A process of testing and inquiry that uses a combination of techniques to help arrive at some hypotheses about a person and their behavior, personality, and capabilities.


Psychological assessment is a process of testing that uses a combination of techniques to help arrive at some hypotheses about a person and their behavior, personality, and capabilities. Through assessment, psychologists are able to generate appropriate recommendations and treatment approaches based on specific referral questions.

Psychological assessment (also commonly referred to as psychological testing) and evaluation are often used interchangeably in the field of psychology. Assessment is defined as the process of appraising someone or something (i.e., the act of gauging the quality, value, or importance). Evaluation focuses on making a judgment about values, numbers, or performance of someone or something. Together, assessment (ongoing) is performed until evaluative (completed) conclusions can be determined. The primary benefit of obtaining an evaluation is gaining a better understanding of the underlying issues which are affecting the individual, so that specific and individually-tailored recommendations can be made regarding intervention and treatment.

Some of the most common reasons for referrals for psychological testing include seeking a better understanding of an individual’s overall intellectual functioning, as well as their specific learning style and their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Psychological assessment can provide information regarding an individual’s current psychological functioning, including both their general personality structure as well as current symptoms. Testing can also help to determine an accurate diagnosis by providing objective data that can be integrated with subjective data and clinical judgment. Unique information regarding cognitive functioning, personality traits, and symptoms can be obtained with the use of standardized measures.

Psychological testing is nearly always performed by a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist, or a psychology trainee (such as an intern). Psychologists are the only profession that is expertly trained to perform and interpret psychological tests.

Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.

Ivan Pavlov


A significant purpose of assessment and evaluation is to gather information about an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Different referral questions require distinct approaches at psychological assessment and evaluation. When considering a psychological evaluation, it is imperative you discuss the reasons for the referral, as your specific questions will drive the assessment and evaluation process.

Once the information is obtained, discussions about possible recommendations can occur, including intervention and treatment agendas.


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