General Course Information for PSY431: Psychological Testing

Course: PSY431 - Psychological Testing
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description:

An introduction to theories and principles of psychological testing and measurement and to a variety of standardized tests of intelligence, personality, achievement, interest, neuropsychology and other areas. Emphasizes the principles by which tests are constructed and validated. Also examines controversies regarding the valid, appropriate and fair use of psychological tests.

Course Learning Outcomes:

More specifically, upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Define, describe and identify basic testing terms such as: theory, assessment, attitude, personality, measurement, validity, reliability, operational definitions, statistics, average, central tendency, correlation, bias, battery, criterion, decile, standardization, derived score, level of significance, sample, control, prediction, randomness, measurement scale, stratification, norms, distracters and factor.
  • Point out similarities and differences in pairs of research terms such as: observation and measurement, measurement and classification, intelligence and aptitude, population and sample, discrete and continuous variables, dependent and independent variables, ordinal and interval data, tests and measurement, standardization and norming, validity and reliability one percent and five percent levels of significance, structured and unstructured interview schedules, and type I and type II error.
  • Describe the questions, situations and court orders, which lead to psychological measurement.
  • Describe the continuum of approaches to measurement from informal to standardized methods of assessment.
  • Distinguish four characteristics of aptitude tests.
  • List functions which are served by psychology tests and measurement.
  • Describe the assessment issues and questions, which would prompt test development.
  • List and describe the stages in the development of a psychology test.
  • Explain how the concepts of what, where, when, why, and how are addressed in the stages of test development.
  • List the types and essential function of a validity check.
  • Describe the primary assumptions made in the testing process.
  • Define and apply the concepts of measures of central tendency, standardization, norms and samples, measures of dispersion and variability, measures of correlation and tests of significance.
  • Define, and compare/ contrast the major types of tests commonly used in psychology.
  • Cite the strengths and weaknesses of achievement, personality, intelligence, and aptitude tests commonly used in psychology.
  • List and describe the procedures used by a clinician in determining the most appropriate psychological test/s to use, when considering the population to be assessed and question/s to be answered.
  • Describe the procedure used to test the representativeness of a sample taken from a population.
  • List the similarities and differences between the reliability and the validity of a research instrument.
  • State at least five conditions which represent acceptable ethical standards for an instrument.
  • Describe the basic ethics principles involved when planning to use human subjects in a testing situation.
  • Explain the limitations and ethical concerns regarding the assessment of all the protected and special populations.
  • Discuss the elements involved in writing an assessment report including a written analysis of the data and the use of a table or figure in a test report.
  •  (Prerequisite: ENG100/101 and PSY100)
  • An introduction to theories and principles of psychological testing and measurement, and to a variety of standardized tests of intelligence, personality, achievement, interest, neuropsychology, projective and other areas. Emphasizes the principles by which tests are constructed and validated. Also examines controversies regarding the valid, appropriate, and fair use of psychological tests, including the integration of tests and measurement into the overall assessment process.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures