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William James COMP Assessment Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

William James College comprehensive assessment Psychological Assessment

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Historical Perspe­ctives

Early Testing Greeks 2500 years ago Chinese 2000 years ago Francis Galton credited with launching the testing movement (e.g. heredi­tary, statis­tics) Wilhelm Wundt credited with founding the science of psycho­logy. Interested in identi­fying factors of intell­igence that were common­/innate to all human beings James McKeen Cattell expanded testing to include memory­/other simple mental processes
1900-1920 Binet: first person to consider Intell­igence Quotient (IQ) Binet-­Simon (1905) scale focused on assessing judgment, compre­hension & reasoning
Ratio of mental age to chrono­logical age (IQ). Revised test became known as Stanfo­rd-­Binet scale (1916)World War I – group testing (Army Alpha & Army Beta)
Frank Parsons “father of guidance”. Career counse­ling: 1) understand client 2) understand world of work 3) match client to approp­riate occupation in the world of work
1920s and 30s Aptitude tests developed for finding industrial personnel. Develo­pment of vocational counseling instru­ments. Stanford Achiev­ement Test (1923) first standa­rdized achiev­ement battery. First edition of Mental Measur­ements Yearbook (1939)
1940s and 50s Dissat­isf­action with existing person­ality instru­ments. Projective techniques became popular (Rorsc­hach). MMPI developed (early 1940)
Standa­rdized achiev­ement tests well establ­ished in public schools. Criticisms of assess­ments began to emerge. Need for standards (APA). Need for centra­lized test public­ation, electronic scoring
1960s and 70s Widespread public concern of assessment (stand­ard­ization etc.) 70s: Grassroots movement for minimum competency testing in high school graduates
Current thoughts on mental Disorders: Associated with signif­icant distress and limita­tions in social, occupa­tional, or other important aspects of life, Refers to signif­icant distur­bances in cognition, emotions, and/or behaviors, Mental disorders are classified in the Diagnostic and Statis­tical Manual of Mental Disorders

Terms & Tools

Assessment involves some type of measur­ement and gathering samples of behavior in an objective, standa­rdized, and systematic manner. It is a constant process.
Assessment: A procedure for gathering client inform­ation that is used to facilitate clinical decisions, provide clients w/info or evaluation purposes
Appraisal: Another term for assessment Testing: Another term for intell­igence test Instru­ments: Test, scales, checkl­ists, & invent­ories
The correct order of the following scales of measur­ement, from least precise to most precise Nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio
Treatment monitoring systems detect potential treatment failure
Qualit­ative data: uses open-ended questions or interviews
Quantitate data: uses evaluating paperwork, assess­ments, etc.
Assessment Tools
Individual vs. group, Objective vs. subjec­tive, Verbal vs. nonverbal. Perfor­mance tests require the manipu­lation of objects with minimal verbal influence (e.g. doing a puzzle). Language and culture influences assess­ment,
Speed vs. power Power: items in the experiment very in diffic­ulty. Speed: examines the number of items completed in a specified time period.,
Cognitive vs affective Cognitive instru­ments assess cognition: percei­ving, proces­sing, abstract and concrete thinking, and rememb­ering. Includes: Intell­igence, Achiev­ement, Aptitude.Affective instru­ments assess interest, attitudes, values, motives, temper­aments, and the noncog­nitive aspects of person­ality. MMP-2. Projective techniques: indivi­duals respond to ambiguous stimuli like inkblots. Like many other tests, when admini­stering the Rorschach the admini­strator needs to record verbatim the content of the responses


