Observing and Maintaining the Ethical Code of Conduct During Psychological Testing … Research Paper
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Ethics, Technology and Trends in Testing
Ethics, Technology, and Trends in Testing
It is vital that a psychologist ensure that they observe ethical concerns and principles when they are carrying out psychological tests. The APA has laid out the various ethical principles that should be followed by psychologists when dealing with patients and conducting research. The use of technology has been beneficial, but it has also come with added concerns in regards to ethics. In as much as technology saves time and makes the evaluation process simpler, it also raises ethical concerns like confidentiality, accuracy, and psychologist competency. These issues should be properly addressed if technology is to continue being used for psychological testing. However, one needs to understand that the growing use of technology within psychology is to further the clients' interests not the psychologist.
Test Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation
Psychological tests are visual, written, or verbal evaluations that are administered in order to assess the emotional and cognitive functioning of adults and children. The tests are mainly used to assess the mental attributes and abilities, including ability and achievement, personality and neurological functioning. However, psychological tests are prone to errors, and they are mostly categorized as systemic and unsystemic errors. In the administration of the psychological test, there might be errors in the instructions, which would result in the wrong understanding of the question (Kane, 2013). The errors might exist in the instructions provided to the psychologist or the test-taker. Wrong instructions do reduce the reliability of the test. In order for a test to be deemed reliable, it must have an accurate method for scoring and interpreting results. All psychological tests come with a set of scoring instructions. If the scoring instructions have errors, then the test would not be reliable. How one psychologist interprets the results of a test is not the same way another psychologist would interpret the results. Therefore, it is vital that the correct interpretation is made by following the provided criteria.
APA ethical principles govern how a psychologist can administer a test in order to ensure that they do not violate any ethics. In relation to the administration of a test, a psychologist needs to ensure that they administer, adapt, or use assessment techniques or instruments in a manner that is appropriate in light of the evidence or research (Wierzbicki, Siderits, & Kuchan, 2012). This means that the psychologist has to ensure that the methods they are in line with the test they are administering. The psychologist also has to make use of assessment instruments whose reliability and validity has been established for using with the population they are testing. According to the APA ethical code of conduct Standard 9.09, psychologists should select the scoring and interpretation service based on the evidence of the validity of the procedures and program. They should also include other appropriate considerations in the selection of the scoring and interpretation services. Any administered test has a purpose, and the purpose of the test would determine the correct scoring and interpretation service that would be used. The chosen service will ensure that the test is reliable because the scoring would have been selected beforehand.
Standard 2 and Standard 3 are indirectly related to psychological assessment because they deal with how a psychologist should handle the human test subjects, and the competency of the psychologist. A psychologist should only conduct or carry our tests within their field of competence, which is based on their training, education, study, or consultation. Concerning how a psychologist should deal with his human test subjects, standard 3 contains ethical principles related to avoiding harm, and obtaining informed consent from the test subjects. Psychologists' should ensure that they do not cause any harm to their clients, students, research participants, or patients. They should also minimize harm where it is unavoidable. When conducting research, the psychologist should ensure that he/she obtains informed consent from the test subjects.
To minimize testing errors, one should ensure that both the test administrator and the test-taker clearly and well understand the test instructions. With clear instructions, the potential for error is reduced and the instructions can be easily understood and followed. The assessment techniques selected should be in line with the test being administered. This means that the assessment techniques should be appropriate for the selected test. The scoring method should also be well established before the research begins. Using a well-established methodology would ensure that the results can be validated by other researchers, which would promote the validity of the test. The scoring methodology should not have any errors because this would affect the reliability of the test.
Test norms are a reference system that would be used to place the person being tested in relation to other persons, which makes the results informative and interpretable. Balkin, Heard, Lee, and Wines (2014) posits that test norms can be a source of bias for an individual if the reference system has errors or it is not representative of the sample. Making use of a biased test norm would result in the obtained results been biased too. The individuals been tested should be represented by the test norm sample. Otherwise, the test validity would be impacted for some individuals. Standardization requires that the same test is administered to different people under the same exact conditions, and the same procedure for scoring be used for both. If the tests are not standardized, then there could be bias in the results. The lack of standardization would result in the test subjects having different scores or results, and this would affect the test validity for some individuals.
A test would not be valid if it does not include a representative sample of the group being tested. Therefore, the test results would be biased because the participants would be judged based on another norm sample and not their norm sample. This would invalidate the obtained results because the results would be skewed and would not represent the actual results for an individual. For example, if an individual is given a test to determine their IQ, the test should have also been administered to others who are culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically similar to the student. This would ensure that the results are not biased when they are administered to the individual. Standardization is vital to ensure that two individuals undertake the same test in similar conditions. There will not be standardization if one participant has to take the test in a quiet and silent proof room, while another is to take the same test in a noisy environment. It would be obvious that the obtained results would be biased and skewed towards the first participant. Therefore, the results would not be valid.
The APA principle that addresses fairness and test bias is Standard number 8. This principle handles different sub-principles that govern how a psychologist should deal with fairness. This principle governs the methods that a psychologist can ensure that he/she maintains fairness in their test. According to Fisher and Vacanti-Shova (2012) fairness is vital because it ensures that the administered test does not discriminate against any individual in any manner. To ensure fairness, the psychologist should not deceive the participants on the impact of the study on the subject's health. To guarantee that no test bias would take place, principle number 9 is best suited because it covers all assessment requirements. To eliminate test bias, the test should make use of an approved assessment methodology. Test norm bias can only be determined during the assessment of the tests. Therefore, eliminating any bias would be best handled during the assessment step.
To minimize violating the APA ethical principles handling test fairness and bias, one should ensure that the test they are conducting is suitable for the selected test subjects. It would not fair to carry out an adult suited test or study on young children. The researcher should not use any form of inducement to enroll some of the participants. In order to guarantee fairness, all participants should be offered the same incentives, and the incentives should not be excessive or inappropriate. The test should also be carried out in similar conditions and not participants should be given unfair advantages over the others. The researcher should select an evaluation method that has been used by others, and its reliability and validity has been proven. This would guarantee the validity of their results. Test bias would also be reduced when the researcher makes use of test norms that are representative of the population being tested. This would reduce any ethical violations and test bias.
Technology and Psychological Testing
Technology has made it easy for a psychologist to carry out a test because it makes it easy for a psychologist to conduct tests and save on time. Technology also makes it easy for the study participants to undertake the test at their convenience. When administering a test, it is easy to offer the test using technology and maintain ethical integrity (Nicholson, 2011). Technology also assists in… [END OF PREVIEW]
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