Test Design and Construction

Psychological testing is the branch of psychology in which we use standardized tests, construct them in order to understand the individual differences.

Psychological testing is a term that refers to the use of psychological tests. It refers to all the possible uses, applications, and underlying concepts of psychological tests.


Test is defined as a series of questions on the basis of which information is sought.


A psychological test is an objective and standardized measure of sample of behavior.


A psychological test is a standardized measure quantitatively or qualitatively one or more than one aspect of trait by means of a sample of verbal or non-verbal behaviors.


In psychology and education, the purpose of a test is two-fold.

  • First, it attempts to compare the same individual on two or more than two aspects of traits.
  • Second two or more than two persons may be compared on the same trait. Such a measurement may be either quantitative or qualitative.


For a test to be scientifically sound, it must possess the following characteristics;


A test must have the trait of objectivity, that is it must be free from the subjective element so that there is complete interpersonal agreement among experts regarding the meaning of items and scoring of the test.

  • NORMS:

A test must also be guided by certain norms. Norms refer to the “average performance of the representative sample on a given test.” There are four common types of norms;

  • Age norm
  • Grade norm
  • Percentile norms
  • Standard score norms.

Depending upon the purpose and use, a test constructor prepares any of these above norms of his test. Norms help in interpretation of the scores. In the absence of norms no meaning can be added to the score obtained on the test.


A test must also be practicable from the point of view of the time taken in its completion, length, scoring etc. in other words, the test should not be lengthy  and the scoring method must not be difficult nor one which can only be done by highly specialized person


Development of good psychological test requires thoughtful and sound application of established principles of test construction. Before the real work of test construction, the test constructor take some broad decisions about the major objectives of the test in general terms and population for whom the test is intended and also indicates the possible conditions under which the test can be used and its important uses. These preliminary decisions have far reaching consequences. For example a test constructor may decide to construct an intelligence test meant for students of tenth grade broadly aiming at diagnosing the manipulative and organizational ability of the pupils. Having decided the above preliminary things, the test constructor go ahead with the following steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Writing items for the test.
  3. Preliminary administration of the test.
  4. Reliability of the final test.
  5. Validity of the final test.
  6. Preparation of norms for the final test.
  7. Preparation of manual and reproduction of the test.

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