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Psychology: Tests and Measures

This guide is designed to help you find resources for your research and class assignments in psychology.

Why Tests and Measures?

Psychologists use tests to measure the nature and extent of individual differences, either numerically or impressionistically. The two major categories of psychological tests are psychometric and nonpsychometric.

To qualify as a psychometric test the scoring procedures must be purely objective, giving the same results regardless of who gives the test. Items on these tests are structured, and the resulting numerical scores yield continuous or discrete frequency distributions that can be analyzed statistically. Examples of this type of test are the California Personality Inventory (CPI), Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), and Wechsler Intelligence Scale For Children (WISC).

The scoring procedures for nonpsychometric tests involve subjective judgment on the part of the scorers. Items on the tests are unstructured and generally ambiguous. Examples of this type of test are the Children's Apperception Test (CAT), Machover Draw-A-Person Test (D-A-P), Rorshach Inkblots (RI), and Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).

Both types of psychological tests are required by national regulations to comply with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.

Based on:   Psychometric Tests. (2004). In Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology.

Books on Psychological Testing

Here are a few good books to get you started. Use the online catalog to search for others.

Finding Tests/Measures

In addition to the specific resources below, the APA's Finding the right tools article is a useful overall guide.

Published or Unpublished?

A published test is one that has been restrictively copyrighted.

  • Commercially available tests are purchased from the test publisher, which usually holds the copyright and may also offer manuals and scoring keys. If you want to use one of these tests you must get it from the publisher.
  • Tests in Print and the Mental Measurements Yearbook have extensive lists with publisher information.
  • You may need to furnish information to show that you are professionally qualified to administer and interpret the test.
An unpublished test does not have a restrictive copyright and is often available for anyone to use with the author's permission.
  • Information about unpublished tests usually appears in journal articles.
  • You can contact the researcher who created the test or measure to obtain copies.
  • Remember—you need permission from the author to use a test or measure for any reason other than research, or to change or alter any test items.