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Legal and Ethical Concerns and Issues in Testing

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1 Legal and Ethical Concerns and Issues in Testing
(Chapter 17) Yvonne Gardea Liz Nuñez Sonia Ortega April Truax

2 Professional Standards and Codes of Ethics
Express the values on which counselors build their practice and provide a framework for responsible test use. To become effective individuals must be committed to the ethical standards of their profession and follow them in their practice. Developed to promote responsible professional practice in psychological testing and assessment. Codes provide guidelines for professionals, but do not provide answers to all ethical dilemmas.

3 American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics
Members work in a variety of settings and serve in multiple capacities. Serves to clarify the ethical responsibilities of its members as well as describe best practices in the counseling profession. Emphasizes that counselors should use assessment instruments as one component of the counseling process, taking into account the client’s personal and cultural context.

4 ACA Code of Ethics Section E: Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation (Table 17.1 pgs ) General Competence to Use and Interpret Assessment Instruments Informed Consent in Assessment Release of Data to Qualified Professionals Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Instrument Selection Conditions of Assessment Administration Multicultural Issues/Diversity in Assessment Scoring and Interpretation of Assessments Assessment Security Obsolete Assessments and Outdated Results Assessment Construction Forensic Evaluation: Evaluation for Legal Proceedings

5 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing
The Standards American Educational Research Association (AERA) American Psychological Association (APA) National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME)

6 The Standards – AERA, APA, NCME
Provides test developers and test users with assistance in evaluating the technical adequacy of their instruments for educational and psychological assessment. The intent is to promote the sound and ethical use of tests and to provide criteria for the evaluation of tests, testing practices, and the effects of test use. Organized into 3 parts: Test Construction, Evaluation, and Documentation Fairness in Testing Testing Applications

7 American Psychological Association (APA)
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct Consists of 11 ethical standards Known as rules of conduct for psychologists

8 Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct
Recommendations should have sufficient documentation Use valid and reliable assessment techniques Obtain informed consent Do not release test results without client’s permission Follow ethical procedures in test construction

9 Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (continued)
Explain test results in client’s native language Deny use of assessment techniques by unqualified examiners Deny use of outdated test results Scoring and interpreting tests procedure must be valid and reliable Use valid and reliable procedures to explain assessment results Maintain integrity and security of tests

10 Responsibilities of Users of Standardized Tests (RUST)
Set of guidelines used to promote the accurate, fair, and responsible use of standardized tests Developed by the Association for Assessment in Counseling (AAC) Designed to avoid test errors

11 The Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education
Provides guidance for test developers and test users in four areas: Developing & Selecting Appropriate Tests Administering & Scoring Tests Reporting & Interpreting Test Results Informing Tests Takers

12 Ethical Issues in Assessment

13 Who is Responsible for Appropriate Use?
In ethics, there often are gray areas, however the responsibility for test or instrument usage is not a gray area. It is clear from many ethical sources that the test user is responsible for appropriate use. The ACA code of Ethics states ”Counselors are responsible for the appropriate application, scoring, interpretation and use of assessment instruments relevant to the needs of the client, whether they score and interpret such test themselves or use technology or other services. Test publishers are responsible for publishing the needed information, both the ultimate responsibility for the ethical use of an assessment lies with the counselor. As the standards indicate, this responsibility also includes scoring and interpretation performed by computers. The Practitioners must ensure that the computer programs or other scoring services used are reliable, valid, and appropriate.

14 ACA Code of Ethics Section E.2.b
“Counselors are responsible for the appropriate application, Scoring, interpretation, and use of assessment instruments relevant to the needs of the client, whether they score and interpret such tests themselves or use technology or other services”

15 Professional Training and Competence
Professionals must be qualified to Select Administer Score Interpret tests Part of being responsible user of tests or other assessment instruments is practicing within one’s limits. Instruments can easily be misused by inadequately trained practitioners. Once again, the ACA Code of ethics and Standards of Practice provides assistance. Limits of Competence. The goal was to develop guidelines to inform test users and general public of the qualifications APA considers important for the competent and responsible use of psychological tests.

16 Different levels of Competency
High Level Wechsler Scales Thematic Apperception Test Rorschach Different tests require different levels of competency. Some test that require a high level of skill include the Wechsler scales, the Thermatic Apperception Test and the Rorschach.

17 Guidelines for Competencies of Tests Users
Understand basic measurement concepts Understand basic statistics of measurement Compute and apply measurement formulas Read, evaluate, and understand test manuals and reports Follow exactly as specified the procedures for administering, scoring, and interpreting a test Compare and contrast different types of test scores their strengths and weaknesses Basic measurement concepts—such as scales of measurement, types of reliability, types of validity and types of norms Basic statistics of measurement– and define, compute, and interpret measures of central tendency, variability and relationship Compute and apply measurement formulas—such as the standard error of measurement

18 Test-User Qualifications
Combination of Knowledge Skills Abilities Training Credentials optimal for using tests The phrase test user qualifications refers to the combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, training , and when appropriate credentials optimal for using tests. Counselors must be knowledgeable about the specific instrument before they can give it to a client. Instruments vary in the amount of training and experience required before counselors can be considered competent. Although some publishers require that user qualifications be documented before they will sell an instrument to an individual, the ultimate responsibility still rests with the individual counselor. Related to the issue of competence is the concept of test-user qualifications. The test user qualifications remain controversial. Some professional groups advocate restricting the use of psychological tests to psychologist ONLY. Others believe firmly that one’s qualifications to use test is directly related to competence and not to a specific professional field. And competence can be achieved through various means, such as education, training, and experience in the use of tests.

