ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are Psychological Assessments?

Updated on March 28, 2016
profile image

Unsa is a Psychology major, and is also minoring in Sociology. She hopes to become a therapist and help make a positive difference.

In medicine, a test may be used to measure or arrive at a certain conclusion about a specific symptom for a diagnosis or to check if everything is okay in terms of an individuals physical well being. In psychology, however a test is used to acquire a sample behavior. It can also be used to measure overall performance. An assessment is the process that includes gathering data to make a psychological evaluation. Testing is known to be part of the assessment process and it helps in making the evaluation more valid and evident.

There are many different types of psychological tests, but it is important to understand that not all tests are the same. It is possible for different tests to measure the same variable but also to differ in terms of content and format (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). Content in this case refers to what is being tested, or the subject. Whereas, the format refers to the arrangement, plan, structure and or layout of the test (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). For example, different test makers might have a different approach to measuring attention span. One test developer might think that an oral response test may indicate more about the individual’s attention span, while the other test developer might use a questionnaire approach. However, a limitation that can present itself is a question that sets the bar straight- will both tests be able to indicate the longevity of the individuals attention span despite different content? In other words will they both produce the same results? The tests may also differ in the way they are scored, and interpreted. Some tests also have different guidelines as to how they should be monitored and carried out. For example, the oral response test may require the test taker to interpret the score whereas the questionnaire approach might require computer scanning and or a professional examiner to take a look at the answers so there is no false reporting of the test. As far as types go, amongst many there are specific tests that are administered such as a test that is going to measure achievement, a test measuring your career goals and plans, but also your listening, and management skills. It all depends on what your variable is, and the purpose of what you’re being tested for.

The type of test being taken is hugely correlated to setting of the test and vice versa. In an educational setting, the tests are normally set out to measure your academic standing- these kinds of tests are called achievement tests (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). Diagnostic tests are also taken in this setting- these tests highlight your strengths and weaknesses. In a clinical setting, tests are taken to arrive at diagnoses for the clients/patients behavior problem (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). For example, if a student is having difficulty concentrating in class a school psychologist will conduct an evaluation to puzzle out the underlying issue. The type of tests taken within this setting varies from intelligence tests to neuropsychological tests. In a counseling setting, a counselor is likely to measure the referee’s interests, as well as social and academic abilities (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). In a gerontological setting, quality of life is likely to be assessed as one ages the need for special care increases (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). It is also to screen for dementia which is a decline in cognitive functioning. In a military and business setting, testing is done to place the personnel’s in the right administrative position suitable to their abilities (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013).

While testing does have its perks and makes the assessment process easy, it does have its limitations and has the potential to be misused. One main point to note about this is the fact that not all tests administered will be applicable to the test taker. There may be language barriers that can disrupt the overall test score. Cultural differences might submerge as well and therefore it is important to understand the cultural background of the individual who is being assessed. For example, if a client were to take a test and English was not his or her first language he or she would have difficulties answering the questions. On a cultural level, gestures and expressions are likely to differ from culture to culture. Where eye contact is important in the Western culture as it it normally expresses confidence in the Pakistani culture eye contact might be seen as disrespectful. In these cases, it is important to accommodate the test according to the test takers capabilities with no negative effect in the assessment process. Different people have different standards as well and that again is correlated to ones culture. Women in Indonesia are likely to have different mannerisms then women in the US. A test is misused when a test administer registers the wrong kind of test in a setting where it is not appropriate. For example, if a personality test were to be taken in an educational setting it wouldn’t be relevant because in an educational setting test takers are to administer tests that have to do with academics- while personality tests can help the individual understand him or herself better it serves no purpose in an educational setting as a whole. A test can also be misused when useless tests are administered to someone who doesn’t really need them.

When a test is administered it is significant that the code of professional ethics is acknowledged and met (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). However, sometimes there are legal and ethical issues that immerse and if these issues are not addressed it could be turned into a lawsuit. Some issues that might arise during this process can include the test being racially offensive, the test scores being biased and the scores being altered, the personal information of the client being released, clients being treated disrespectfully and unequally, useless tests being administered for the purpose of making more money (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013).

Conclusively, should you go through the process of psychological testing- do not hesitate to ask the tester questions such as:

- Why you are taking the test?

- Whether the test is relative?

- How long the test will take?

- It’s limitations

- Whether the code of professional ethics is being met


Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Sturman, D. E. (2013). Psychological Assessment and Testing; An Introduction to Tests and Measurements . New York City, New York, United States of America: McGraw-Hill.

Framingham, J. (n.d.). Types of Psychological Testing. Retrieved Novemeber 30th , 2015, from PsychCentral :

Have you ever taken a psychological assessment?

See results

© 2016 Unsa Memon


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)