Psychometric Testing

by Claire Walsh and David Hoad

Glossary

Ability tests

Tests used to evaluate an individual’s performance in some defined domain of cognitive, psychomotor or physical functioning

Answer key

The key describing the scoring scenario for a question or test.

Battery (test battery)

A collection of tests the results of which can be combined to produce a single score

Cognitive processes

Higher mental processes, such as perception, memory, language, problem solving and abstract thinking

Emotional intelligence

Defined as the abilities to perceive, appraise and express emotions accurately and appropriately; to use emotions to facilitate thinking and to use emotional knowledge effectively to promote both emotional and intellectual growth. See Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence test

Any test that claims to measure intelligence; generally consisting of a graded series of tasks, each of which has been standardised with a large, representative population

Inventory

Questionnaire or checklist, usually in the form of a self-report, which can elicit information about an individual’s personal opinions, interests, attitudes, preferences, personal characteristics and motivations and so on

Ipsative

Reflected or measured against the self; for example, an ipsative personality test may reveal that an individual is higher in the need for achievement than in the need for affiliation

Normative

Relates to norms or standards used to get a sense of underlying distribution

Norm group

The group used to establish a standard against which to measure performance or evaluate behaviour

Percentile

The score on a test below which a given percentage of scores fall; for example the 40th percentile would have 40 per cent of the scores below

Personality

The unique psychological qualities of an individual that influence a variety of characteristic behaviour patterns across different situations and times

Range

The difference between the highest and lowest scores

Raw score

The unadjusted score on a test

Reliability

The dependability of a measurement test or instrument; the extent to which a test consistently produces the same or comparable results when used in similar conditions

Scale score

The score to which raw scores are converted by numerical transformation, such as the conversion to percentile ranks or standard scores

Standardised testing

Tests completed under a set of uniform procedures

Trait

Any enduring characteristic that can serve an explanatory role in accounting for the observed regularities and consistencies in behaviour

Type

A class or group distinguished by possessing or displaying some particular characteristic

Validity

The degree to which a test or other instrument of measurement measures what it is supposed to measure; there are different types of validity such as face validity and content validity