There are various types of tests. But there are those used specifically in the area of psychology. These are called psychological tests. They can be defined as general sets of questions, puzzles or problems which are usually used to discover or determine a person’s ability, his interest in trade or vocation and so on. Psychological tests are usually made up of test items which are designed to reveal certain traces and traits in an individual who has been exposed to the test.

            In majority of cases, these tests are standardized, but sometimes they may be non-standardized. Whether they are standardized or not, they aim at achieving certain goals. The results are used as points reference. That is when the traits are revealed in the person after the test has been interpreted. It is expected that the individual will show wider evidence of such traits in actual life situations. Psychological test results are indicators of wide areas of behaviour. They help to bring out or elicit particular characteristic behaviour types. They expose an individual or groups of individuals to a selected test, made up of specific questions. The intension is to get some results which help the test administrator to arrive at certain hypothesized results.

Tests can be classified along the line of usage and mode of administration. It can also be classified according to types. So, specifically, we have the following types of tests which are commonly used in the area of guidance and counselling and in psychosocial testing. These are:

1.   Paper and Pencil Tests: An example of this is the Stanford-Binet intelligence test.
Intelligence tests are designed to test intelligence quotient. They try to find out how much a child has gained in intelligence in one year, in mental age compared to each year of chronological age that passes. This is done within the first 15 years of life.
2.   The Objective and Essay Tests: This is sometimes referred to as the objective and subjective tests. An essay test is one that requires the testee to create an answer instead of selecting an answer from given alternatives. It is a free-response type of test in which the testee organizes his response to specific question or issue, (Itsuokor, 1995). The testees must select answers from the alternatives given. Whether the test is designed for individual or group depends on what the test is out to test. A test may want to know interest level of an individual on a vocation for example. But a group may also be tested in a survey study to find out the attitude of a group to politics for example. This could be done with a standardized test or through questionnaires.
3.   The Standardized Non-standardized Tests: Ughamadu, (1991),regard standardized tests as those designed by test specialists or experts and administered, scored and interpreted under standard conditions. Describing the non-standardized tests they say that they are those tests that are formed and constructed by classroom teachers for the evaluation of their students.
4.   Individual and Group Tests: There are situations when tests can be prepared and administered specifically for an individual to find out certain traits. In other occasions, tests can be administered to a group. These two types of test administration commonly used in psychological testing.
5.   Verbal or Non-verbal Tests: Verbal tests can be individual or group in nature. In verbal tests, the test administrators have a face to face relationship with the subject, or subjects. It can be in the form of an oral questioning or interview. But non-verbal tests usually take the form of paper and pencil tests.
      Some scholars classify tests according to their general usage. So we have such classification as:
6.   Personality Tests: These are tests administered to find out what type of personality trait an individual is likely to portray in actual life situation. There are pseudo-scientific methods of doing this, like interview method, behavioural test method, rating scale device, personality inventory and projective techniques.
7.   The Interest Inventory Tests: Here the subject responds to activities presumably related to different interests particularly in areas of vocations, like music, arts, athletics, and so on. His responses are then compared to the responses of members of the various vocations.
8.   Aptitude Tests: Aptitude is a condition of a person’s fitness, of which one essential aspect is his readiness to acquire proficiency, his potential ability and his readiness to develop an interest in exercising his ability (Chauhan, 1981). An aptitude test is a test which measures a person’s potential ability in an activity of a specialized kind and within a restricted range. Aptitude tests are generally used in guidance of students, especially in selection of jobs, and also in admission into schools and colleges. There are aptitude tests for clerical jobs, music, arts, military and so on.
9.   Achievement Tests: As the name indicates, they are tests which are administered to measure how much proficiency an individual has acquired in a particular area of knowledge or skill. It is intended to test the performance ability of a person, usually after undergoing a course of study. They are mainly teacher made tests. Examples are class tests, end of term tests, WAEC examinations and so on.
10. Intelligence Tests: These are tests deviced to discover the innate intelligence of persons. There are different types of these tests. Some of these include those of Binet, Terman and Stern, others are Cattell’s test, Standfort’s revision of Binet test, and so on. Intelligence tests may be verbal or non verbal. But usually psychologists prefer an intelligence that can be administered to people anywhere. The results will not be influenced by the cultural background of the subjects being tested.
11. Vocational Inventories: The term vocation has to do with trade or occupation. They are those works in which an individual is engaged for life or economic existence. The word vocation, is interchangeably used with such other terms as career or occupation. Vocational tests are like aptitude tests in nature. They are meant to test person’s interest or aptitude in a given vocation. They help in selection of people into different jobs.

Psychological tests have certain characteristics. Some of them are:

1.   Validity: This is the degree to which the test has tried to measure what it is expected to measure. It helps to provide an answer to the question, whether the test has fulfilled its pre-conceived functions. We have different types of validity. They are, content validity, construct validity, face validity and criterion validity.
2.   Reliability: Other words for reliability are dependability, stability, consistency, predictability and accuracy. It refers to the extent or degree of consistency between two measures of the same things. If two measures are taken of a trait, the result is expected to be similar if the measuring instrument is reliable.

