What is a Test?
A test is an instrument used for measuring a sample of observable behavior in a man. In other words, it could be defined as a stimulus administered or presented to the examinee to elicit a response. This implies that a test has to be planned, constructed, administered, scored, and analyzed before the final reporting. It also means comparing the behavior of two or more persons.
What is a Psychological Test?
A psychological test can be defined as a form of appraisal service guidance counselors give within the clinical setting which consists of both objective (standardized test) and subjective (non-tests) forms.
Uses of Psychological Tests in Counseling
One of the tools in the hand of a good counselor is a psychological test that helps him to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. Whenever a psychological test is administered, it should serve one of the following uses;
SELECTION: Institutions of learning such as Universities, Polytechnics, Monotechnics, Colleges of Education e.t.c. make use of tests to accept or reject prospective students. Tests can also help organizations to make decisions on who to employ based on selection decisions.
CLASSIFICATION: Tests can be used to group students or pupils into various classes based on their ability or educational background.
PLACEMENT: Tests can be used to assign individuals to different levels of work based on an individual’s characteristics such as abilities, interests, aptitudes, and capabilities.
EVALUATION: Tests are used to evaluate counseling outcomes to assess the worth of counseling work. In essence, counselors may use tests to determine how effective or otherwise a counseling technique is in a situation.
DIAGNOSIS: Psychological tests may also be used to pinpoint the difficulty of a student on how to cope with his social environment, problems related to the student’s growth and development, or academic deficiencies impeding a client’s academic growth. If that is done, it becomes possible for the counselor and client to set up plans to resolve the difficulty
IDENTIFICATION: Tests are used to identify individual differences in such areas as student ability, interest, and aptitude.
GUIDANCE: They can be used to guide individuals to make useful decisions in the area of education and vocation. Such guidance will enable individuals to reach their goals without much stress.
EDUCATIONAL/ VOCATIONAL DECISION: With the aid of Psychological tests, occupational or educational decisions can easily be made by parents, teachers, and students. When parents understand their children’s abilities, potentialities, interests, and capabilities, they can help their children consider the best plans that suit the child’s goals.
ADJUSTMENT: Students are given the opportunity of knowing the result of their tests during counseling. The result which aims at facilitating and enhancing the personal realization of self can restructure their cognitive skills for adequate adjustments. It can also indicate the changes that are needed in some aspects of an individual’s environment.
Types of Psychological Test used in School Counseling
ACHIEVEMENT TEST: An achievement test is a test designed to measure the extent to which a learner has gained or achieved, usually through the effect of specific teaching or training in an area of the curriculum. An example of an achievement test is a teacher-made class test. An achievement test is used for the selection of students for secondary school like the Common Entrance Examination (CEE) conducted by WAEC. the selection into Universities like the JAMB, the General Certificate of Education (GCE), and the West Africa School General Certificate (WASC). The tests are fairly standardized. This test could be diagnostic to help the teacher and counsellor to determine the pupils’ performance and provide information on their weaknesses and strengths in a given school subject.
PROGNOSTIC OR READINESS ACHIEVEMENT TESTS: This is a type of test that is used to predict the performance of individuals in school subjects such as Mathematics, French, and other foreign languages.
INTELLIGENCE TESTS: Intelligence tests are designed to measure learning ability. They measure the general level of the educability of any person. This capacity to learn has been associated with inheritance and environment. While some argue that intelligence is inherited some say it is acquired. However, tests that are built to discover how much of this general capability one has been referred to as intelligence tests. This category of tests is used to predict achievement in different areas of learning.
APTITUDE TEST: An Aptitude test is one designed to predict the future performance of students in some activities or course of learning. It measures students’ ability to learn new tasks or to benefit from a course. An aptitude test may range from testing general scholastiC ability to one narrowed down to measure a single ability e.g creativity, Mathematical aptitude e.t.c.
PERSONALITY TEST: This is also known as the “Personality Inventory” or scale of personal characteristics. It is used to examine the affective or non-intellectual aspects of behavior
Personality tests can be used to test areas like emotional stability, friendliness, motivation, dominance, interests, attitudes, leadership, social ability, introversion, and extroversion.
PROJECTIVE TECHNIQUES: Projective techniques according to Atkinson and Hilgard (1983) attempt to explore the private personality and allow the individual to become much more involved in the responses. The projective technique assesses the mind of the individual which under normal circumstances cannot be assessed using an objective test inştrument.
Examples of projective techniques are
- Rorschach Inkblot,
- Thematic Appreciation Test,
- Completion Picture-true- arrangement,
- Checklist e.t.c.
OBSERVATION TECHNIQUE: This is an act of watching individuals, events, or situations systematically to obtain information about a specific behavior or situation. When observation is used, it allows a researcher to get first-hand information.
There are two types of observation. These are Participant and Non-participant observation.
In participant observation, the researcher is part of the group to be observed. He may be a regular member of the system or group being observed or he may join the group or system to conduct the observation. This is done so that the individuals being observed do not become suspicious of the researcher’s motives.
Advantages of Observation Method
- Researchers can see and describe behavior or situation in their natural form.
- It gives the researcher first-hand information about the behavior being assessed
- Behavior that cannot be assessed through any other techniques can easily be observed through observation.
Disadvantages of Observation Method
- Behaviour that cannot be seen may be difficult to observe through the obseryation method.
- It wastes a lot of time
- People can easily fake their behavior if they notice that they are being observed.