Psychometric Testing / Intellectual Assessment

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Psychometric Testing / Intellectual Assessment

Post by miriam »

Why test?

The point of testing, to me, is to compare someone to general population norms, and to also work out whether there is a pattern in their stengths and weakenesses. This means that you can identify someone who is either above or below what is typical in any area (for example, the bottom 2% of the population in terms of intellectual ability is known as having learning disabilities and may be able to access specific support). You can also identify whether a person has certain areas in which they are not as able, which form specific deficits (the "hidden disabilities" like dyslexia, specific memory defecits, visuo-spatial problems, etc).

However, tests are only as accurate as the way in which they are administered, and there are advantages and disadvantages to using them. Like with exams, they make some people nervous, and underperform. Other people can perform better in a structured one-to-one of an assessment than they can in the real world. Testing also relies on the person doing the testing being warm, explaining the requirements, and being meticulous about their methods of administration - sloppy or intimidating testing can provide false results. Also, for some people it is important to look at life skills and not just intelligence per se. And it doesn't take away the need to get other sources of information, eg school, parents, carers, employers, etc. You need to have a rounded pictue of someone to ensure that testing doesn't just reduce a person to numbers!

I like the series of books called "Intelligent Testing" by Kaufmann, to think further about how and why to use structured assessments.

I'd say its not the kind of thing you can bluff having done, but if you know the principles it is easy enough to pick up on the job. After all, the first few times we all read from the manual (after having practised on friends and family).

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