What is Psychological Assessment?
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
For those who might be wondering what Psychological Assessment is, here, I hope to be able to provide you with a glimpse of what it involves.
Psychological assessment is a process of testing that uses a combination of evidence-based assessment materials and techniques to understand the degree to which any neurological or cognitive processes that may or may not be associated with the individual's presenting experiences impact their school / career achievement, and social as well as other important aspects of life.
Determining potential causal factors for one’s behavior is not a simple endeavor and requires investigating a large number of potential influences. In doing so, a multi-dimensional, multi-informant diagnostic assessment battery is usually adapted to accurately and succinctly answer the referral question and, importantly, to inform intervention recommendations. Each measure used in the assessment represents a “gold-standard” assessment protocol, complete with reliability, validity, sensitivity, and specificity statistics.
Generally, the process of psychological assessment follows the below steps:
Referral Questions... a person might reach out to a psychologist with Referral Questions such as "I have trouble focusing on and completing tasks", "I want to ascertain the possibility of ADHD", "I have always felt socially awkward...I may be on the spectrum", "My child appears to have difficulty engaging in academic activities at school";
Consultation... valuable information is collected during the initial interview. If the assessment is for a child, not only the child but also the parents, teachers, as well as other individuals that are familiar with the child is asked to provide information from their perspectives.
Norm-Referenced Testings... Cognitive evaluation (e.g. with the use of Wechsler scales) may be conducted in order to identify key cognitive strengths and weaknesses and provide an estimate of one’s intellectual abilities as compared to similar-aged people.
Observations... Observational information of the person being referred in natural settings also provides valuable assessment information. If the assessment is for a child, psychologists could examine how they behave across different social settings, how other children might respond to the child's behaviours.
Feedback... When all test materials are scored and evaluation report prepared, you will be invited for a feedback session. Given that the results of a psychological assessment can be effectively utilized to assist you in exploring and identifying potential pathways that will shape you throughout your life, it is recommended that the feedback session is used as an opportunity to ask questions and clarify your concerns.
Psychological assessment is generally conducted by psychologists, the only profession with the required academic background and is trained to perform as well as interpret the results of assessment to arrive at hypotheses.
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