22.pdf - UNIT 1 INTRODUCTION TO ASSESSMENT DEFINITION DESCRIPTION AND DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN TESTING AND ASSESSMENT Introduction to Assessment

22.pdf - UNIT 1 INTRODUCTION TO ASSESSMENT DEFINITION...

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Unformatted text preview: UNIT 1 INTRODUCTION TO ASSESSMENT: DEFINITION, DESCRIPTION AND DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN TESTING AND ASSESSMENT Introduction to Assessment: Definition, Description and Differentiating Between Testing and Assessment Structure 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Objectives 1.2 Meaning of Psychological Assessment 1.3 Purpose of Assessment 1.4 Principle of Assessment 1.5 Process of Assessment 1.6 Methods of Assessment 1.6.1 1.6.2 1.6.3 1.7 The Interview Method Observation Method Case Study Method Meaning of Psychological Testing 1.7.1 Difference between Psychological Assessment and Psychological Testing 1.8 Purpose of Psychological Testing 1.9 Characteristics of a Good Psychological Test 1.10 Types of Psychological Tests 1.11 Let Us Sum Up 1.12 Unit End Questions 1.13 Glossary 1.14 Suggested Readings 1.0 INTRODUCTION Assessment is the process of collecting information with regard to abilities, interest, aptitude, personality, attitude and beliefs. It is an integral part of day to day life, and is one of the important work of the counselor. Without assessment the counselor can not reach any conclusion; so it is a basic step to get information related to the client. For psychological assessment in counseling the counselor uses various assessment techniques for which the most known is the standardized tools named as psychological test to assess clients’ behaviour. Formal assessment is planed and is based on certain predetermined criteria whereas some assessment techniques are non standardized such as case study, interview, observation etc. In this unit you’ll know the principles, purpose and methods of assessment, the difference between psychological assessment and testing, and different types of psychological tests. 5 Introduction 1.1 OBJECTIVES After going through this unit, you will be able to: • Describe the meaning of psychological assessment; • Differentiate between psychological assessment and psychological testing; • Describe the purposes for which psychological assessment is used; • List out the important principles of assessment; • Describe the different methods of assessment; • Select a good psychological test; and • Describe the different types of psychological tests. 1.2 MEANING OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Let us first define the term assessment. It can be defined as “the use of standards or systematic procedure for observing our behaviour.” Assessment describes the status of a phenomenon at a particular time; it describes without value judgment a situation that prevails; it attempts no explanation of underlying reasons and makes no recommendations for action. It may deal with prevailing opinion, knowledge, practice, or conditions. The definition of assessment for our purpose can be the process of collecting information to be used as the basis for informed decision by the assessor or by those to whom results are communicated. Psychological assessment usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual. This process of assessment makes use of psychological tests or other qualitative method. Therefore, it is a process of collecting information which can be formal, informal, qualitative and quantitative. Psychological assessment is a process that involves the integration of information from multiple sources, such as tests related to ability, intelligence, interests or attitudes, as well as information from personal interviews. Collateral information is also collected about personal, occupational, or medical history, such as from records or from interviews with parents, spouses, teachers, or previous therapists or physicians. Moreover the psychological assessment is a structured interview that gathers information from and/or tests a person to evaluate his or her mental health. It is “an extremely complex process of solving problems (answering questions) in which psychological tests are often used as one of the methods of collecting relevant data” (Anastasi, 1990). The psychological assessment gathers information about the individual to provide him/her guidance and counseling. It is the first step in any guidance and counseling situation. The process typically starts with a key complaint or presenting problem—this is usually what prompts the person to seek help. A complete psychological assessment should include: bio psychosocial history, neurological assessment, psychological testing and physical examination. Once it is completed, the assessment will help to establish either a tentative or definitive diagnosis. With this information, the counselor can inform to the client about the results, and psycho therapy/counseling can be given. 6 Thus, a psychological assessment is the attempt of a skilled professional, usually a psychologist, to use the techniques and tools of psychology to learn either general or specific facts about another person, either to inform others of how they function now, or to predict their behaviour and functioning in the future. Introduction to Assessment: Definition, Description and Differentiating Between Testing and Assessment Maloney and Ward describe assessment as follows. It 1) Typically does not involve defined procedures or steps 2) Frequently uses tests 3) Contributes to some decision process to some problem, often by redefining the problem, breaking the problem down into smaller pieces, or highlighting some part(s) of the problem 4) Requires the examiner to consider, evaluate, and integrate the data 5) Produces results that can not be evaluated solely on psychometric grounds 6) Is less routine and inflexible, more individualised. The point of assessment is often diagnosis or classification. These are the act of placing a person in a strictly or loosely defined category of people. This allows us to quickly understand what they are like in general, and to assess the presence of other relevant characteristics based upon people similar to them. Assessments can be both process and product oriented. Process-oriented assessments do not necessarily produce a finished product; they are primarily tools used to guide ongoing relationships to direct activities and plans. Of course, assessments frequently overlap in their nature and purpose. Product-oriented assessments are assessments that result in the creation of a report or document. For example, a medical history is required when patients are hospitalized and mental status examinations and their results concerning emotional and cognitive functioning are documented. 1.3 PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT The purposes of assessment in guidance and counseling situation are as follows: 1) Self Understanding: The basic purpose of carrying out an assessment is for gaining insight in helping the client understand themselves better, helping them to know what they can do and cannot do including their strengths and weaknesses. 2) To Diagnose Student’s Problem: To diagnose the client’s problem is another purpose that assessment data fulfills .By using the data properly, we can interpret causal factors. It also helps to identify various aspects such as family background, physical health, academic performance etc 3) To Help in Career Planning and Education: Assessment done with the help of various psychological tools guides the students in making choices for their career and selection of subjects/courses. 4) To Help Predict the Future Performance: Counselors use assessment data to estimate individual’s attitude, ability, personality, etc that have implication for the success and adjustment which help to predict the future performance of the individual. Moreover, the counselor can also motivate the client in a direction where he /she can get more success. 7 Introduction 5) To Evaluate the Outcome of Counseling: Assessment is done prior to counselling as well as at the end of it. This gives the counselor valuable insights for further intervention and to achieve the expected outcome. 1.4 PRINCIPLE OF ASSESSMENT The principles of assessment have been given by Shertzer and Linden which states that assessment should be Holistic, Ongoing, Balanced, Accurate and Confidential. These are explained below. 1) Assessment should be Holistic: This principle involves multiple methods in collecting information. The use of a combination of assessment techniques increases the likelihood of applying positive intervention and consequently the achievement of the desired goals. The principle of holistic assessment follows a systematic process to arrive at an understanding of the individual. To make the assessment process more systematic a counselor needs to keep in mind three important factors i.e. What to assess, when to assess and in which state of assessing is required. Assessment should be within the context of life pattern of the individual, i.e., supportive information regarding other aspects of the person need also to be considered to better understand the problem. For example, a student may experience difficulty in school due to limited academic preparation. However, it may not be the only factor; other factor such as self esteem which might not be evident, but could influence the academic achievement of the students. Assessment measures and procedures must be based on the demands of the situation. The selection of the tool and procedure to be used will depend on the demands of the presented situation. Therefore, first the basic data should be collected and examined before obtaining information on the supporting factors through administering different tests. Special condition and situation for understanding client’s behaviour should also be given due consideration in the process of assessment. In addition to this the counselor should also keep in mind the capacity, motivation and other aspects related to client’s behaviour while assessing. The counselor should be alert to behaviour which is observable through nonverbal cues. Nonverbal behaviour shows many hints which can be noted through body posture, facial expressions, hand movements etc. of the client . In holistic assessment it is necessary for the counselor to know the culture and the social context of the client, as it can explain the nature and personality of the client. Different characteristics of the client such as self reliance, assertiveness, competiveness and adjustment with the group members can be understood in the context of the client’s cultural context. 2) 8 Assessment should be on Going: Ongoing assessment allows comparison between the client’s initial present problems and the client’s current functioning. It appraises the counselor of possible new and urgent needs which may arise after the initial assessment, therefore psychological assessment must take into account the dynamics nature of the human behaviour which involves his/her needs, goals, abilities etc. In assessment, the conceptualization of an individual must be continuous. This is important because the counselor keeps on refining his conceptualization of the client in the light of more and more information collected and interaction between the client and the counselor. Hence, assessment needs to be considered as ongoing and not episodic. As far as possible, assessment should be based on the longitudinal data i.e. understanding of individual’s behaviour is better and more meaningful if the data in collected over a period of time rather than on current information. e.g. longitudinal data is helpful for the diagnosis of the maladaptive behaviours. 3) Assessment should be Balanced: Assessment makes use of normative information as well as individualised data. Both types of data combined try to give a better understanding about the client. It is the purpose and the situation that decides which type of assessment data is required. 4) Assessment should be Accurate: The assessment device used should be accurate and the counselor should have the skill for interpreting the data. Counselors must keep in mind the possibility of errors, as all tools may not be 100% accurate; so they must try to minimize the errors by using standardized procedures. Introduction to Assessment: Definition, Description and Differentiating Between Testing and Assessment Predictions of future behaviour should always be stated in terms of probabilities as human behaviour is so complex and dynamic. Assessment therefore can only provide useful insights to derive inferences rather than making prediction in absolute terms. 