Measur­ement scales: to measure some aspect of the client, methods depend on type of scale  Nominal: classi­fying by name based on charac­ter­istics. We get a count of percentage (i.e. political parties, male:f­emale amount in class); catego­ries; nomina­l=n­aming categories Ordinal: a measure of magnitude ranks; smalle­r/l­arger (i.e. ranking behaviors from best to worse in a classr­oom); gives you an idea of what goes first, what goes second; ordina­l=o­rder Interval: ranking units have equal intervals but not true zero (i.e. intell­igence scores) Ratio: has interval but with meaningful zero (i.e miles per hour, weight) 
Measures of central tendency:  Mode: most frequent score (bimodal, multim­odal) Median: evenly divides scores into two halves Mean: arithmetic average of the scores
Measures of variab­ilityRange: highest score minus lowest score  Variance: amount of spread in a group of scores. The greater the spread, the greater the variance  Standard Deviation: square root of variance 
Indica­tions of variab­ility how far apart data points lie from each other and from the center of a distri­bution
Types of Scores in Normal Distri­but­ions  1.Raw Scores 2. Percentile scores­/Pe­rce­ntile ranks: position relative to standa­rdized sample 3.Standard scores: the common language. Converts raw scores, has a set mean and standard deviation. Express how far a score is from the mean. Examples: z scores (mean is always 0 and standard deviation is always 1), T scores (always has a mean of 50 and a SD of 10), Stanines (rarely used), Age/gr­ade­-eq­uiv­alent scores (highly criticized unless used, with caution, with kids, especially in a school setting).
Shapes and Types of Distri­butions Skewed Left the bulk of the data values (including the median) lie to the right of the mean, and there is a long tail on the left side Skewed Right the bulk of the data values (including the median) lie to the left of the mean, and there is a long tail on the right side Symmet­ric­/Un­imodal approx­imately half of the data values lie to the left of the mean, and approx­imately half of the data values lie to the right of the mean Unifor­m/r­ect­angular All entries or classes in the distri­bution have equal or approx­imately equal freque­ncies Bimodal a bimodal distri­bution has two modes, or two distinct clusters of data Multimodal more than one mode Bell Curve tend to have a central, normal values, as peak with low and high extremes tapering off relatively symmet­rically on either side
Shapes and Types of Correl­ations Correl­ation describes the relati­onship between variables. It can be described as either strong or weak, and as either positive or negative Positive Linear Correl­ation the variable on the x -axis increases as the variable on the y -axis increases Negative Linear Correl­ation when one variable increases as the other variable decreases Non-linear Correl­ation (known as curvil­inear correl­ation) a relati­onship between variables but the relati­onship is not linear­/st­raight No Correl­ation when there is no pattern that can be detected between the variables

Reliab­ility and Validity

tests can be: reliable not valid, low validity and low reliab­ility, not reliable and not valid, and both reliable and valid
A test is reliable to the extent that whatever it measures, it measures it consis­tently. three major categories of reliab­ility for most instru­ments: test-r­etest, equivalent form, and internal consis­tency
a minimum reliab­ility of .70 is required for attitude instru­ments. Many tests, such as achiev­ement tests, strive for .90 or higher reliab­ili­ties.
Test-r­etest (stabi­lity: measures error because of changes over time) The same instrument is given twice to the same group of people. The reliab­ility is the correl­ation between the scores on the two instru­ments.
Equiva­len­t-Form (Parallel or Altern­ate­-Form) Method (measures error because of differ­ences in test forms) Two different versions of the instrument are created. The scores on the two instru­ments are correlated to calculate the consis­tency between the two forms of the instru­ment.
Intern­al-­Con­sis­tency Method (measures error because of idiosy­ncr­asies of the test items) Split-Half A total score for the odd number questions is correlated with a total score for the even number questions ( or first half & second half) with the Spearm­an-­Brown prophecy formula, Kuder-­Ric­hardson Formula, or Cronbach’s Alpha
Scoring Agreement (measures error because of the scorer) Interrater Reliab­ility two judges can evaluate a group of student products and the correl­ation between their ratings can be calculated Percentage Agreement two judges can evaluate a group of products and a percentage for the number of times they agree is calculated
Incons­ist­encies test taker issues, test itself, testing condit­ions, test scoring
Content validity indicates the extent to which items adequately measure or represent the content of the property or trait that the researcher wishes to measure.
Construct validity indicates the extent to which a measur­ement method accurately represents a construct (e.g., a latent variable or phenomena that can’t be measured directly, such as a person’s attitude or belief) and produces an observ­ation, distinct from that which is produced by a measure of another construct. Common methods to assess construct validity include, but are not limited to, factor analysis, correl­ation tests, and item response theory models
Criter­ion­-re­lated validity indicates the extent to which the instru­ment’s scores correlate with an external criterion (i.e., usually another measur­ement from a different instru­ment) either at present (concu­rrent validity) or in the future (predi­ctive validity). A common measur­ement of this type of validity is the correl­ation coeffi­cient between two measures.
Standa­rdized Scores
A SD is a measure of how dispersed the data is in relation to the mean. Low standard deviation means data are clustered around the mean, and high standard deviation indicates data are more spread out.

