This paper focuses on the important factors that have to be considered in communication of test results. The following factors have to be put into account: condition of the clients, purpose of tests to be used, reviewing of the objective and overall purpose of the test, and putting into account the limitation of the test, including its strengths and weaknesses; an explanation of the whole assessment procedure; a quantitative and accurate explanation of the interpretation of test scores; a client-centered manner of communicating test results and guiding the client in making a sound decision; congruence of all the collated information about the client (sex, background, current job, disability etc.); and a clear explanation of the test results for the client. Moreover, use of technical jargon should also be prevented, if not omitted, to provide a concise and comprehensive explanation of the client’s measured aspect of personality.
Factors in Communicating Test Results
What do clinical therapy, career counseling, and recruitment process have in common? All the aforementioned tasks involve experts engaged in their fields to provide assessment of their clients or employees. For instance, counselors in clinical-therapeutic session, school guidance counselor in the career advising, and industrial psychologist or human resource personnel in the recruitment process all have to make use of tests in order to quantitatively measure the mental, socio-emotional, psychological, and biological factors which might have an impact on the personality of their client or incoming employees. However, administration of the tests and its scoring has to be carefully executed considering the standard norms and ethical procedures of American Counseling Association (ACA) and American Psychological Association (APA).
Factors Involved in Communication of Test Results in ethical manner
There are several factors involved in communicating the test results which should encompass the following guidelines: 1) The assessment procedure should be carried out in anxiety-free manner, and the testing environment should be free from distractions. This suggests that the counselor should ensure anxiety-free environment for the client taking the test) 2) Knowing the purpose of tests to be used for assuring validity of the tool—standard norms and ethical codes have to be observed first before knowing the history and use of the tests and before interpreting the test results. This determines if the test measures what it is designed to measure. 3) Provision of follow-up questions among client or employees—this is to confirm client’s overall response upon taking the test and to review of the objective purpose, strength, weakness, and limitation of the test; 4) Explanation of the whole assessment procedure—communicating the results should reflect how the test results were scored, together with their implications and recommendations; 5) Accurate, quantitative explanation of the test scores to the client—interpretation of test results must imply a probability rather than a rigid and inflexible truth; 6) Manner of communicating test results should be client-centered and should guide the client in making a sound decision—clients should be motivated by counselors to participate in the interpretation of the results since the client shall use the results for his or her own wish to improve and understand his or her personality; 7) Congruence and comprehensiveness—there should be congruence among the collated information concerning the client (sex, background, current job, disability, etc.) and that test results must be clearly grasped by the client. The use of technical jargon should be prevented, if not omitted. Also, observance of the client’s response during the interpretation is also equivalently important. Moreover, imparting the test results should follow the guidelines described above for ethical reasons and purposes (Myers & Hansen, 1993).
Ethical Issues Involving Counselors’ Competence
The ethical issues involving the prevalent discussion of who shall only purchase testing materials call upon the requirement of competent counselors to get qualification, adequate skills, and training experience before being able to utilize the testing materials. Professionals with certifications, masteral and doctoral degree, and proof of experience in administering the testing tools are the ones only allowed to purchase and use the tests for ensured reliability and validity of the test and to prevent improper use of the tools. Forms are provided by test publishers for those professionals who wish to purchase the tests; it should be submitted to the publishers before taking the testing tools. These forms shall include their education attainment or degree, relevant courses taken, and skill and experience in using the test. For graduating students, they can purchase tests online or in stores by having their orders (signed) validated by their present professor to ensure proper use of the standard tests. It is preferable to purchase and take the tests online since it saves time and effort for those who need the testing tool rather than to search for the testing tools in every test publishing stores. However, for test examiners, it is more advisable to take the psychological test with a face-to-face encounter with the counselor in order for the latter to note every observable verbal or non-verbal response of the client which cannot done if the client would take the test through the internet. While the client can save time with an internet-based psychological test, it sacrifices its reliability, validity, and security. Moreover, extremity of the sick patient or client is an exception since it would be easier for them to take the test and interpret their scores using the modern computers.
Communication or interpretation and assessment of the test results have to be done in a careful manner by experts for reliable and valid source of information which would help the client, the student, and the employee in decision-making. Further, it is expected that the professionals follow an ethical manner in communicating the invaluable test results indicated in the ACA & APA Ethical codes. The limitation of the availability of the testing tools is to assure the objective reliability, validity, and accuracy of the communication and interpretation of test results wherein client decision-making, employee selection, and appraisals depend. It is more convenient to purchase and take the tests online since it saves time and effort for those who need speedy interpretation of scores and results. In addition, it is more advisable for examiners to take the psychological test with a face-to-face encounter with the counselor in order for the latter to note every observable verbal or non-verbal response of the client than take the tests on internet-based computer which saves time yet sacrifices its reliability, validity, and security. Moreover, extremity of the sick patient/client is an exception since it would be easier for them to take test and interpret their scores using the modern computers.
Hood, A. B. & Johnson R. (2008). Assessment in Counseling: A Guide to Psychological
Assessment Procedures. Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria: American Counseling Association.
Myers, A. & Hansen, C. (1993). Experimental Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc.