When speaking with your psychologist, hopefully they discussed your psychological assessment in a way you could understand easily. If not or you’ve gone cross-eyed from trying to figure out too many psychological words while Googling about assessments, we’re here to help. These are a small smattering of words you may have come across.
Psychometrics – a field of psychology concerned with measurement and assessment.
Battery of tests – multiple tests used to assess a referral question.
Gold standard – the best available test for a specific purpose based on research evidence.
Cognitive functioning – a broad term for mental processes such as perception, memory, learning, attention, decision making, and language abilities.
Adaptive functioning – skills and behaviours that are necessary for someone to navigate their daily lives, e.g. ability to manage their own hygiene, prepare meals, undertake developmentally appropriate chores.
Self-report measure – an assessment that requires the participant to report on their own experiences. They generally take the form of questionnaires.
Standardised – consistency in test administration and scoring to reduce the number of variables that could impact the validity of results.
Reliability – the consistency of a measure.
Validity – the accuracy of a measure.
Norms (aka normative score) – the average score from a representative group of people that test scores can be compared to.
Standard scores – a statistic or graph that shows where a test score sits in relation to the average score of a population.
Standard deviation – an indicator of how close or far a score is from the mean score of a population.
Confidence interval – a range of values we can be relatively certain a test score lies within.
We could go on… but now we’re starting to go cross-eyed! In the end, it isn’t your job to know all these words so if you don’t understand something about your psychological assessment, don’t be afraid to ask your psychologist to clarify.