Standa­rdized and Non-st­and­ardized Testing

A standa­rdized test is a test that is admini­stered and scored in a consis­tent, or "­sta­nda­rd", manner.
Types of tests: Cognitive, Person­ality (struc­tured or non-st­ruc­tured), Neurop­syc­hol­ogical, Achiev­eme­nt/­School
Projective tests (aka unstru­ctured): Thought to uncover more of client’s uncons­cious and thus providing an indication or covert or latent traits (more difficult to “fake” respon­ses). Extensive training is needed to use them approp­ria­tely. They are more subjective to interp­ret­ations. Strengths: more difficult to fake, can sometimes identify more complex themes and multid­ime­nsional aspects of person­ality, helpful with children and nonverbal client, can serve as an effective method of establ­ishing rapport. Limita­tions: lower reliab­ility evidence, more caution needed when interp­reting results, meager validation inform­ation, lack of normative data, can be dangerous with untrained users.
Constr­uction (of storie­s/TAT)  Thematic Apperc­eption Test (TAT) / Child's Apperc­eption Test (CAT) Projective technique consisting of a series of pictures. Examinee needs to create a story about what they believe is occurring in the situations or events depicted in pictures. Instru­ctions are to create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Want client to describe what the characters are feelin­g. ­ There is no “abnormal” response – account for gender, sexual identity, etc., The client can exercise control over the story and choose to include or emphasize particular contents and /or distort and omit other contents. No simple conclu­sions can be made as interp­ret­ation is complex.
Completion (of sentences, cartoo­ns/­sen­tence comple­tion, Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank) Incomplete sentences test: a test that provides a series of sentence beginnings that the client is to complete which can be interp­reted qualit­atively for both quality of expression and vocabu­lary, as well as for the psycho­logical content and themes
Associ­ation techniques (Rorsc­hac­h/i­nkblot, word associ­ations)Arrang­eme­nt/­sel­ection (toys, verbal options, puppets, sand play)  Expression (draw a person, house/­tre­e/p­erson, kinetic family test) 
Objective tests (aka structured tests) give you options to choose from test types: Beck, MMPI, Self-r­eport measures
Cognitive, Neurop­syc­hol­ogical, Achiev­eme­nt/­School are all related (measure some form of intell­igence or functi­oning). Different tests measure different areas of the brain. One typically starts with cognitive testing, then refers to neurop­syc­hol­ogical testing as needed
Beck: produce descri­ptive answers that do not need interp­ret­ation. Used for: Detecting the possible presence of depres­sion. Determine the baseline level of depression severity for a client. If repeated, could be used to determine the effect­iveness of interv­entions targeted to treat the depres­sion.
Norm-R­efe­renced and Criter­ion­-Re­fer­enced Instru­ments Norm-r­efe­renced instrument: indivi­dual’s score is compared to perfor­mance of others who have taken the same instrument (norming group). Example: person­ality inventory. Evaluating the norming group (size, sampling, repres­ent­ation) Criter­ion­-Re­fer­enced Instrument: indivi­dual’s perfor­mance is compared to specific criterion or standa­rd. ­Ex­ample: third-­grade spelling test. How standards are determ­ined: common practice, profes­sional organi­zations or experts, empiri­cally determined


Referrals should have an electr­oni­c/w­ritten trail. Clients being referred need to understand why they are being referred out.
If a family is unwilling to be seen as a whole, refer out (unless the identified patient or family member is in danger – in which case, seek individual therapy. Especially important if you sense abuse).


Learning and enviro­nment influence our cognitive proces­ses . In theory, intell­igence is stable. Infants and young children have the least stable intell­igence test scores.  Intell­igence scores test to be related to academic perfor­mance. enviro­nmental factors may hinder intell­ectual develo­pme­nt/­per­for­mance: socioe­con­omic, langua­ge/­cul­ture, trauma­/st­ress, parent involv­ement, sleep, etc.
Survey Battery Tests: Tests, usually given in school settings, which measure broad content areas and often used to assess progress in school ex: NAEP, Stanford 10, ITBS, Metrop­olitan Achiev­ement Test
Diagnostic Tests: Tests that assess problem areas of learning and often used to assess learning disabi­lities ex: PL94-142, IDEA, WRAT4, WIAT-III, PIAT, etc.
Readiness Tests: Tests that measure one’s readiness for moving ahead in school and often used to assess readiness to enter first grade ex: MRT6, Gesell Develo­pment Observ­ation
Cognitive Ability Tests: Tests that measure a broad range of cognitive ability. These tests are usually based on what one has learned in school and are useful in making predic­tions about the future ex: OLSAT 8, CogAT, ACT, SAT
Wechsler scales: WAIS is the most widely used intell­ectual assessment for adults; Admini­str­ation time is 60-90 minutes for core subtests; Normative popula­tion: US, ages 16-90; Norms have been developed for special groups (e.g. mild cognitive impair­ment, borderline intell­ectual functi­oning, TBI, ADHD, AD, reading disorder, autism, depres­sion. Includes adult, child and preschool tests
Stanfo­rd-­Binet intell­igence Scale, Kaufman Instru­ments are similar to WAIS
Woodco­ck-­Johnson II Complete Battery: has cognitive and achiev­ement, and now also has oral language
Additional Individual Assess­ments: Peabody picture, test of nonverbal intell­igence (TONI), differ­ential ability scales, Slossen intell­igence test, Raven’s standard progre­ssive matrices 
Domains: person­ality tests, interest invent­ories, skills assess­ments, and value assessment
MBTI, SII, Holland
Personal and Social Develo­pment
Informal Assess­ments: Observ­ation, Interv­iewing Formal Assess­ments: MBTI, MMPI-2, NEO-PI-3
Projective Techniques Categories: Associ­ations (Rorsc­hach), Constr­uction (Thematic TAT), Comple­tions (Rotter Incomplete Senten­ces), Arrang­eme­nt/­sel­ection (Sand, Puppets, Toys), Expression (Drawing)
MMPI-2 Hypoch­ond­riasis, Depres­sion, Conversion Hysteria, Psycho­pathic Deviate, Mascul­ini­ty-­Fem­ini­nity, Paranoia, Psycha­sth­enia, Schizo­phr­enia, Hypomania, Social Introv­ersion
NEO-PI-3 Surgency (or Extrov­ers­ion), Agreea­ble­ness, Consci­ent­iou­sness, Emotional Stability or Neurot­icism, Intellect or Openness to Experience
MBTI Extrov­ersion – Introv­ersion, Sensing – Intuition, Thinking – Feeling, Judging – Perceiving
A develo­pmental history: Assists in unders­tanding the physical, psycho­log­ical, interp­ers­onal, innate dispos­ition of parent and child, Assists in unders­tanding the develo­pmental growth of a child and parents' expect­ations, Allows to assess functi­oning overtime (temporary vs. temper­ame­ntal)
Norm-r­efe­renced instru­ments are MOST useful for comparing an indivi­dual's perfor­mance with other indivi­duals
Brief instru­ments are self report measures that reflect clients' own perception of diffic­ulties and take little admini­str­ation time and are useful for treatment planning
The Exner Compre­hensive System, which examines location, determ­inants, and content, is associated with the Rorschach Inkblot Test

Ethical Issues & Multic­ultural Consid­eration

Consider which assessment method would be best suited to client.
Consider profes­sional limita­tions & which instru­ments counselor can ethically administer and interpret. Reliab­ility and validity, fairness, user qualif­ica­tion, practical issues, interp­ret­ation and scoring materials
Commun­ication of results is most important. It requires specia­lized knowledge and compet­encies. Consid­era­tions include:1. Use visual aids to explain technical terms, 2. Use descri­ptive terms rather than numerical scores 3. Tentative interp­ret­ations rather than absolutes 4.Discuss limita­tions of assessment in non-te­chnical terms 5.Monitor client reactions during interp­ret­ation
Multic­ultural Consid­era­tions
Language and culture influences as assessment (e.g. verbal vs. nonverbal assessment tools) Examine charac­ter­istics of norming group (e.g. race, ethnicity, disabi­lity, gender) For referrals- if there If there are unique consid­era­tions in a culture, include small print

First Meeting

1) Assess the client proble­m(s). Find out highest priority in terms of client’s problem from their own words/­view. Explore each signif­icant problem from multiple perspe­ctives; gather specific inform­ation; assess each problem’s intensity; assess degree to which client believes each problem is change­able; identify methods the client has previously used to solve the problem.
2) Concep­tualize & define client problem(s) 3) Select & implement effective treatm­ent(s), 4) Evaluate counseling
Interv­iewing skills­/te­chn­iques: open questi­oning; paraph­rasing; clarif­ying; reflec­ting; interp­reting; summar­izing. Motiva­tional interv­iewing: express empathy
Mental Status Examin­ation: used to describe client’s level of functi­oning and self-p­res­ent­ation. Generally conducted during initial sessio­n/i­ntake interview. Appear­ance, attitude, and activity; mood and affect; speech and language; thought process, thought content and percep­tion; cognition; insight and judgement. Stay away from adjectives – they are our interp­ret­ations. MSE should be about the FACTS. Provider’s observ­ations at the time of the encounter. Helps understand which parts of the indivi­dual’s presen­tation is related to stress (external) vs person­ality (chara­cte­rol­ogi­cal) 
Assessment is integral to counse­ling: Helps share info with collat­erals, Unders­tanding guides interv­ention, Some patients uncomf­ortable with verbal­izing, helps counselor gain more info into underlying issues, Insurance, Having pre-, mid-, and post-a­sse­ssment to measure outcomes

Trauma and Abuse

Goal is to assess the POSSIB­ILITY of some type of abuse and not to determine if abuse has occurred. Areas of assessment (these should be patterns… not necess­arily one time occurr­enc­es): Physical (chara­cte­ristics of the child),  Behavioral Signs (e.g. sleepy, stealing food, hungry, not attending school) , Caretaker charac­ter­istics (e.g. chaotic) 
If abuse is disclosed, you should gather inform­ation, consult and decide based on nature of incident, age, and other factors
Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale assesses risk of aggression or danger to others, self-i­nfl­icted harm and/or suicid­ality

Enviro­nmental & Behavioral Observ­ations

The manner of gathering behavior samples should be objective, standa­rdized, and systematic Subject’s behaviors: Verbal remarks; nonverbal reactions  Record behavioral observ­ations: long pauses, blushes, exclam­ations, examiner can ask clarifying questions
Formal Behavioral Assess­ments: Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) Adaptive and malada­ptive behaviors; Multim­ethod and multid­ime­nsional assess­ment; Five versions; Teacher Rating Scale (TRS); Parent Rating Scale (PRS); Student Self-R­eport of Person­ality (SRP) Structured Develo­pmental History (SDH); Student Observ­ation System Achenbach System of Empiri­cally Based Assessment Used with ages 1.5 to 90; Most common is Child Behavior Checklist System­/6-18; 4 page assess­ment; Boys and girls scored separa­tely; Adaptive functi­oning and strength scales, syndrome scales, and DSM-5-­ori­ented scales

Tests for Diagnosis

Symptoms Checklist: any self-r­eport inventory used to assess the severity of symptoms of a given disorder, as in the Beck Depression Inventory, or across a range of disorders, as in the Symptom Checkl­ist­-90­–Re­vised.
Symptom Checkl­ist-90 Revised: nine descri­ptive scales: somati­zation, obsess­ive­-co­mpu­lsive, interp­ers­onal, depres­sion, anxiety, hostility, phobic, paranoid, psycho­ticism
Ways to Diagnose Include: Symptoms checklist, DSM Inform­ation and assessment recomm­end­ations, the clinical interview, person­ality tests, intell­igence tests, neurop­syc­hol­ogical tests, physical & lab testing
All these are examples of reasons why patients are referred to neurop­syc­hol­ogical testing: To assess if a child who is struggling academ­ically in school has a learning disabi­lity, To provide recomm­end­ations regarding the capacity to return to work or to receive vocational training, To make recomm­end­ations regarding living situation for patients with cognitive, motor, and /or behavioral deficits
The State-­Trait Anxiety Inventory (STA-I) measures both transitory anxiety and more stable person­ality features that predispose a client to more chronic levels of anxiety

Working with Couples

When interv­iew­ing­/as­sessing couples it is useful to know how they negotiate arguments and to encourage "I " statements
In assessing couples, the focus in typically on the relati­onship and couple's distress

Special Topics

Most persons who really want to end their lives, will find a way to do so.
A client has expressed some suicidal ideations and you want to explore further. The best question: When you think about hurting yourself, how do you imagine doing it?
Substance Use
In assessing potential substance abuse, we ask ourselves: Why is the person using, What happens when the person uses, When is the person using
Harm by a client
These are ways to minimize getting hurt by a client: Knowing security procedures at my agency, Not blocking the exit in the office/ place of meeting, Keeping some distance if a client is of concern
Substa­ntial research suggests that minority students tend to be overre­pre­sented in special education
Clients who receive interp­ret­ation of test results tend to have a better counseling outcome than those who do not receive an interp­ret­ation
A counselor who is assessing a client not repres­ented in the instru­ment's norming group should carefully consider how the inform­ation is going to be used and interpret the results very cautiously
A mark of a good psycho­logical report is that it involves an overview of the client and a compre­hensive interp­ret­ation of the assessment results
The first step in identi­fying approp­riate assessment strategies is to identify what inform­ation is needed
With respect to high-s­takes testing, both the American Psycho­logical Associ­ation (APA) and the American Education Research Associ­ation (AERA) contend that tests should not be used as a single measure of student perfor­mance, or basis for high-s­takes decisions
Rorschach, TAT, and Wechsler Intell­igence test need to be admini­ste­red­,sc­ored, and interpret by a trained psycho­logist