Psychological assessments are carried out by psychologists to understand better the client’s functioning. There are different types of psychological tests that can be administered which measure cognitive abilities, level of achievement and personality amongst others. Within the school setting, psychologists administer psychological tests to children and adolescents to identify the reasons which are preventing a child to make progress. Difficulties could be within the academic domain as well as their social and emotional wellbeing. Along with other information which the psychologist looks out for, psychological tests provide further information which can lead to the diagnosis of a condition/disorder.
Psychologists also administer psychological tests to adults in a variety of contexts. A personality assessment can measure different personality traits and styles which can inform for a better clinical diagnosis, inform psychological interventions and increase the accuracy in predicting behaviours (APA, 2020). These types of assessments are sometimes requested by court. Some companies also conduct personality tests during recruitment so that they find the best fit for what they are looking for. Other types of psychological tests can help in the diagnosis of emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression.
One might ask, when should a person seek out such assessments? As indicated above, these are sometimes requested for a specific reason by an agency, organisation or institution. Thus, it is common for clients to seek out a psychological assessment because they are referred to do so. Rather than a client seeking to be tested for a specific condition/disorder, it would be useful to discuss with their psychologist what their concerns are and why they are seeking help. Then, the psychologist will guide the client how best to proceed. A psychological assessment does not involve only the administration of formal tests but it also includes other information obtained through observations and questioning.
When Educational Psychologists assess school-aged children this can be done to identify underlying conditions such as Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia. These are life-long conditions which do not disappear in adulthood. Some adults who have these conditions may have never been assessed and therefore never provided with the appropriate support. If this is the case, getting assessed as an adult is still possible even though the schooling years are over. This will be discussed further in part 2 of this blog.
In conclusion, a psychological assessment aims to draw a client’s profile outlining both strengths and areas of need. The aim of the psychologist is to understand how best they can support their clients and help them maximise their potential.
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Personality Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/personality