Approved by Faculty Senate



University Studies Course Approval


Department: Psychology

Course Number: 350

Semester Hours: 3

Frequency Offered: Every semester

Course Title: Psychological Testing and Measurement

Catalog Description: Principles and practice of psychological measurement. Topics include basic statistical concepts; reliability and validity; widely used ability, personality, and interest tests and their application in educational, employment, clinical, and basic research settings; social and legal issues arising from test use. Prerequisites: PSY 210, PSY 231 or equivalent.


A2C2 Approved Course? Yes

Requested Approval: Writing Flag

Contact Person: Janette Williams,


Description of the requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to

a. Practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in their fields:

There are three formal writing assignments in this course. These assignments are progressive in the sense that each subsequent assignment demands more from the students in terms of reading source material, application of psychometric principles and concepts, and analysis and discussion of relevant issues.

The first paper requires students to describe and summarize the content of at least two professional reviews of a commercially published psychological test. In doing so, the students will practice their ability to report accurately and fully information related to the adequacy of a test and use the relevant concepts covered in the course in a clear and precise way. In the second paper, the students will provide their own review of a test based on the report of the development of a test designed to be used as a research instrument. The professional reviews used in the preparation of the first paper will serve as models for the general format and style to be employed in the second paper. In this second paper, students will have to use their own judgment concerning the adequacy of the test based on their understanding and application of testing principles. The third paper requires students to review the literature on a fairly narrow topic in psychological testing and provide an analysis and discussion of the issue. This last writing assignment requires more extensive reading than the first two papers and hence presents more of a challenge to the students in terms of reporting information and organizing ideas. In developing their own commentary on the topic, students are expected to draw upon their knowledge of relevant testing concepts.

The instructor will provide written feedback on all three papers. The students will be encouraged to make use of the services of the Writing Center in the process of preparing their papers. They will also be encouraged to consult with the instructor regarding questions or problems they encounter in the writing process. In addition, a rough draft of the third paper will be required two weeks before the due date. Students will receive credit for submitting the rough draft and feedback will be provided, but the draft will not be graded.

b. Understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields:

Writing in psychology, in common with almost all other types of writing, aims to achieve clear communication. Emphasis therefore is placed on clarity of expression, precision in terminology and logical development of ideas. The main uses of writing by psychologists are to describe scientific research, one's own or others', to discuss and evaluate research in terms of relevant psychological concepts and theories, and to articulate the implications of research for "real life" or practical applications.

The formal writing assignments in this course give students practice in summarizing the work of others in a clear and logical fashion (all three papers), in using pertinent psychometric concepts and principles with precision and accuracy (all three papers) and in discussing research on psychological testing issues in terms of their relevance to the uses of testing in our society (the third paper).

c. Adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields:

As mentioned earlier, good organization, clarity and precision are expected in scientific prose. Other important features of writing in psychology that will be emphasized in this course are the determination of the appropriate level of detail in reporting the research of others, correct presentation of statistical information and correct citation of sources. The students' development of skills in the aforementioned areas will be promoted through guidance in class, consultations with the instructor and/or Writing Center staff during the process of paper preparation, feedback on completed papers, and use of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

d. Make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their fields:

In the third paper, students are required to prepare a review of the literature on a topic in psychological testing. In order to find the sources for this paper, they will typically use the databases available in our library, particularly PsycINFO.


e. Learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields.


Students are required to use APA style in writing their papers. The basic features of the style will be addressed in lecture and hand-outs; students will be referred to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for additional guidance on the finer points of this style. Their mastery of this style of writing will be supported by the kind of reading they are required to do in the preparation of each paper. The professional reviews and journal articles that will be read serve as good models of writing in the field. Feedback will be provided to students during the process of writing and on the completed papers.


Example Syllabus



Psychology 350 Psychological Testing and Measurement

Spring 2001

Instructor: Dr. Janette Williams

Office: Phelps 231-C 457-5452 or 457-5435


Hours: MWF 1:00-2:30, TR 11:00-12:30 and by appointment

Text: Kaplan, R. M. & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2001). Psychological testing: Principles, applications and issues. (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


This is a Writing Flag course in the University Studies Program. As such, it includes requirements and learning activities that promote the students' abilities to

a. practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in their fields;

b. understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields;

c. adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields;

d. make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their fields; and

e. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields.

Course Objectives for Psychological Testing and Measurement

- To understand the logic and assumptions of psychological measurement.

