Psychological testing can be a valuable tool to better understand an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and how they impact functional abilities. It provides an objective, standardized measurement of current performance compared to other individuals of the same age. Together with information about an individual’s development, medical history, family history, achievement, as well as social and emotional well-being, test results can help plan appropriate steps to address difficulties.
Psychological testing often incorporates tests assessing global abilities, academic achievement, language, memory, attention, and problem solving. Specific tests are selected to provide information and formulate a plan.
The tests chosen depend on the questions posed. Common questions relate to learning difficulties, attention problems, or intellectual development. Tests can also be helpful to differentiate cognitive difficulties from the consequences of emotional struggles or psychological distress.
Who conducts psychological testing?
Psychological testing may be conducted in Michigan only by Licensed Doctoral Level Psychologists (L.P.) or by Limited Licensed Master's Level Psychologists (L.L.P.) under the supervision of a Licensed Psychologist. If significant medical variables are involved, evaluation by a neuropsychologist may be beneficial.
In the schools, a multidisciplinary team consisting of a certified school psychologist most often conducts evaluations, with valuable input from a child's teacher or teacher consultant. Other specialists, may also provide valuable information as needed.
Adults in need of testing are often seen by a licensed psychologist in an outpatient clinic.
Where should I go to have testing?
For children, the schools will conduct a comprehensive educational evaluation if other interventions have not been successful in addressing the needs and educational problems of a child.
Privately, you may seek psychological evaluations for children or adults from psychologists in the community or from a hospital team. For children, you may contact your child's pediatrician, school staff psychologist, social worker, or principal to recommend local private psychologists. For adults, your primary care physician may be able to provide you with a referral for testing if appropriate.
What outcome can be expected?
After an individual has been tested, a meeting will be set up with the psychologist to discuss test results and recommendations. The information you receive should relate directly to questions you posed when arranging the evaluation and guide the interventions. You can take this opportunity to ask questions and seek the psychologist's assistance. Later, you should receive a written report of the psychologist's evaluation.
When to Seek Professional Consultation Often, functional problems can be addressed by the family; but psychological testing may be indicated when emotional, learning, or behavior problems interfere with an individual’s academic or occupational success, adjustment, and self-esteem. A consultation with a psychologist can help clarify the situation, determine if professional assistance is needed, and develop a plan of action.