This book clearly and accurately reflects the current field of psychological testing. It focuses on the use of psychological tests to make important decisions about individuals in a variety of settings. Exploring the theory, methods, and applications of psychological testing, it provides a full and fair evaluation of the advantages and drawbacks of psychological testing in general and selected tests in particular. Chapter topics include expansive coverage of neuropsychological testing; the impact of testing on society; application of psychological tests in the contexts of education, industry, and clinical settings; computerized test administration and interpretation; consistency of test scores; the process of test development; ability, interest, and personality testing; and clinical applications and assessment. For individuals interested in the latest research available and sometimes controversial issues involved in psychological testing and measurement.
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An exploration of the theory, methods, and applications of psychological testing.From the Inside Flap:
Tests are used to make decisions. This simple sentence describes both the theme and the rationale of this book. Too often, psychological testing is presented as a dry, technical, abstract subject. It is not. Psychological tests have a substantial impact on a variety of important decisions. In some settings, such as the armed services, tests represent the only feasible method of making selection and classification decisions. The point is that tests affect people's lives, for good or for ill, and a firm understanding of psychological testing is necessary in many of the settings where important decisions (e.g., college admissions, job placement, clinical assessments) must be made about individuals.
Most students in a testing course have taken many tests and will probably take many more in the future. These students have a real, practical interest in testing. They are also likely to be skeptical about the accuracy and the value of psychological tests. A good part of your job when teaching a testing course is to present a full and fair evaluation of the advantages and drawbacks of psychological testing. We believe that this can best be done by focusing on the impact of tests on decisions. Students generally show little interest in learning a "laundry list" of test names, but they are very interested in knowing how tests are used and whether the use of tests leads to better or worse decisions than would be reached without tests.
Our text is divided into four sections. In Part I (Chapters 1 through 3), we introduce the concepts of psychological testing and discuss the impact of testing on society. Part II (Chapters 4 through 10) discusses the principles of psychological measurement and the techniques used to analyze tests. Part III (Chapters 11 through 17) discusses the development of tests, with particular attention to the domains of cognitive ability, interests, and personality. Part IV (Chapters 18 through 21) discusses the use of psychological tests to make important decisions about individuals.
This book does not have several features found in other testing books. First, we do not cover dozens of obscure tests. Rather, we have focused on widely used or technically superior exemplars of the major classes of tests. You will not encounter in this book many tests that are never heard of outside a psychological measurement class, and, frankly, we see no good reason why you should. Second, we do not cover several topics that, while important, have little relevance for decision making. Thus, we do not discuss at length topics such as attitude measurement or the assessment of values.
Each chapter contains one or more brief sections entitled "Critical Discussion." The critical discussion sections present a variety of issues that are controversial (e.g., "Should IQ Scores of Black Examinees Be Based on White Norms?" in Chapter 5), or that illustrate applications of concepts discussed in the chapters (e.g., "Using Item Response Theory to Detect Test Bias," in Chapter 10), or that provide a different perspective of familiar material (e.g., "Personnel Selection From the Applicant's Point of View," in Chapter 19). These critical discussions may provide ideas for further classroom discussions, term papers, or projects and are designed to help your students integrate material from this course with their other interests and knowledge bases.
As you'll note when reading through the text, we are, on the whole, optimistic about psychological testing. There are areas where the technology has failed to keep up with the theory, where the basic theories are flawed, or where the applications of testing have done more harm than good. On the whole, however, psychological tests often provide the fairest and most accurate method of making important decisions. In part, this reflects the strength of tests and, in part, it reflects the weakness of the competition (e.g., interviews, letters of recommendation, clinical intuition). In any case, we think that psychological tests do make a contribution and are likely to be with us for a long time to come. We hope that this text will contribute to your students' understanding of the advantages and drawbacks of psychological testing.
We have made many changes in preparing this revision. First, we have rearranged several chapters in a way that we think makes the book easier to follow and more useful to students. Second, many important changes have occurred in the field of testing since our last edition, most notably new editions of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III), The California Psychological Inventory (CPI, Third Edition), and the Personality Research Form, as well as the introduction of the GRE Writing Assessment. Recent developments in a number of areas are reviewed in this edition.
Finally, at the end of every chapter, we identify and define several key terms that represent important concepts introduced or discussed in that chapter. These key terms provide capsule summaries of important points introduced in each chapter. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book could not have been produced without the help and encouragement of many of our colleagues. We particularly thank Frank Landy, who encouraged us to write the first edition and who suggested the overall structure for the book. We thank Dennis Roberts, who collaborated in the early development of the book and who contributed substantially to the overall structure and focus of the book. We also thank the reviewers for their valuable feedback: Dr. Chockalingam Viswesuaran, Florida International University; Associate Professor Maureen E. Kenny, Boston College; and Professor Jerome Siegel, City College of New York. Finally, we thank colleagues who have helped us in formulating our ideas and presentations or alerted us to errors and omissions in our first four editions. These include Jeanette Cleveland, George Thornton, Kurt Geisinger, and numerous instructors and students who have provided useful suggestions. We also appreciate feedback from several of our colleagues who have suggested ways of improving our previous editions.
Kevin R. Murphy
Charles O. Davidshofer
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