- To understand the principles of test construction, validation, and interpretation.

- To be aware of the uses of a variety of psychological tests.

- To acquire the knowledge necessary to make informed and critical evaluations of tests.

- To be familiar with social issues related to psychological testing.


Course Requirements

Exams--There are five exams in this course. The exams will have both multiple-choice and essay questions. Each exam is a unit exam and will cover the textbook reading and lecture material for that unit. About 60% of the final grade will be based on performance on exams.

Homework--Short homework assignments will be made throughout the course, the bulk of these occurring in the first half of the course. These will account for approximately 10% of the final grade.

Papers--There are three papers required in this course. Description of these papers follow. The grades on these papers will constitute about 30% of the final grade.

Grades will be based on performance on the exams, the papers, and the homework assignments. A curve will be used that is based on the average of 95% of the total points in the course and the highest point total earned by a student in the class. The following scale will be applied.

A = 92-100% of the average described above

B = 82- 91% of the average described above

C = 72- 81% of the average described above

D = 62- 71% of the average described above

Assignments must be handed in on time and tests taken at the scheduled times unless there is a legitimate reason for not doing so, such as serious illness. A penalty will be taken on unexcused late assignments and tests.

Students are responsible for providing their own Scantron answer sheets for the tests.





Date Topic Reading

Jan 9 Introduction Ch. 1

Jan 11-18 Basic Statistics Ch. 2

Jan 23-25 Correlation and Regression Ch. 3

Jan 30 Test I

Feb 1-6 Reliability Ch. 4

Feb 8-15 Validity Ch. 5

Feb 20 Tests and Decision-making p. 179-194

Feb 22 Test II

Feb 27-Mar 1 Test Development Ch. 6

Mar 13 Test Administration Ch. 8

Mar 15 Test III

Mar 20 Paper I due

Mar 20-29 Ability Testing Ch. 10, 11, p. 308-327,

p. 338-342, p. 349-366

Apr 3-5 Issues Ch. 19, p. 576-589,

p. 590-591

Apr 5 Paper II due

Apr 10 Test IV

Apr 12-24 Personality Testing Ch. 15, 16

Apr 17 Rough draft of Paper III due

Apr 26 Issues Ch. 21

May 1 Paper III due

May 2 Test V (1:00-3:00)




Paper Assignments


All three papers are to be written in APA style. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association will be useful in helping you to master this style of writing.

Students are encouraged to make use of the Writing Center during the preparation of their papers. The Writing Center, located in Minne 340, offers WSU students free, individualized instruction in writing. You may visit the center on your own or on the recommendation of a teacher; you may "drop in," or you may sign up for a scheduled appointment; you may seek assistance with any aspect of your writing for any class or purpose. A schedule and sign-up sheet is posted on the Writing Center door each quarter. Call x5505 or e-mail for appointments and information.

Paper I Due March 20 50 points

Writing Flag Outcomes a., b., c., and e. are emphasized.


The purpose of this assignment is to familiarize you with the Mental Measurements Yearbooks (MMY) and to give you practice in reporting and summarizing psychometric information. The MMYs are one of the most comprehensive listings of commercially published tests. The thirteen editions of the MMY are in the Reference section of our library.

Each edition of the MMY contains the description and review of newly published tests and older tests which have undergone a major revision since the previous edition of the MMY. For this paper, you should find a test in the MMY which has been evaluated by at least two reviewers.

Your paper should include a brief description of the test and its purpose. The bulk of the paper should be devoted to describing and summarizing information in the reviews that is pertinent to the psychometric adequacy of the test. The important features of the test that should be covered in the reviews (and in your paper, of course) are as follows:

1) Normative sample--The groups on which the test was standardized should be described. How was the sample selected? What kinds of norms are reported in the test manual? Does the standardization appear to be adequate/appropriate for the recommended use the test?

2) Reliability--What types of reliability information are available for the test? Are the nature and sizes of the samples on which reliability information is reported adequate with respect to the stated uses of the test?

3) Validity--What information is given about the test's validity? Are the procedures used to establish validity satisfactory in terms of the stated purpose of the test?

4) Miscellaneous--Reviews may mention features of the test, such as ease of administration and scoring, or quality of the manual, which bear on the usefulness of the test.


Your job is to present and discuss the information contained in the reviews in your own words. In your treatment of the important features of the test, such as the reliability and validity evidence, you should present the information in a way which demonstrates that you understand why these data were collected and what these data mean.

After presenting the information gathered from the reviews, you should give a summary evaluation of the test.

