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Assessing the Quality of a Psychological Testing Report 

Assessing the Quality of a Psychological Testing Report
Assessing the Quality of a Psychological Testing Report

Gerald P. Koocher

and Celiane Rey-Casserly

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Subscriber: null; date: 25 June 2018

The summary provided in Table 29.1 describes key points that should be addressed in conducting any psychological assessment for which a report is prepared. (p. 153)

Table 29.1. Key Points for Conducting a Psychological Assessment


Quality Indicators

Referral questions and context

  • Does the report explain the reason for referral and state the assessment questions to be addressed?

  • Does the report note that the client or legal guardian was informed about the purpose of and agreed to the assessment?

  • Is the relevant psychological ecology of the client mentioned (e.g., recently divorced, facing criminal charges, candidate for employment)?

  • If the evaluation is being undertaken at the request of a third party (e.g., a court, an employer, or a school), does the examiner note that the client was informed of the limits of confidentiality and whether a release was obtained?

Current status/behavioral observations

  • Has the examiner described the client’s behavior like during the interview, especially with respect to any aspects that might relate to the referral questions or the validity of the testing (e.g., mood, ability to form rapport, concentration, mannerisms, medication side effects, language problems, cooperation, phenotype, or physical handicaps)?

  • Has the examiner described any deviations from standard testing administration or procedures?

Listing of instruments used

  • Is a complete list (without jargon or abbreviations) of the tests administered presented, including the dates administered?

  • Does the report explain the nature of any unusual instruments or test procedures used?

  • If more than one set of norms or test forms exists for any given instrument, does the psychologist indicate which forms or norms were used?

Reliability and validity

  • Does the psychologist comment specifically on whether the test results in the present circumstances can be regarded as reasonably accurate (e.g., the test administration was valid and the client fully cooperative)?

  • If mediating factors apply, are these discussed in terms of reliability and validity implications?

  • Are the tests used valid for assessing the aspects of the client’s abilities in question? This should be a special focus of attention if the instrument used is nonstandard or is being used in a nonstandard manner.

Data presentation

  • Are scores presented and explained for each of the tests used? (If an integrated narrative or description is presented, does it report on all the aspects assessed, such as intellectual functioning, personality structure, etc.?)

  • Are the meanings of the test results explained in terms of the referral questions asked?

  • Are examples or illustrations included if relevant?

  • Are technical terms and jargon avoided?

  • Does the report note whether the pattern of scores (e.g., variability in measuring similar attributes across instruments) is a consistent or heterogeneous one?

  • For IQ testing, are subtest scatter and discrepancy scores mentioned?

  • For personality testing, does the psychologist discuss self-esteem, interpersonal relations, emotional reactivity, defensive style, and areas of focal concern?


  • If a summary is presented, does it err by surprising the reader with material not mentioned earlier in the report?

  • Is it overly redundant?


  • If recommendations are made, do these flow logically from the test results mentioned and discussed earlier?

  • Do the recommendations mention all relevant points raised as initial referral questions?


  • If a diagnosis is requested or if differential diagnosis was a referral question, does the report specifically address this point?


  • Is the report signed by the individual(s) who conducted the evaluation?

  • Are the credentials/title of each person noted (e.g., Mary Smith, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, or John Doe, M.S., Psychology Intern)?

  • If the examiner is unlicensed or a trainee, is the report cosigned by a qualified licensed supervisor?


  • Is a copy of the report sent to the person who made the referral?

  • Is some mechanism in place for providing feedback to the client, consistent with the context of testing and original agreement with the client?

References and Readings

American Psychological Association. (1993). Record keeping guidelines. American Psychologist, 48, 308–310.Find this resource:

    American Psychological Association. (2012). Joint standards for educational and psychological testing. Retrieved January 2013, from

    American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education. (1998). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Find this resource:

      American Psychological Association, Testing and Assessment. (n. d.). Resource site. Retrieved from

      Assessment of Competency Benchmarks Work Group. (2007). Assessment of competency benchmarks work group: A developmental model for defining and measuring competence in professional psychology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.Find this resource:

        Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. (2011). Buros center for testing. Retrieved January 2013, from

        Eyde, L. D., Robertson, & G. J., Krug, (2009). Responsible test use: Case studies for assessing human behavior. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Find this resource:

          Koocher, G. P., & Keith-Spiegel, P. C. (2008). Ethics in psychology and the mental health professions: Professional standards and cases (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

            Rey-Casserly, C., & Koocher, G. P. (2012). Ethical issues in psychological assessment. In J. R. Graham & J. A. Naglieri (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Assessment psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 10, pp. 295–330). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Find this resource:

              Related Topics

              Chapter 105, “Defending Against Legal (Malpractice and Licensing) Complaints”

              Chapter 110, “Understanding Special Education Law”

              Chapter 125, “Prototype Mental Health Records”

              Chapter 127, “Elements of Authorization Forms to Release or Request Client’s Records”