under the close supervision anddirection of doctoral-level clinical psychologists orneuropsychologists.

As noted in Chapter 2, SSAindicates that objective medical evidence may include theresults of standardized psychological tests. Given the great variety ofpsychological tests, some are more objective than others. Whether apsychological test is appropriately considered objective has much to do withthe process of scoring. For example, unstructured measures that call foropen-ended responding rely on professional judgment and interpretation inscoring; thus, such measures are considered less than objective. Incontrast, standardized psychological tests and measures, such as thosediscussed in the ensuing chapters, are structured and objectively scored. Inthe case of non-cognitive self-report measures, the respondent generallyanswers questions regarding typical behavior by choosing from a set ofpredetermined answers. With cognitive tests, the respondent answersquestions or solves problems, which usually have correct answers, as well ashe or she possibly can. Such measures generally provide a set of normativedata (i.e., norms), or scores derived from groups of people for whom themeasure is designed (i.e., the designated population), to which anindividual's responses or performance can be compared. Therefore,standardized psychological tests and measures rely less on clinical judgmentand are considered to be more objective than those that depend on subjectivescoring. Unlike measurements such as weight or blood pressure standardizedpsychological tests require the individual's cooperation with respectto self-report or performance on a task. The inclusion of validity testing,which will be discussed further in Chapters 4 and 5, inthe test or test battery allows for greater confidence in the test results.Standardized psychological tests that are appropriately administered andinterpreted can be considered objective evidence. 041b061a72

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