The emergence of testing - Psychodiagnostics. Theory and practice


Between the theoretical positions developed within the framework of general psychology, and the basics of psychodiagnostics, a close internal relationship is traced. Representations about the laws of development and functioning of the psyche are the starting point in the choice of psychodiagnostic methodology, the construction of psychodiagnostic techniques, their use in practice.

The history of psychodiagnostics is the history of the emergence of basic psychodiagnostic techniques, and the development of approaches to their creation based on the evolution of views on the nature and functioning of the mental. In this connection, it is interesting to trace how some important psychodiagnostic methods were formed within the main schools of psychology.

Test methods are associated with the theoretical principles behaviorism. The methodological concept of behaviorism was based on the fact that there is a deterministic relationship between the organism and the environment. The organism, reacting to the stimuli of the external environment, seeks to change the situation in a favorable side for itself and adapts to it. Behaviorism introduced psychology as the leading category of behavior, understanding it as the totality of responses to stimuli available to objective observation. Behavior, according to the behaviourist concept, is the only object of study of psychology, and all internal mental processes must be interpreted according to objectively observed behavioral responses. In accordance with these ideas, the aim of the diagnosis was initially to fix the behavior. This was the first psychodiagnostics that developed the test method (the term was introduced by F. Galton).

The first researcher who used in the psychological literature the concept of "intellectual test" was J. M. Cattell. This term, after the article by Cattell Intellectual tests and measurements, "published in 1890 in the journal Mind has gained wide popularity. In his article, Cattell wrote that the application of a series of tests to a large number of individuals would open the patterns of mental processes and thereby lead to the transformation of psychology into an exact science. At the same time, he suggested that the scientific and practical value of the tests would increase if the conditions for their conduct were monotonous. For the first time, the need for standardization of tests was proclaimed in order to make it possible to compare their results obtained by different researchers on different subjects.

Cattell proposed 50 tests as a sample, which included various kinds of motor measurements, sensitivity, reaction time, time spent on naming colors, the number of sounds reproduced after a single listening, etc. He used these tests in his Columbia University laboratory (1891). But the experience of using them for practical purposes to predict the student learning curve was unsuccessful: the connection between the test results and the success of training was not established.

Following Kettel, other American laboratories began using the test method. It became necessary to organize special focal points for the use of this method. In the years 1895-1896. in the United States, two national committees have been set up to unite the efforts of test specialists and to give a general direction to test papers.

Initially, as usual, experimental-psychological tests were used as tests. In form they resembled the methods of laboratory research, but the meaning of their application was fundamentally different. After all, the task of the psychological experiment is to elucidate the dependence of the mental act on external and internal factors, for example, the nature of perception from external stimuli, memorization - on the frequency and distribution of repetitions, etc.

When testing a psychologist registers individual differences in mental acts, evaluating the results obtained with the help of a certain criterion, without changing the conditions for the implementation of these mental acts.

A new step in the development of the test method was made by the French physician and psychologist A. The bull (1857-1911), the creator of the most popular in the early XX century. series of intelligent tests. Prior to Binet, as a rule, differences in sensorimotor qualities-sensitivity, rapidity of reaction, etc., were tested. But practice required information about higher mental functions, usually denoted by the terms "mind", "intellect". It is these functions that ensure the acquisition of knowledge and the successful performance of complex adaptive activities.

The reason why A. Binet, together with T. Simon, began to develop the first in the history of psycho-diagnostics of the intellectual test, was a practical request - to create a technique by which it was possible to separate children capable of teaching, but lazy and unwilling to learn , from those suffering from born defects and unable to study in a normal school. At the initiative of the Ministry of Education of France in the early XX century. special schools for mentally handicapped children began to be created, in connection with which it was necessary to differentiate children according to their ability to study before the beginning of schooling, at the threshold of the school.

Binet and Simon conducted a series of studies of memory, attention, thinking in children of different ages, starting at three. Experimental tasks carried out on a large group of children were checked by statistical criteria and began to be considered as a means of revealing the level of intellectual development.

The first series of tests - The Binet-Simon Intelligence Development Echelle scale appeared in 1905. It was designed for children from three to 11 years of age and subsequently revised several times by authors who sought to remove from it all the tasks requiring special training. The Binet-Simon scale in subsequent editions (1908 and 1911) was translated into German and English. The second edition (1908) was distinguished by the fact that the age range of children was expanded to 13 years, the number of assignments was increased, and the notion of mental age was introduced. This scale has received the widest distribution. The last, third, edition of the scale came out in the year of A. Binet's death and had no significant changes.

Tasks in the Binet-Simon scales were grouped by age (from 3 to 13 years). For each age, certain tests were selected by examining a large group of children (300 people). Tests were considered appropriate for this age level, if they were solved by the majority of children of this age (80-90%). The indicator of intelligence in the Binet scales was a mental age that could differ from the chronological one. Mental age was determined by the level of those tasks that the child could solve. If, for example, a child whose chronological age is 3 years old, solves all problems for 4-year-olds, then the mental age of this 3-year-old child is equal to 4 years. The discrepancy between the mental and chronological ages was considered an indicator of either mental retardation (if the mental age is lower than the chronological age) or talent (if the mental age is higher than the chronological age).

The second edition of the Binet scale served as the basis for the work on adaptation, verification and standardization conducted at Stanford University (USA) by a group of psychologists led by LM Termen (1877-1956). The first version of the adaptation of the Binet test scale was proposed in 1916 and had so many major changes compared to the main one that was called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. There were two major innovations compared to the Binet tests: the introduction as an indicator for the Intelligence Quotient (Intelligence Quotient - IQ) between mental and chronological ages, and the application of the test evaluation criterion, for which the notion of a statistical norm was introduced.

The Stanford-Binet scale is designed for children between the ages of 2.0 and 18 years. It consisted of tasks of different difficulty, grouped according to age criteria. For each age, the most typical, the average performance was 100, and the statistical measure of dispersion, the deviation of individual values ​​from this average a was 16. All individual test scores that fell within the interval x ± o (that is, limited by numbers 84 and 116), were considered normal, corresponding to the age norm of fulfillment. If the test score was higher than the test norm (more than 116), the child was considered gifted, and if lower than 84, then the mentally retarded.

The Stanford-Binet scale has gained popularity all over the world. It had several versions (1937, 1960, 1972, 1986, 1998). In the latest edition, it is also used now. The IQ score, obtained from the Stanford-Binet Scale, has become synonymous with intelligence for many years. Newly created intellectual tests began to be checked by comparison with the results of the Stanford-Binet Scale.

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