Standards for Multicultural Assessment (Fourth Edition), theOther

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¶ … Standards for Multicultural Assessment (fourth edition), the Responsibilities of Users of Standardized Tests, and section E. Of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics.

Standards for Multicultural Assessment

The Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC, 2014) formally known as the Association for Assessment and Counseling and Education (AACE), published their fourth revision of their Standards for Multicultural Assessment in June of 2012. The standards were originally developed in 1992 and updated in 2003. The AARC considers the 2012 revision to be a statement of social advocacy in assessment. The revision was designed to enhance the counseling profession's knowledge and public awareness for culturally -- appropriate assessments by professional counselors. Multicultural populations are defined by several different features including: race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability (AARC, 2014). There are several subareas in the standards that are addressed:

Advocacy. A culturally competent counselor recognizes the importance of social judgment and advocacy and integrates all of the above factors in order to provide appropriate assessment and diagnostic services. This means that counselors recognize the subtle biases within themselves and others and how they influence assessment, attempt to learn about marginalized populations via the use of empathy, use assessment techniques are appropriate for the person being assessed, provide culturally competent practices in all areas of counseling, work with community leaders to address the needs of diverse clients, assess barriers to culturally competent practice, understand the potential bias of the instruments they use, and ensure the proper use and application as well as scoring of assessment tools used by them or people under their supervision.

Selection of Assessments. Under this section of the specifications professional counselors are directed to select assessment tools and diagnostic techniques that are both appropriate and effective for the client involved. This involves using an understanding the research when developing new assessment tools to ensure their quality; understanding the psychometric constructs important to all assessment technique such as reliability, validity, etc.; evaluate the tests for their proper use; know how to select appropriate modified forms of tests for the particular client/population; select assessments that are appropriate and foster client empowerment and self-efficacy; only use instruments which they are trained and competent to use; and recognize how culture identity can affect test administration and interpretation.

Administration and Scoring of Assessments. Here professional counselor should recognize the challenges involved in assessing and using assessment techniques with multicultural populations. Counselors should follow all established protocols for administering standardized assessments to clients with diverse backgrounds; be familiar with test question format and procedures; understand the importance of test security, copyright, and the ramifications of cheating; know the procedures, materials and directions for scoring and monitoring tests; only administer assessments within the context of a professional relationship; and always obtain informed consent before undertaking an assessment.

Interpretation and Application. Counselors should acknowledge the importance of social justice and advocacy in both interpretation and communication of the results. Here professional counselors need to understand the normative groups and technical information including limitations of tests they use; understand the influence of culture, background, and individual characteristics when designing interventions; recognize the effects of stigma, discrimination, etc. In the application of social results; move to eliminate biases and prejudices in the assessment process; always explain the nature and purpose of a particular assessment technique, do not use obsolete tests or data; and only release assessment data to the proper party.

Training in the Uses of Assessments. Finally, counselors should understand and be able to administer tests properly; understand both individual and group approaches to assessment; be trained to how the assessment data can use to develop action plans for vulnerable groups; gain knowledge of how to collaborate with policymakers and allies of culturally diverse groups; participate in continuing education regarding assessment; and have training and expertise regarding all aspects of assessment techniques they use.

Responsibilities of Users of Standardized Tests

The Association for Assessment in Counseling developed the Responsibilities of Users of Standardized Tests (RUST; 2003) in order to set the standards for and promote the proper, fair, and responsible use of standardized tests by counselors and educators. The intent of the RUST was to make very specific statements regarding the ethical practice of testing and assessment for legal or other interpretive situations. Several areas are addressed:

Qualifications of Test Users. Test administrators should have the proper education, training, and experience when they use assessment instruments. These administrators need to adhere to all ethical considerations, standards, and laws governing professional practice to reduce the potential for harm. The RUST presents four key factors here: (1) a clear purpose for testing should be established in every instance standardized tests are used; (2) the assessor must understand the strengths and limitations of each instrument they use; (3) the administrator must understand the relevance of setting, conditions of test use, to the situation before deciding on a test to use; and (4) the assessor's background (experience, education, etc.) determines the tests they are qualified to administer and interpret.

Technical Knowledge. Here the specifications for the proper knowledge of the assessor regarding the tests are discussed including the factors of the validity of the test results, the reliability of the tests and test scores, understanding the errors of measurement for the specific test, an understanding of the basic differences and uses of norm -- referenced and criterion -- referenced scores, and how these impact interpretation.

Test Selection. Here factors discussing the test selection and purpose are covered including matching the purpose of the assessment with the type of needed information such as descriptive information, predictive information, program evaluation, etc. Moreover, the counselor should make sure that the test is appropriate to use for the client/group. The assessor should understand the characteristics of the person taking the test, scoring procedures of the test, norming and standardization procedures of the test, modifications that can be used for certain people, and make sure that the test is appropriate for the situation and fairly administered and scored.

Test Administration. Here the specifications for following the procedures to administer the test properly are discussed. Before the administration of a test is important that all relevant parties are informed about the procedures and purposes of the assessment, understand how to operate any special equipment, have been trained properly in their responsibilities, have the opportunity to make appropriate modifications in order to accommodate test takers a special needs, and all parties have a clear understanding of their rights responsibilities. During the test administration is important that the environment is conducive to the best possible performance, conditions are uniform throughout the duration of the test, test administers follow proper protocol, and the security of the tests are maintained in all situations. After administration it is important to secure all important materials as well as any notes regarding the specific situation that may affect the outcome.

Test scoring. Here the standards for scoring by the administrators/assessor are briefly discussed including adherence to standardized procedures and using proper scoring methods.

Test Interpretation. Obviously interpreting tests requires knowledge and experience as well as an understanding of what factors can impact test performance. Three factors are listed here: (1) psychometric factors such as the norms, reliability, etc. can affect test results in the assessor needs to know which of these factors are relevant to the specific situation; (2) test-taker factors such as their ethnic background, race, religion, marital status, age etc. affect test results and should be taken into consideration; and (3) contextual factors that include such things as the particular situation, the uses of the results, etc.

Communicating the Results. Communicate the assessment results with the proper party understanding all the above factors including the context in which the feedback will be given to make sure that no that chances for misinterpretation are limited.

Thus, the RUST specifies all of the responsibilities and regarding the use of standardized testing and counseling so that all proper specifications are clearly outlined for counselors and educators.

American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (Section E).

Section E. Of the American Counseling code of ethics is concerned with the evaluation, assessment, and interpretation of assessment techniques in a cultural context. In general the section states that the primary purpose of assessment is provide measurements that are reliable and valid over all appropriate situations with all clients. Counselors are not the misuse assessment results, their interpretations and make reasonable attempts to make sure that the results are not misinterpreted or misused by others.

The code of ethics discusses that counselors only use testing and assessment instruments for which they have been trained and are competent to use, use them appropriately, make their use is relevant to the needs of the client, understand how to make decisions based on the results of the assessment, and understand the psychometric properties and research background of the instruments they use. Furthermore, counselors adequately explain the nature and purpose of the assessment to the client and relevant parties. They always get informed consent from the proper… [END OF PREVIEW]

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