Douglas Wayland-Smith, PhD | Experience & Credentials | Assessment & Testing | Forms
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Psychological Testing Tools
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Lakeville CT 06039

Variety of Pyschological Testing

TYPES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING

Psychological testing is an empirically-based and objective approach to diagnostic assessment and both educational and treatment planning.

Testing involves administering standardized and scientifically validated instruments that measure different psychological characteristics. This makes it possible to objectively compare an individual’s performance to the “norm” or what is expected and to contrast different characteristics of the same person to identify strengths and weaknesses.

The types of tests that are used, and the amount of time involved, depend upon the specific nature of the questions. Typically, a group of tests are selected and administered to provide answers to questions. Data are then combined with interviews, observations and the like to arrive at a diagnostic formulation and recommendations.

There are many different types of tests and they range from “simple” measures of perceptual and motor skills to “complex” and multi-faceted measures of cognition, problem-solving and personality. While somewhat artificial, tests can be broadly divided into four groups:

  • Intellectual/Cognitive: Involves traditional “IQ” testing to examine cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Useful for assessing developmental delays, mental retardation, giftedness, readiness for kindergarten and school placement.

  • Neuropsychological: Involves testing of attention, executive skills, learning and memory and other specific cognitive functions. Useful for assessing ADHD, deficits in planning and organizational skills, concussion and post-concussion syndrome and memory decline or changes in functioning associated with advancing age.

  • Academic Achievement: Involves profiling a student’s strengths and weaknesses across tests of reading, writing and math. Useful for identifying specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia (math learning disability) and the like. This information can be used to develop 504 plans, IEPs or plans for tutoring and remediation.

  • Personality and Social-Emotional: Involves the assessment of temperament, emotional controls, defenses, self-esteem, reality testing and specific psychiatric symptoms through questionnaires and projective techniques. Most useful for differentiating between psychiatric diagnoses that overlap or share common outward signs and symptoms (e.g., bipolar disorder vs. substance dependence).
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