5) Assessment should be Confidential: Clients need to be assured of confidentiality of their personal information. This will develop trust with the counselor. It is one of the basic ethic of counseling as well. The client will also be able to build a good rapport based on mutual trust and respect. Self Assessment Questions 1) Define psychological assessment. ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... 2) Describe the different ways in which assessment can be used in guidance and counselling situation. ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... 9 Introduction 3) What do you mean by holistic assessment? ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... 1.5 PROCESS OF ASSESSMENT Assessment is always a systematized and planned process involving a number of steps. These are as follows: • Formulating goals • Identifying tools and techniques • Data collection • Interpreting specific assessment data • Integrating data from different sources • Formulating assessment information • Reformulating goal 1) Formulating goals 7) Reformulating goals 6) Formulating assessment information 5) Integrating data from differen Steps in the process of assessment 2) Identifying tools and techniques 3) Data collection 4) Interpreting specific assessment data t sources Fig. 1.1: Process of Assessment The first step in the assessment process always starts with defining or formulating goals for counselling. According to the goals decided, the tools and techniques for assessment are identified. This assessment tools aim at providing data with regard to the goals established. Then the actual data collection process starts; the data collected then are interpreted. This results in getting information about the client and his situation. However, for a comprehensive understanding of the client, the interpretation of the data collected is also collated with data obtained from different sources. Interpretations are then translated into their implications for 10 various decisions, conclusions and recommendations. In the process of assessment, if the counselor finds that goals set were not properly formulated, then the goals are reformulated. 1.6 Introduction to Assessment: Definition, Description and Differentiating Between Testing and Assessment METHODS OF ASSESSMENT The counselor can make use of different methods of assessment. It depends on the requirement of the case, e.g., if the client is suffering from mental or developmental problem, the counselor may use case study method. The various methods of assessment are interview, observation and case study. These are described below. 1.6.1 The Interview Method The interview is probably the most commonly used assessment tool. Counselors use interview method to help gather information about clients and clarify results of other assessments. Assessors must be appropriately trained. Their skills and experience are essential for the interviewee. Below are several aspects which must be kept in mind: Verbal and face-to-face: what does the client tell you? How much information are they willing/able to provide? Para-verbal: how does the client speak? At normal pace, tone, volume, inflection? What is their command on language, how well do they choose their words? Do they pick up on non-verbal cues for speech and turn taking? How organised is their speech? Situation: Is the client cooperative? Is their participation voluntary? For what purpose is the interview conducted? Where is the interview conducted? There can be two types of interview: Structured and Unstructured. That is, the interview can range from being totally unplanned i.e., unstructured to carefully designed i.e., completely structured. i) Structured Interview: The most structured interviews have characteristics such as standardized questions, trained interviewers, specific question order, controlled length of time, and a standardized response evaluation format. A structured interview will be more reliable and valid. It is designed to provide a diagnosis for a client by detailed questioning of the client in a “yes/no” or “definitely/somewhat/not at all” forced choice format. It is broken up into different sections reflecting the diagnosis in question. Often Structured interviews use closed questions, which require a simple pre-determined answer. Examples of closed questions are “When did this problem begin? Was there any particular stressor going on at that time? Can you tell me about how this problem started?” Closed interviews are better suited for specific information gathering. ii) Unstructured Interview: Interviews can also be less structured and allow the client more control over the topic and direction of the interview. Unstructured interviews are better suited for general information gathering. Unstructured interviews often use open questions, which ask for more 11 Introduction explanation and elaboration on the part of the client. Examples of open questions are “What was happening in your life when this problem started? How did you feel then? How did this all start?” Major functions of interview method are: Description: Interview has been found to be particularly useful in providing insight into the interactive quality of social life. The verbal interaction enables the interviewer in understanding how people view the subject under investigation. Exploration: In this the interviewer tries to explore some new variable for study as it also helps in conceptual clarity. A review of the work done in the related area also is taken into account. The advantage of interview method is that it allows greater flexibility in the process of questioning. It facilitates the counselor in obtaining the desired information. 1.6.2 Observation Method Observation method is a fundamental technique of the data collection. It refers to watching and listening to the behaviour of the client over time without manipulating and controlling it. It also records findings in ways that allow some degree of analytic interpretation and discussion. Thus, observation involves broadly selecting, recording and coding behaviour; ther...
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