The title of this volume, Assessment Psychology, was deliberately chosen to make the point that the assessment activities of psychologists constitute a legitimate and important subdiscipline within psychology. The methods and techniques developed by assessment pioneers were central in establishing a professional role for psychologists in schools, hospitals, and other settings. Although interest in psychological assessment has waxed and waned over the years and various assessment procedures and instruments have come under attack, the premise of this volume is that assessment psychology is alive and well and continues to be of paramount importance in the professional functioning of most psychologists. In addition, assessment psychology contributes greatly to the well-being of the thousands of individuals who are assessed each year.
A primary goal of this volume is to address important issues in assessment psychology. Some of these issues have been around a long time (e.g., psychometric characteristics of assessment procedures), whereas others have come on the scene more recently (e.g., computer-based psychological assessment). The volume also has chapters devoted to the unique features of assessment in different kinds of settings (adult and child mental health, schools, medical centers, business and industry, forensic and correctional, and geriatric). Other chapters address assessment in various domains of functioning (e.g., cognitive and intellectual, interests, personality and psychopathology). Still other chapters address various approaches used in the assessment process (e.g., interviews, behavioral methods, projective approaches, and self-report inventories). The final chapter summarizes the major conclusions reached by other authors in the volume and speculates about the future of assessment psychology.
We should also state clearly what this volume does not include. Although many specific tests and procedures are described (some in greater detail than others), the volume is not intended as a practical guide for the administration and interpretation of tests and other procedures. There are other excellent interpretive handbooks already available, and many of these are referenced in the various chapters of this volume.
It is our hope that the detailed and insightful consideration of issues and problems will provide a strong foundation for all who are part of the discipline of assessment psychology, regardless of the specific techniques or instruments that they employ. We view this volume as having been successful if it raises the sensitivity of assessment psychologists to the important issues inherent in the use of assessment procedures in a wide variety of settings and to the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches and instruments.
This volume is intended for several audiences. Graduate students in psychology, education, and related disciplines should find the chapters informative and thought provoking as they master the assessment process. Psychologists who engage in psychological assessment, either routinely or on a more limited basis, should find the various chapters to be enlightening. Finally, those who use the results of psychological assessment (e.g., medical and social work professionals, teachers, parents, clients) should become more informed consumers after reading the chapters in this volume.
We want to thank those who contributed to the completion of this volume. Of course, the most important contributors are those who wrote the individual chapters. Their efforts resulted in informative and thought-provoking chapters. The editor-in-chief of the series of which this volume is a part, Irv Weiner, deserves considerable credit for his organizational skills in making the project happen as planned and for his specific contributions to each of the chapters in this volume. We also want to thank Alice Early and Brian O'Reilly for their editorial contributions. The Department of Psychology at Kent State University and the Department of Psychology and the Center for Cognitive Development at George Mason University supported this project in various ways.
John R. Graham
Jack A. Naglieri
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