Essay Psychology Testing Worksheet

9643 Words Nov 30th, 2010 39 Pages
Validity and Reliability

The overall problem with psychological tests concerns their ability to measure what they are supposed to measure.

The accuracy, or usefulness, of a test is known as its validity. For example, suppose you wanted to develop a test to determine which of several job applicants would work well in a bank. Would an arithmetic test be a valid test of job success? Well, not if the job required other skills, such as manual dexterity or social skills.

Construct Validity refers to the ability of a test to measure the psychological construct, such as depression, that it was designed to measure. One way this can be assessed is through the test’s convergent or divergent validity, which refers to whether a test can
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Well, there’s no psychological test that can measure any of this. The real “test” is in the encounter with life itself.

So, when trying to select good candidates for police officers, if it’s too difficult to “select in” good traits, then the next best option is to “select out” obvious negative qualities. And that’s where the MMPI-2 comes in. This psychological instrument measures levels of psychopathology. It can tell if someone is always depressed, has bizarre ways of thinking, is always complaining about health problems, or is socially inhibited or overly aggressive, and so on—those sorts of things.

Now, anyone with common sense can tell that someone who is free of obvious negative traits won’t necessarily make a good police officer—or be good at any specific career, for that matter. There’s a lot more that goes into any career than a freedom from psychopathology. Still, the MMPI-2 can be used as a rough screening device to eliminate some obvious problems.

However, if the MMPI-2 alone were used for candidate selection, its validity would be stretched way beyond reason, and some serious mistakes would be made. On the one hand, many candidates without obvious psychopathology—but who still don’t have all the “right stuff”—would be accepted anyway. On the other hand, candidates with some scale elevations could be eliminated even if they may have been functioning well in life

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