Classification of psychological tests on the basis of the behaviours they sample although useful for a number of reasons should not lead one tobelieve that human behaviour can be classified in this way and studied. This would be a most erroneous view. This will be apparent when one realizes how intelligence is likely to influence every aspect of human behaviour including personality traits, aptitudes,achievements, etc. Similarly, such personality characteristics, in turn, may affect every other aspect of behaviour including intelligence.
- Individual vs. Group Tests: Tests are often classified as individual test and group tests, on the basis of how a characteristic is measured by a test. Most of the old tests were individual tests, in the sense that they were given to a single individual at a time usually by a trained examiner, who not only scored andinterpreted the results but also observed his behaviour carefully, throughout the testing period. Often such tests involve manipulation of apparatus or objects and special recording devices.
Group tests, on the other hand,are usually presented in a format which allows the individual to record his own responses and can be simultaneously given to a number of individuals, without any special need of observing their behaviour. Group tests are supposed to be more objective because of theiradministration, scoring, and interpretationsare done in a routine fashion.
- Paper Pencil Tests Versus Performance Tests: Psychological tests can be classified into paper pencil and performance tests on the basis of the medium used for testing. In paper pencil test, all the items of the tests are printed and responses to them are to be checked by a pencil on the test itself, or on an answer sheet provided in the subject.In some quantitative aptitude tests like musical aptitude or foreign language test, the test items are presented with a phonograph or a tape recorder.
As the name implies, in performance tests, a person has usually to manipulate certain objects or pictures or blocks or assemble parts of a mechanical device, that is, to perform or act in a certain fashion. In some personality tests, like situational tests, the subject has to performsome activities in typical everyday life situation. Most of the performance tests are individual tests because the examiner has to observe carefully the performance of the subject, his approach to the given problem, because such observation may very often shed some light on his behaviour. In some performance tests, however, the examiner can very well observe small groups of people performing the test tasks.
- Language vs. Non-language Tests: Yet another way of classifying the tests is in dividing them into language and non-language tests also known as verbal and non-verbal tests. In verbal tests, of course, the tests’ items are not only in written or spoken form, but subject’s responses are also in language form. Most of the tests usually use a language, but often tests have to be constructed for people for whom language may make no sense. Most such tests have items in the form of pictures,designs, figures or symbols and even the instructions in such tests are given by using appropriate gestures without saying a word. Some language tests can also be called performance tests.