The emergence of tests of special abilities and achievements...

Appearance of tests of special abilities and achievements

The impetus for the development of tests of special abilities was the powerful development of professional counseling, as well as professional selection and distribution of personnel in industry and military affairs. Began to appear tests of mechanical, clerical, musical, artistic abilities. Test batteries (kits) were created to select incoming medical, legal, engineering and other educational institutions. Complex batteries of abilities were developed for use in counseling and personnel distribution. The most known of them are the General Aptitude Test Battery GATB battery and the Battery of special abilities tests (Special Aptitude Test Battery - SATB), developed by the US Employment Service for use by consultants in public institutions. Tests and batteries of special abilities with different composition and methodological qualities are similar in one - they are characterized by low differential validity. Individuals who choose different areas of education or professional activity are slightly different in their test profiles.

The theoretical basis for building complex capacity batteries was the use of a special technique for processing data on individual differences and correlations between them - factor analysis. Factor analysis made it possible to more accurately identify and classify what was called special abilities.

The modern understanding of factor analysis differs somewhat from its interpretation, which was in 1920-1940. Factor analysis is the highest level of linear correlations. But linear correlations can not be considered a universal form of expressing the mathematical connection between mental processes. Consequently, the absence of linear correlations can not be interpreted as the absence of a bond at all, the same applies to low correlation coefficients. Therefore, factor analysis and the factors extracted through this analysis do not always correctly reflect the relationship between mental processes.

But, perhaps, the main thing that causes doubt is the understanding of the so-called special abilities. These abilities are treated not as individual features that arose as a product of the influences of society's demands on the individual, but as features inherent in the given individual psyche. This interpretation generates a lot of logical difficulties. Indeed, why did the present individual suddenly develop and manifest such abilities, of which even the previous generations had no idea? It is impossible to think that in the psyche are concealed abilities that are suitable for all future social demands. But the technique of factor analysis takes these abilities as a certain reality; in reality they are mental entities that are in dynamics.

Said convinces that the possibilities of factor analysis and its factors should be treated with great caution and do not consider this analysis as a universal tool for studying the psyche and identifying its characteristics such as special abilities.

Along with tests of intelligence, special and complex abilities, another type of tests has appeared, widely used in educational institutions - tests of achievements. Unlike intelligence tests, they reflect the influence not so much of the diverse accumulated experience, how many special training programs on the effectiveness of solving test tasks. The history of the development of these tests can be traced from the moment when the oral form of examinations to the written form was changed in the Boston school (1845). In America, tests of achievements are used in the selection of employees for public service since 1872, and since 1883 their application has become regular. The most significant development of the elements of the technique for constructing tests of achievements was carried out during the First World War and immediately after it.

Tests of achievements are among the most numerous group of diagnostic techniques. One of the most known and widely used tests of achievements so far is the Stanford Achievement Test ( SAT), first published in 1923. It helps to assess the level of training in different classes in secondary schools. A significant number of tests of special abilities and achievements was created under the influence of practical inquiries of industrial and economic subjects. They were used for professional selection and professional counseling. Further development of tests of achievements led to the emergence in the middle of the XX century. criterion-based tests (see Chapter 8 of this tutorial).

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