Practical: Constructing a Psychological Test
Full course description
A psychologist is often consulted in the context of behavioral research, diagnostics, selection, coaching, training, and/or interventions. In this context, the psychologist makes extensive use of tests (performance tasks, questionnaires, etc.) to examine the behavior, thoughts, and/or emotions of a person under study. Graphology (handwriting analysis) and/or phrenology are still sometimes applied in jobbing and recruitment op personnel. How well the test results are a reflection of the person in question is dependent on the (psychometric) quality of the test being used. For one, it should be clearly defined what the test is supposed (or pretends) to measure. In addition, the test needs to reliably (accurately) measure behavior, one’s thoughts, or emotions, and there needs to be proof that the test indeed measures what it aims to measure (validity). However, the reality learns that the number of tests available on the market is limited: we do not have (psychometric sound) tests available for measuring all domains of behavior, thoughts, and/or emotions, in every target group (think of people with e.g., severe reading disabilities, visual impairments, or severe motor impairments). Furthermore, innovative trends arise in this field, for example the use of game elements to assess behavior and emotions. That means that many tests still need to be developed and/or that the psychometric qualities of many tests still need to be demonstrated, especially for specific target groups. During the practical, the students get "hands on" experience with innovations and/or the development of a new psychological test and what is involved in order to show that the (psychometric) quality of this instrument is sufficient. Students will work in small groups during the practical to either a) develop a test for a specific target group; or b) clarify why some techniques are not valid or reliable and suggest alternative tests or; c) will critically evaluate innovative developments from a psychometric point of view and make suggestions for quality improvement. In each case students will write a plan on how to test the psychometric properties of the new instrument or approach.
Students are able:
- to construct a test for a specific target group;
- to evaluate innovative developments and suggest quality improvements;
- to evaluate the psychometric qualities of a test by writing a plan on how to test the psychometric properties of a self-developed instrument;
- to write a scientific report on testing psychometric properties of an instrument.