19 ACA Standards for the Qualifications of Test Users
Skill in practice and knowledge of theory relevant to the testing context and type of counseling specialty A thorough understanding of testing theory, techniques of test construction, and test reliability and validity. A working knowledge of sampling techniques, norms, and descriptive, correlational, and predictive statistics. Ability to review, select, and administer tests appropriate for clients or students and the context of the counseling practice. Skill in administration of tests and interpretation of test scores Knowledge of the impact of diversity on testing accuracy, including age, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, and linguistic differences Knowledge and skill in the professionally responsible use of assessment and evaluation practice. In the past 10 years, some efforts have been made to restrict counselors from using psychological assessments. Therefore, it is imperative for counselors to ensure they have the proper training and background when using psychological assessments. The American Counseling Association 2003 approved the Standards for Qualifications of Test Users In 2003 the American Counseling Association developed the Standards for the qualifications of Test Users. States that professional counselors are Qualified to use tests and assessments in counseling practice to the degree that they possess the appropriate knowledge and skills

20 Qualify to Purchase Tests
Classification A-level: Test Users NOT required advanced training in the test administration and interpretation to purchase. Ex. attitude and career exploration tests. B-level: Graduate Degree in psychology, counseling, education or related disciplines. Completed specialized training or coursework in testing, member of a professional organization. Ex. General intelligence tests and interest inventories C-level: B-level qualifications plus a doctorate degree in psychology or a related discipline Ex. Intelligence test, personality tests, and projective measures Restricted to persons who meet certain minimum qualifications. Most test publishers rely on 3 level system for classifying test-user qualifications that was first developed by APA in 1950, it was later dropped in 1974 but many publishers continue to use this system. A-level may have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, human services, education or related disciplines; training or certification relevant to assessment, or practical experience in the use of tests. B-level typically have a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, education or related disciplines. Completed specialized training or coursework in testing . Or have licensure or certification documenting training and experience in testing. In addition being a member of a professional organization such as American Speech-lange-hearing Assoication, or the American occupational therapy Association may become eligible. C-level Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Rorscharch Inkblot Test

21 Client Welfare Issues Because assessment can have a profound effect on clients’ lives, counselors need to consider clients’ rights in this process. Given to clients to inform them of their rights and responsibilites regarding tests.


23 Legal Issues in Assessment
Statutes- Laws written by legislative bodies. Regulations- Laws created by government agencies. Judicial decisions-Laws created by opinions from the court, often in litigation cases Some statutes and regulations have implications for assessment.

24 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Passed for Americans who have some form of disability. Extending testing time Providing written materials in large pring, Braille or audiotape Providing readers or sign language interpreters Holding test administrations in accessible locations Using assistive devices

25 Civil Rights Act of 1991 Civil Rights Act of 1991 outlaws discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, or national origin. Developed strict guidelines on employment tests Tests have to demonstrate “a reasonable measure of job performance”

26 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
FERPA protects the privacy of student records, giving parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. The right to examine their children’s academic records. Access to assessment information

27 Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)
This law requires that each state have a comprehensive system for identifying, locating, and evaluating children of ages birth to 21 with disabilities. Provide children with special education services IDEA mandates that schools utilize several scientifically based assessments and instructional and behavioral interventions to determine whether students have a SLD, therefore qualifying them for SPED services.

28 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA)
Three main purposes: To guarantee insurance portability To increase protection against fraus in the insurance industry To institute new regulations regarding the security and privacy of health information Privacy regulations establish that personal health information to include assessment information must be kept confidential

29 No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)
NCLB contains four basic education reform principles: Stronger accountability Increased flexibility and local control Expanded options for parents Emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work NCLB significantly raises expectations for states, local schools, in that all students are expected to meet or exceed standards

30 Card D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Act of 2006
Provides federal funding and guidance for career and guidance, for career and technical education with a focus on student achievement and preparing students for careers and postsecondary education. Career and technical education programs will be held accountable for improvement in performance, measured by academic proficiency. Success will be determined through valid and reliable tests, including NCLB assessments in reading, math and science.

31 Judicial Decisions Involving Educational Assessment
Laws created by opinions from the court, often in litigation cases Larry P. v. Riles (1974,1979,1984) Diana v. California State Board of Education (1973,1979) Debra P. v. Turlington (1979, 1981,1983,1984) Sharif v. New York State Educational Department (1989)

32 Judicial Decisions Involving Employment Tests
Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971) Washington v. Davis (1976) Bakke v. California (1978)

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