Mental health instruments differ from those applied in the medical health profession as no blood test is done to show bipolar disorder. Instead, qualified counselors use assessments to determine career interests, disease and personality types (Hood & Johnson, 2002). A psychological testing instrument gives mental health practitioners a reliable and cheap method to assess patients as they go through statistical analyses. Therefore, the current paper focuses on intelligence testing measures.
Intelligence tests are based on attempts to assess an individual’s intelligence, which is viewed as one’s ability to comprehend issues, assimilate functions, and use such knowledge to contribute to life positively (Ashton & Lee, 2008). It is noted that intelligence testing instruments have many applications in counseling. Firstly, rehabilitation rates of a patient under substance abuse can be detected and monitored through the analysis of their ability to understand the world around them (Hood & Johnson, 2002). Secondly, the instrument is used in potential detections together with other tests to show a subject's potential. This is achieved through the standardized assessment of symptoms to indicate the presence or absence of a mental illness. However, these evaluations should be done cautiously with other tests before diagnosing mental diseases. Moreover, counselors detect retardation and education disabilities easily when they use intelligence tests. Relying on the intelligence quotient determination, necessary advice is adduced to students on better methods of learning. Lastly, this test is applicable to career testing by university counselors to determine occupational awareness and work readiness among learners. Counselors are able to determine interests that students find appealing besides having the subject’s knowledge and occupational expectations.
Intelligence tests are also developed to measure people’s ability to understand their immediate environment, and how it functions. The tests can also help in assessing knowledge and skills critical in improving the quality of life. Some intelligence tests are designed to measure the level of a potential in a person (Benson, 2003). However, the intelligence tests are different from the achievement tests, as they do not determine what has been learnt. It is noted that the main setback is to develop a test that is not culture-bound.
Examining one’s aptitudes is one of the most taxing activities. Consequently, one of the crucial reasons for selecting the test is the ease at which the instrument allows to understand peoples’ abilities. According to Groth-Marnat (2000), a helpful intelligence test should demonstrate validity based on its ability to measure what it is designed to, and interpret the results. Similarly, it should be reliable to indicate consistent results. The quality of the test must be high in order to provide accurate information.
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Intelligence tests are preferable because they are easy to use. Besides, they can reveal different information than that obtained from other means (Braaten & Felopulos, 2003). The inability to lie when using it and its scientific consistency makes the test widely used. Similarly, the test assessment can be accessed online enabling people to decide whether they should seek professional assistance. According to Benson (2003), the test is very private and secure, and focuses on change within a specific area in one’s development.
The results of the test are dependent on how it is administered (Braaten & Felopulos, 2003). Specialized training is important as the instruments have rules on how to apply them. Only counselors who have the right academic qualifications may administer the test (Ashton & Lee, 2008). Similarly, psychologists in private practices may conduct intelligence tests using assistants that are registered and recognized by the state. Additionally, an intern may administer the test but under the direct supervision from a qualified psychologist.
According to Ashton and Lee (2008), test results are interpreted by psychologists because they possess knowledge in psychopathology and other useful skills required for results interpretation. This is done according to certain criteria or in a norm-referenced manner. In criterion testing, the performance of several subjects is compared to one another in accordance with different criteria. On the other hand, the norm-referenced examination compares a person’s test results with others, which are represented statistically. Ashton and Lee (2008) further noted the importance of testing representative samples to provide standardized norms that can be later referenced to interpret the scores.
Once the test results are interpreted, they can be used in decision making like placement in special learning. Similarly, the test can be used to determine and award gifted students (Benson, 2003).Courts use the information to rule on issues like an individual’s competency level to face a trial (Benson, 2003).
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In conclusion, mental health professionals and counselors have the responsibility to asses, administer and interpret patients’ intelligence tests. However, this should be done within their area of specialization as determined by education and experience for the purposes of achieving positive and satisfying outcomes, and appropriate behavioral adjustments.