Your paper should be approximately 4 to 5 pages in length. Hand in a photocopy of the MMY entry with two copies of your paper.



Paper II Due April 5 75 points

Writing Flag Outcomes a., b., c., and e. are emphasized.


In this paper, you will present a description of the development of a test that is used as a research instrument in psychology and critically evaluate the evidence that bears on the psychometric adequacy of the test.

In contrast to Paper I, here you are reporting on and evaluating a test which is not commercially published. The information about this kind of test will be contained in an article in a professional psychology journal.

Your first task in preparing this paper will be to find a journal article which is devoted to an account of the development of such an instrument. Select an article where the actual items on the test are given in the article. There are several ways you might go about finding an appropriate article:

1. Do a search with the PsycINFO database. You will be looking for an article that will probably have phrases such as "test construction," "test development," or "test validation" in the title. Be aware that the word "test" may not be used, but rather terms like "scale," "measure," "inventory," or "instrument."

2. Look through volumes of likely journals seeking a report of test development. One journal that fairly regularly publishes these kinds of articles and which is available in our library is the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. For instance, in the October 1997 (Volume 73, Number 4) issue of this journal, there is an article entitled "Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS) for Women: Development and Validation," by Morokoff, Quina, Harlow, Whitmire, Grimley, Gibson and Burkholder (p. 790-804). Other journals that are likely candidates for having the type of article you need include Journal of Applied Psychology and Psychological Reports.


3. Another strategy for finding an article that reports on test development is to locate a journal article which deals with an individual difference variable (e.g., narcissism, Machiavellianism, self-actualization, need for closure) and to use the reference in that article to track down the article that originally described the development of the scale.

Once the article is found, you will prepare your paper along the lines of Paper I. That is, you will want to describe the format of the test and its purpose and present information about the norm sample, reliability and validity of the test.

Since you are discussing a test which has not been reviewed by professionals (discounting the enthusiasm of the test authors here), this is an opportunity for you to make an independent, critical judgment about the quality of the test. You should use your knowledge of what makes a "good" test to inform your discussion and evaluation of this instrument. In effect, you are the reviewer here.

Your paper should be about 5 to 6 pages in length. Two copies of your paper should be accompanied by a copy of the journal article you used as the basis for this paper.




Paper III Rough draft due April 17 15 points

Final version due May 1 100 points

Writing Flag Outcomes a., b., c., d., and e. are emphasized.



In this paper, you will review the literature on a current, possibly controversial issue in psychological testing. Your own contribution to the paper is important, so the issue you select should be one which allows you to analyze and discuss the information you found and to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of psychometric principles and concepts. Many of the interesting issues in testing will involve not only measurement concerns, but will have political, social, legal and/or ethical ramifications as well.

A few possible topics for such a paper are coaching courses for the SAT, minimum competency testing, honesty testing, computer-based test interpretation, or bias in tests, such as gender bias in the SAT mathematics section.

In looking for a topic for this paper, you could get some ideas by looking at textbooks on psychological testing, our own and others. Most texts have a section on "issues in testing" which could serve as an inspiration for your own paper and give you a place to start. Our own text has "focused Example" boxes in most chapters, some of which introduce interesting topics that could be suitable for this paper. In addition, our text has "Infotrac Exercises" and "Web Activity" suggestions at the end of each chapter which may be fruitful in generating ideas. Another place to look for paper ideas would be the journal, American Psychologist. This journal has articles on a wide variety of topics in psychology and so occasionally will have articles pertinent to testing and assessment. The virtue of this journal is that articles are written for psychologists in general (rather than testing specialists in particular) and so the presentation of the material is accessible to the non-specialist.

A minimum of five primary sources is required in the preparation of this paper. Primary sources include professional journal articles and books on narrowly defined topics in which the author presents his/her own original thinking and/or research. The PsycINFO database should be useful to you in your search for appropriate sources. Primary sources do not include textbooks and popular magazine articles. Each primary source should contribute in a significant way to the information/ideas presented in your paper; in other words, using only the information contained in one sentence of a 15-page article does not constitute significant use of a primary source.

A rough draft of this paper is due two weeks before your final version. You will receive points for handing in the rough draft on time. The rough draft will not receive a grade, but you will get feedback on the draft in time for you to make whatever changes are necessary or desirable for the final version of the paper.

Two copies of the paper, accompanied by copies of the sources you used to prepare the paper, are required. The paper should be approximately 8 to 10 pages in length.