According to Itsuoker (1985) psychological tests have been found to be useful in the following areas.
1. For Selection: Sometimes different establishments, institutions, school and colleges want to select people to do one type of job or the other. Those who show interests on these jobs are expected to be tested to ascertain their suitability for these jobs. Scores recorded from such tests are used for the final selection.
2. Placement: These could be placement in schools, in the army, in different sections of an industry and so on.  
3. To Test for Achievement: A course of study requires that at the end of it all, learners are expected to have achieved a certain level of proficiency in the required knowledge or skill. Achievement tests are also used to see if a set of applicants for higher institutions have attained an entering requirement expected of them. The JAMB examination is designed for this purpose.
4. For Classification: Psychological tests can be used to classify people according to age, level of intelligence, range of mental retardation, categories of behavioural deviation etc. Results got from these will help policy makers in education and educational administration in no small ways.
5. For Prediction: Through psychological testing, predications are made to various degrees of accuracy. The teacher can now say with a limited error margin if a child is a university material or not. We can now know if an individual will be a good primary school, or whether he is suitable to work in nursery schools. They help the test administrator to make inferences and so predict.
5. Tests are also used to diagnose problems of students in the area of language, numbers, social adjustment, parental relationship and related situations. The counsellor can get to know which of these problems is that of a particular student through psychological testing.

Some of the test techniques used in counselling include:
1. PROJECTIVE TESTS: Here the person taking the test is unaware of what his answers mean to the test administrator. It eliminates the tendency to give false answers. If a child has a conflict for example, this method can make him reveal unconscious thoughts and drives that cause the conflict. The strength, degree and causes of the conflict can now be reached. Two types of projective tests exist;
(a) The Rorschach Inkblot Personality Test; and
(b) The CAT Method (Children’s Apperception Test).
2. OBJECTIVE TEST: There are various types of objective tests used in psychology. These were enumerated by Munsinger (1975) as follows.
        a.  A-S Reaction study
        b. MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.
        c.  The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI).

3.   INTERVIEW: Ughamadu (1991) states that interview is a method generally used in selection of people into positions in established institutions. It is a face to face verbal exchange of ideas usually initiated by the interviewer and followed by responses from the person being interviewed. It is a simple method to use, and widely used also as a tool for personality assessment. Performance in the interview can easily show an individual’s personality. There are different types of interview. They include:
(a)  Free Interview: Here there is no limit to areas where questions can be drawn from.
(b)  Non-Directive Interview: It is a technique popularized by Carl Rogers. A method intended to get at deep rooted feelings of an individual on an issue. It is usually applied by clinical psychologists.
(c)  Standardized Interview: Here ready questions are prepared. All interviewees are asked the same question. The intension is to reduce the unreliability and bias of the interviewer.

4.   NON-TEST TECHNIQUES: Ughamadu (1991) also states that there are various non-test techniques used in counseling:
      (a) Interview as discussed above.
      (b) Observation Technique.
      (c) Case Study.
      (d) Checklist technique.
      (e) Rating scale method. 

5.   OBSERVATION: This is a method that has been used for a long time. The counsellor uses it to find out certain traits in an individual. For example, one may want to know the degree of aggression in an individual. Most observations are carried out without the person being observed knowing it. If one wants to observe the child at play with other children, and observing how often, and frequent the child shows aggressive behaviour. What is observed should be recorded immediately, or almost immediately after the exercise. There are two types of observations. There are natural observation and participant observation. In natural observation, the counsellor stays aside and observe, but in participant observation, the counsellor participates in the activities in which the trait is to be observed (Ogbebor 1990).

6.   CASE STUDY: Here information, or data is collected, and analyzed to find out the causes of the problem. The past and present of the individual is studied. These may be gathered from the family or and friends of the person. The information to be collected may be under the following headings:
(a)   Physical condition as got from medical tests or observations.
(b)  Relationship with people at home, school, community, and  other social relationship    
(c)   Emotional state of the person including anxiety, fear, anger etc.
(d)  Likes and dislikes of the person.
(e)   Achievement at school.

7. AUTOBIOGRAPHY: This is the study of what the person has recorded about himself in various aspects of his life. Such as school experiences, relationship with friends, and parents, his choice of vocation, martial experiences, socio-economic state of parents, likes and dislikes. The individual being studied is asked to write on these areas, depending on what is being studied. There are two types of autobiography. These are structured and non-structured. In structured, the subject is asked to write along certain lines on specific issues. But in non-structured autobiography, the subject is free to direct his writing by himself.

Psychological testing has some classroom functions. They are used, in the process of diagnosis especially for children who need some remedial instruction. These tests can also be very useful in grouping students within a class for the purpose of knowing how well a child is for a particular learning topic. They are useful for the purpose of individual instruction. Through the tests, the teacher will know how much the handicap child has and thus the teacher will know how to plan individual instruction. Psychological testing has been found to be useful also in identifying the intellectual ability of the students.

Psychological testing has been useful in school administration. For example they have been found to be useful in placing new students in class, legibility for special group, know when treatment should be discontinued, when a child is due for promotion, know the ability of a group of students in a particular school etc. They have also been found to be useful when information is to be provided for outside agencies who should be employed to do a special job, admitted to the school, and for policy making.

Biehler, R. F (1978): Psychology Applied To Teaching: 3rd Ed, Boston: 10 H.M.C
Itsuokor D. E. (1995); Essentials of tests and measurement (2nd ed),
Ilorin: Woye and Sons Nig. Ltd
Ogbebor, G.G (1990): An Introduction to Educational Psychology; Benin:
World of Books Publishers.
Ughamadu, K.A. et. al. (1991): Measurement and Evaluation in
Education; Benin: World of Books Publishers 
Unachukwu, G. C. and Igborgbor G. C. (1991): Guidance and
Counselling, A Realistic Approach; Owerri: International University Press

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