Study Psychological Assessment by distance learning

  • Learn to determine why and when to use psychological assessment.
  • Develop an understanding of the different types of assessment available (e.g. Behavioural Assessment, Wechsler Intelligence and Memory Scales, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, etc.).

Psychological tests assess and evaluate information that is given to the examiner by the client. This information is in the form of answers to interview questions or as answers on paper-or on a computer-to specific questions. Ultimately, a test's accuracy depends on how carefully and seriously the client answers the questions they are asked.

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Psychological Testing Course - How Do You assess a Person's State of Mind?

  • Learn to determine why and when to use psychological assessment

  • Understand different types of assessment -Behavioural Assessment, Wechsler Intelligence and Memory Scales, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, etc.

  • Learn how to use psychological assessment


What is a psychological assessment?

A psychological assessment is when a skilled psychologist uses the techniques and tools of psychology to learn general or specific facts about another person, either to information others how they function or to predict their behaviour and functioning in the future.

Mahoney and Ward (1976) stated that assessments -

  • Often use tests

  • Typically, do not follow defined procedures or steps

  • Contribute to a decision making process to some problem, often be redefining a problem, breaking the problem down into smaller pieces or highlighting parts of a problem

  • Requires that the examiner considers, evaluates and integrates the data

  • Is less inflexible and routine

  • Is individualised

  • Produces results that cannot be solely evaluated on psychometric grounds

Assessment is usually for the point of diagnosis or classification. That is, placing a person into a loosely or strictly defined category of people. This allows us to understand what they are like in general and assess the presence of other relevant characteristics based on people similar to them.


Course Structure and Lesson Content

There are seven lessons in this course, as follows:

Lesson 1.  Introduction

  • What is psychological assessment?
  • Types of psychological tests.
  • Achievement tests.
  • Aptitude tests.
  • Intelligence tests.
  • Occupational tests.
  • Personality tests.
  • History of psychological testing.
  • Justification for using tests.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of using psychometric testing.
  • Ethnicity and different cultures.
  • Psychological testing of language minority and culturally different children.
  • Why your child should be tested.
  • Why it is important for parents to know about testing.
  • Validity and reliability.
  • Construct, discriminant and convergent validity.
  • Test retest reliability.

Lesson 2.  Context of Clinical Assessment

  • Ethical practice.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Case study: confidentiality.
  • Informed consent.
  • Record keeping.
  • Dual relationships.
  • Professional boundaries.
  • Selecting tests.
  • Case study: ethics  and lie detection.
  • Computer assisted assessment.
  • Virtual reality; new tool for psychological assessment.
  • Personality traits and designing a questionnaire.
  • Weaknesses.
  • Ambiguity and bias.
  • Closed and open questions.

Lesson 3.  The Assessment Interview

  • The interview.
  • Screening for psychological disorders.
  • Structured and unstructured interviews.
  • SCID.
  • Assessing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among veterans.
  • Screening and referral procedure overview.
  • If patient refuses referral to mental health care.
  • Use of a primary care screen.
  • Discussing screening results with patients.
  • Discern if traumatic events are ongoing.
  • Making a recommendation.
  • Scheduling a follow up.
  • Psychometric properties of SCID.

Lesson 4.  Behavioural Assessment

  • Behaviourism.
  • Kinds of consequences.
  • Reinforcers.
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic reinforcers.
  • Consequences and timing.
  • The Premack principle.
  • Extinction.
  • Criticisms of behaviourism.
  • Methods of behavioural assessment.
  • The focus of assessment.
  • Functional analysis.
  • Analysis of problem behaviour.
  • Motivational analysis.
  • Behavioural v. traditional assessment.

Lesson 5.  Wehsler Intelligence Scales

  • Introduction.
  • Measuring intelligence.
  • Cognitive, cognitive contextual and biological theories.
  • Psychometric theories.
  • Wechsler Intelligence scales.
  • Normal results.
  • Sub tests, verbal subtests, performance subtests.
  • Cultural bias.
  • Precautions with intelligence testing.
  • The intelligence test as a tool.

Lesson 6. Wechsler Memory scales

  • Memory.
  • Wechsler Memory test.
  • Wechsler Memory Scale III.

Lesson 7.  Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Assessment
  • False negatives; false positives.

Course Duration: 100 hours


Course Aims

  • Explain the main kinds of psychological tests and why they are used, and meaning of test reliability and validity.

  • Explain ethical and other factors that constrain clinical assessment.

  • Describe a structured and an unstructured interview.

  • Explain behavioural assessment and how it can be conducted.

  • Discuss Wechsler scales in detail.

  • Explain the purpose and use of the Wechsler Memory Test.

  • Explain the purpose and usage of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.


What you may do in this course

  • Consider why are reliability and validity important in Psychological Assessment.
  • List and describe the different types of validity.
  • List and describe the different types of reliability.  
  • Discuss the advantage and disadvantages of using psychometric tests.
  • What are the following tests used for – a) Achievement tests? b) Aptitude tests? c) Intelligence tests? d) Occupational tests?
  • Consider - Have you ever taken a group or individual achievement or intelligence test? If so: 
    a) Describe your general impressions of the test and the testing situation. b) Describe your perceptions of the purposes of administering the tests. c) What outcomes occurred as a result of your participation? What impact (if any) did the test taking experience(s) have on your life? d) How you felt during testing. What factors might have enhanced or negatively affected your performance? What sources of error may have been operating? If you have not taken such a test, ask someone who has.
    What do you consider characteristics of a "good" test and a "bad" test?
    Give different examples of test formats (e.g., computerized tests). What has your own experience been with computerized tests? How do the advantages of computer-assisted psychological assessment from the standpoint of the test user, compare to your perceptions as the test taker?
    Using your friends’ comments on the test you designed in the set task, discuss how you could improve your questionnaire.


Types of Psychological Tests

Psychological tests fall into several categories:

Achievement tests are usually seen in educational or employment settings, and they attempt to measure how much you know about a certain topic (i.e., your achieved knowledge), such as mathematics or spelling.

Aptitude tests are also generally used in educational and employment settings, and they attempt to measure how much of a capacity you have (i.e., your aptitude) to master material in a particular area, such as mechanical relationships.

Intelligence tests attempt to measure your intelligence, or your basic ability to understand the world around you, assimilate its functioning, and apply this knowledge to enhance the quality of your life. Intelligence, therefore, is a measure of a potential, not a measure of what you've learned (as in an achievement test), and so it is supposed to be independent of culture. The trick is to design a test that can actually be culture-free; most intelligence tests fail in this area to some extent for one reason or another.

Neuropsychological tests attempt to measure deficits in cognitive functioning (i.e., your ability to think, speak, reason, etc.) that may result from some sort of brain damage, such as a stroke or a brain injury.

Occupational tests attempt to match your interests with the interests of persons in known professions. The logic here is that if the things that interest you in life match up with, say, the things that interest most school teachers, then you might make a good school teacher yourself.

Personality tests attempt to measure your basic personality style and are most used in research or forensic settings to help with clinical diagnoses. Two of the most well-known personality tests are

Specific clinical tests attempt to measure specific clinical matters, such as your current level of anxiety or depression.


Enrol on Psychological Assessment and -

  • Learn to determine why and when to use psychological assessment, and develop an understanding of the different types of assessment available (eg. Behavioural Assessment, Wechsler Intelligence and Memory Scales, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, etc).
  • Receive high quality course materials and support from our specialist Psychology Tutors.

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