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Testing and Individual Differences Rapid Review for AP Psychology

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Mar 4, 2011

More in-depth study guides for these concepts can be found at:

Tests are used to make decisions.

    Psychometricians (measurement psychologists)—focus on methods for acquiring and analyzing psychological data; measure mental traits, abilities, and processes.

Standardization and norms:

    Constructs—hypothetical abstractions related to behavior and defined by groups of objects or events.
    Standardization—two-part test development procedure: first establishes test norms from the test results of the large representative sample then assures that the test is both administered and scored uniformly for all test takers.
    Norms—standards used to compare scores of test takers.

Reliability and validity:

    Reliability—consistency of results over time (repeatability); methods of measurement include test-retest, split half, alternate form.
    Validity—test measures what it is supposed to measure; methods of measurement include face, content, predictive, construct.

Types of tests:

  • Performance tests—test taker knows how to respond to questions and tries to succeed.
  • Speed tests—large number of relatively easy items in limited test period;
  • Power tests—items of varying difficulty with adequate test period.
    Aptitude tests—assess person's capacity to learn, predict future performance (example: SAT).
    Achievement tests—assess what a person has already learned (example: AP test).
    Group tests—test many people at one time; test taker works alone; cheaper; more objective.
    Individualized tests—interaction of one examiner with one test taker; expensive; subjective grading.

Ethics and standards in testing:

    APA and other guidelines detail standards to promote best interests of client, guard against misuse, respect client's right to know results, and safeguard dignity. Informed consent needed. Confidentiality guaranteed.
    Culture-relevant tests—test skills and knowledge related to cultural experiences of the test takers.

Intelligence and intelligence testing:

    Reification—construct treated as a concrete, tangible object.
    Intelligence—aggregate or global capacity to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with the environment.
    Stanford-Binet intelligence test—constructed by Lewis Terman—was an individual IQ test with IQ calculated using ratio formula: Mental age/chronological age × 100. Now, IQ based on deviation from mean, for children and for adults. Five ability areas assessed both verbally and nonverbally.
    Wechsler intelligence tests—Three age-based individual IQ tests: WPPSI (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence), WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale); two scores—verbal and performance; difference between two helpful for identifying learning disabilities; deviation IQ score—100 mean/mode/median, 15 pt SD; good for extremes of gifted and mentally retarded or cognitively disabled.
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