Psychological testing is the process of administering assessments that are aimed at evaluating a sample of behavior, which implies that a client’s performance in relation to some tasks should be described beforehand. Psychological testing contexts are typified by some ethical and legal issues that should be addressed so that clients may receive appropriate care (Burns, Jacob & Wagner, 2008; Hogan, 2007). Failure to consider both ethical and legal matters would result in unprofessionalism. This paper aims at discussing two ethical and two legal issues that impact the field of psychological testing. In addition, it describes a court case that has the most significance in the use of psychometric tests.
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Two ethical issues associated with psychological testing and their impacts
When a psychologist is conducting a test, he or she should be aware of ethical issues that may arise (Harriss & Atkinson, 2011; Ross, Saal, David & Anderson, 2013). One of the issues that can arise in psychological testing is related to the maintenance of confidential information (Hogan, 2007). A professional is required to release results to another professional only after obtaining consent from the client. In addition, such results should not be made available to persons outside the context.
Another ethical issue that is related to psychological testing is with regard to knowledge of results, which implies that psychologists are required to disclose tests to clients in a professional way (Harriss & Atkinson, 2011). Findings should be disclosed fully so that persons can make their informed decisions (Hogan, 2007). The requirement is applied on the grounds that clients are autonomous and self-determining.
However, it can be breached in cases where exceptions are allowed, for example, in situations of employment testing. The two ethical issues have a major impact on the field of psychological testing because they clearly demonstrate how clients should be handled by professionals (Ross et al., 2013). Furthermore, they show the extent to which professionals can use information about their customers in their settings.
Two legal issues associated with psychological testing and their impacts
Legal issues are commonly encountered in psychological testing due to the fact that the assessments are based on legal frameworks, which are aimed at protecting consumers (Burns et al., 2008). One of the issues in this context is related to the Civil Rights Acts, which were adopted in 1964 and 991(Hogan, 2007). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 stipulates the rules that should be followed by employers when recruiting new personnel.
The rules encompass some aspects, such as employment procedures and tests. The Act requires that minority groups should not be excluded from employment opportunities on the grounds of their numbers and color, among other attributes. The Act led to the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which aims at creating equal opportunities (Hogan, 2007). Although the legislation was revised in 1991, it retained most of its original clauses.
Another legal issue is the Disabilities Act of 1990, which aims at providing access for the handicapped in society. In the context of psychology, the handicapped should be subjected to tests that are within legal frameworks. The two legal issues have an impact on the field of psychological testing because they increase their scope of applications. In addition, they guide professionals vis-a-vis utilizing tests within the platforms of the law.
A court case with the largest impact on the field of psychological testing
In the past, some court cases involved issues that were related to psychological testing. The Griggs v. Duke Power of 1971 is the court case that has the largest impact in relation to psychological assessments. The plaintiff argued that the requirements for employment by Duke Power’s firm were discriminatory (Hogan, 2007). The firm insisted that new workers were required to have both a high school diploma and pass intelligence tests.
The Supreme Court held that the company did not provide a justification vis-a-vis requiring workers to have excellent intelligence scores and a high school diploma. It is critical to note that the Supreme Court relied partially on Congress’s deliberations regarding the use of professionally prepared tests in the workplace (Hogan, 2007). The landmark ruling impacted the psychology testing field by stating that employers should always demonstrate a relationship between a selection device and job performance outcomes. For example, how intelligence test scores and a high school diploma impact performance outcomes of personnel.
Thus, it implies that psychologists should utilize tests that are validated so that clients may not feel discriminated against in the settings. Finally, the ruling is applied in other contexts to make decisions that benefit members of society who may otherwise not access some services.
In conclusion, it has been shown that the field of psychological testing is characterized by both ethical and legal issues, which must be addressed so that the professionals can act legally and ethically. The two ethical issues considered in this paper are related to the maintenance of confidential information and the knowledge of test results. The legal matters that could impact the field are in the contexts of the Civil Rights Acts (1964 and 1991) and the Disability Act. The Griggs v. Duke Power of 1971 resulted in a landmark ruling that has greatly impacted the practice of psychologists.
Burns, M. K., Jacob, S., & Wagner, A. R. (2008). Ethical and legal issues associated with using response-to-intervention to assess learning disabilities. Journal of School Psychology, 46(3), 263-279.
Harriss, D. J., & Atkinson, G. (2011). Update–ethical standards in sport and exercise science research. International journal of sports medicine, 32(11), 819-821.
Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction, (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Ross, L. F., Saal, H. M., David, K. L., & Anderson, R. R. (2013). Committee on Genetics; American College of Medical Genetics Social, Ethical and Legal Issues Committee. Ethical and policy issues in genetic testing and screening of children. Genetics in Medicine, 15(3), 234-245.