This casebook was developed to extend the application of principles of proper test interpretation and use learned in the classroom to the real world. The goal was to provide a collection of case studies based on actual incidents of proper and improper test use that could be used to supplement the basic textbooks used in testing and assessment courses.

The organization of the book facilitates its use in both traditional academic settings as well as in training programs, workshops on test interpretation and use, and in various types of continuing education courses. The casebook will also help individuals engaged in self-study improve their use and interpretation of tests. Practitioners will find the various case studies of value for reviewing basic principles of test use as well as extending their understanding of testing in applied settings.

The casebook's major emphasis is on the application of basic principles of sound test selection, use, and interpretation across seven settings or areas of application within which tests are used: Counseling/Training, Education, Employment, General, Mental Health, Neuropsychology, and Speech-Language-Hearing.

Table of Contents

List of Authors

—William A. Mehrens


I. Introduction

  1. Development of the Casebook
  2. How to Use the Casebook

II. Cases

Section 1: Training: General

  1. Personality Evaluation in a Scholarship Program
  2. The Careless Personnel Director
  3. Tests Are Not Toys
  4. Test Misuse in Assessing Limited English Proficient (LEP) Children
  5. Neuropsychological Assessment: Assessing Comprehensive Adaptive Functioning

Section 2: Training: Professional Responsibility

  1. Incumbent Testing for Apprenticeship Positions
  2. Assessing Nuclear Power Operators
  3. Practicing Within Areas of Competence
  4. The Misdirected Parents
  5. The Untrained Interpreter
  6. Use of Computer-Based Test Interpretations
  7. The Star-Struck Clinician
  8. Dealing With the Press
  9. Poor Vocabulary Needs Attention
  10. The Errant Instructor
  11. The Mystery of the Missing Data
  12. The Uninformed Instructors
  13. Assessing the Wrong "Problem"
  14. La Belle Indifference?
  15. No Sign of Trouble
  16. The Slick Salesman
  17. Personnel Screening for Emotional Stability
  18. Disposition of Psychological Test Reports
  19. Use of Tests Requires Psychometric Knowledge
  20. A Sensitive School Psychologist
  21. Parental Concern About Ethnic Bias in Testing
  22. The Failing Faculty

Section 3: Test Selection

  1. Using the Wrong Cut Score From the Wrong Test
  2. Unguided Referral
  3. Mistaken Diagnosis
  4. Insufficient Assessment
  5. Memory Problems Missed

Section 4: Test Administration

  1. Standardized Testing Conditions
  2. Standardized Administration Procedures
  3. Intellectual Assessment of a Bilingual Student
  4. The Incompetent Examiner
  5. Use of Substandard Testing Equipment
  6. Not Listening to the Test Author
  7. Testing Persons Who are Blind
  8. A Case of Failure to Communicate
  9. Reasonable Testing Modifications for a Person With Attention Deficit Disorder
  10. Passing the Bar Examination With a Learning Disability
  11. Testing Individuals With Physical Disabilities

Section 5: Test Scoring and Norms

  1. Pitfalls in Comparing Scores on Old and New Editions of a Test
  2. Are Observed Score Differences Trustworthy?
  3. Use of Inappropriate Norms

Section 6: Test Interpretation

  1. It's a Man's Job
  2. Testing Without Interpreting
  3. Date Matching
  4. The Missing Personality Test
  5. Test Results Without Interpretation
  6. Confusing Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Tests
  7. Psychological Tests for Children With Hearing Impairments
  8. The Ghastly Gifted Cut-off Score
  9. Developing a Selection Battery
  10. Inappropriate Interpretation of the Secondary School Admission Test
  11. Immigrants Lose Financially
  12. Inconsistencies Between Test Results and Behavior
  13. Considering Less Than Half the Problem
  14. Appropriate Use of a Grade Equivalent Score for a Student With a Hearing Impairment
  15. Narrowing Options

Section 7: Reporting to Clients

  1. Borderline Practice
  2. What's a Percentile Rank?
  3. Conducting Individual Assessments
  4. The Well-Meaning Trainer
  5. The Right Test in the Wrong Way
  6. Computer Feedback in Career Counseling

Section 8: Administrative/Organizational Policy Issues

  1. Misleading Public Statements
  2. One Teacher's Response to the "Perfect" Testing and Accountability System
  3. A Case of Speedy Selection
  4. Selecting Doctoral Students at Best State University
  5. Old Norms in Educational Achievement Testing
  6. Inappropriate Calculations Affect Interpretation
  7. The Prestigious Private School
  8. Saying Too Much Based on Too Little
  9. "Managed' Reporting of Standardized Achievement Test Results
  10. Testing Limits
  11. The Scholastic Assessment Tests Are Not Sufficient


  1. Contributors of Incidents
  2. Reviewers of Cases and the Casebook
  3. Measurement Textbook Resources List
  4. Worksheet for Cross-Referencing Cases to Textbooks
  5. The 86 Elements of Competent Test Use
  6. Overview of the Activities of the Test User Training Work Group
  7. Sample of Critical Incident Form Used in Test User Training Work Group Research for Responsible Test Use: Case Studies for Assessing Human Behavior
  8. Casebook User Comment Form
  9. Critical Incident Submission Form
  10. Index of Cases by Setting and Applications
  11. Index of Cases by Element
  12. Index of Cases by Factor



Reviews & Awards

I was delighted on the publication of Responsible Test Use: Case Studies for Assessing Human Behavior. Responsible Test Use is a concept that played directly to what I considered a key element in developing and communicating psychological information…Responsible Test Use is a much-needed, ever-timely, both practical and scholarly work that can be used with profit by students and practitioners.
—Journal of Personality Assessment, 1996, 67(3), 657–662