A psychological test is a measurement instrument that has five defining characteristics:
- Behavior Sampling
- Objective Measurement of Difficulty
“The representative sample of behavior which is under consideration is known as a sample of behavior.”
The human sample of behavior is a complex phenomenon. We can’t measure human behavior. Behavior is used to measure some specific attributes (e.g. introversion) or to predict any cost because it starts from birth and remains till death. Incidental behavior is not listed in a sample of behavior. It is based on specific human behavior. Every psychological test requires the respondent to do something. The subject’s some specific outcomes (e.g. success in a job training program).
The use of behavior samples in psychological measurement has several implications.
The first psychological test is not an exhaustive measurement of all possible behavior that could be used in measuring or defining a particular attribute.
- You wished to develop a test to measure a person’s writing ability. One strategy would be to collect and evaluate everything that person had ever written, from term papers to laundry lists. Such a procedure would be highly accurate, but impractical. A psychological test attempts to approximate this exhaustive procedure by collecting a systematic sample of behavior; in this case, a writing test might include a series of short essays, sample letters, memos, and the like.
- The second implication of the quality of a test each examinee was required to drive the route of a race track. This test would certainly sample some aspects of driving but would forget others such as parking, following signals, or negotiating in traffic. It would therefore not represent a very good driving test. A psychological test is a sample of behavior.