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Ethical and Legal Issues in Assessment

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					Professional Issues in
     Assessment


    August 14, 2008
Ethical & Legal Issues
Ethical and Legal Issues

• Ethics are a body of principles that
  address proper conduct


• Laws are related to a body of rules
  that address proper conduct
Ethics
•   Sources for ethical decisions

•   Who is responsible for appropriate use?

•   Invasion of privacy

•   The right to results

•   The right to confidentiality

•   The right to the least stigmatizing label
Sources for ethical decisions
•   ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005)
•   Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA,
    2002)
•   Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCC,
    2001)
•   Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA,
    APA, & NCME, 1999)
•   Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education (JCTP, 2003)

•   Responsibilities of Test Users in Standardized Tests (AAC,
    2003)
•   Responsible Test Use: Case Studies for Assessing Human
    Behavior (Eyde et al., 1993)
•   Test Takers’ Rights and Responsibilities (JCTP, 1998)
•   Standards for School Counselor Competence in Assessment and
    Evaluation (ASCA, AAC)
•   Standards for Multicultural Assessment 2nd Edition (AAC, 2003)
Who is responsible for
appropriate use?
• The clinician is always ultimately
  responsible; this includes scoring and
  interpretation done by a computer
• Be aware of own limits of competence
• Professionals are responsible for
  monitoring profession and other
  practitioners
   Invasion of Privacy
Assessment can invade clients‟ privacy
• Informed consent –
  • Nature of information being collected
  • Purposes for which results will be used
  • Using language understandable to client
• Relevance –
  • Is the information gathered through assessment
    relevant to the counseling?
  • Counselor should be able to clearly state purpose
    and benefits of appraisal process
The Right to Results
• Clients have the right to an
  explanation of their assessment
  results, in terms they can
  understand
The Right to
Confidentiality
• Results may only be released to a third
  party (who has expertise to interpret the
  results) with the consent of the client
• Secure assessment information &
  communicate any limits to confidentiality
• Records and results can be subpoenaed
• Keep test content secure
The Right to the Least
Stigmatizing Label
• When diagnosing or categorizing
  individuals, use the least stigmatizing label
  consistent with accurate representation
• Incorporate effects of contextual factors
   • Culture
   • Socioeconomic status
   • Linguistics
Legal Issues in
Assessment
• Legislation – concerns governmental
  bodies passing laws


• Litigation – “rules of law;” courts interpret
  the Constitution or laws in a particular
  case, and this ruling then influences the
  interpretations of relevant laws
Legislation
• Civil Rights Act of 1991
  • Outlaws discrimination in employment
    based on race, color, religion, sex, or
    national origin
  • Requires hiring procedures be
    connected to duties of the job
  • Bans separate norms in employment
    tests
Legislation       (cont.)

 • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
   • Bans discrimination in employment and
     access to public services, transportation,
     and telecommunications on the basis of
     physical and mental disabilities
   • States individuals with disabilities must
     have tests administered to them using
     reasonable and appropriate
     accommodations
Legislation                (cont.)

• Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
  (IDEA)
   • Children from birth through age 21 with a disability
   • States parental consent is needed to perform evaluation of
     a child suspected of having a disability
   • Ensures that children are assessed fairly, in their native
     language, and with psychometrically-sound instruments
   • Asserts child must be assessed in all areas where there is
     a suspected disability
   • Declares determination of disability must made by a team
     of professionals, and child must be reassessed every 3
     years
     Legislation                 (cont.)
• Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
  (FERPA)
  • Provides parents access to their children‟s educational records
  • Provides students over 18 years of age access to their own
    educational records
  • Specifies educational records cannot be released, without parental
    permission, to anyone other than those who have a legitimate
    educational interest
  • No student shall be required, without parental permission, to
    submit to psychological examination, testing, or treatment that
    may reveal information concerning mental and psychological
    problems potentially embarrassing to the student or the student‟s
    family
     Legislation                 (cont.)

• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of
  1996 (HIPAA)
   • States clients must be notified how psychological and
     medical information may be used and disclosed and how
     to get access to information

   • Requires Dept. of Health and Human Services to establish
     national standards for electronic health care transactions
     and national identifies for providers, health plans, and
     employers

   • Demands counselors develop and maintain an accounting
     of disclosures of private client information that clients can
     access for a period of 6 years
  Legislation             (cont.)

• Truth in Testing (New York)
  • Requires testing companies to:
     • Make public their studies on validity
     • Provide a complete disclosure to students about
       what scores mean and how they were calculated
     • Upon student request, provide a copy of the
       questions and the correct answers to the student

  • 24 other states have considered similar
    legislation; only California has passed a
    similar law
Litigation – Test Bias and Placement
   • Federal District Court: Larry P. v. Riles (1979) – found
     intelligence tests discriminated against Black children
     and could not be used to test Black children for
     placement in educable mentally retarded classrooms
   • State of California: Parents in Action on Special
     Education (PASE) v. Hannon (1980) – declared that
     intelligence tests could be used in conjunction with
     other criteria
      •   Judge reissued ban in 1986
      •   Judge lifted ban on intelligence tests in 1992

   • State of Georgia: Georgia NAACP v. State of Georgia
     (1985) – ruled that intelligence tests did not
     discriminate
Litigation – Minimum
Competency
• Florida: Debra P. v. Turlington (1978)
  • Filed on behalf of all Florida seniors & all African
    American Florida seniors
  • Ruled that a minimum competency exam for
    high school seniors violated all students‟ rights
    to procedural due process and violated the Black
    students‟ right to equal protection.
  • Ruled that if the test covers material not taught
    to students, it is unfair and violates the Equal
    Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S.
    Constitution
    Litigation –          Right to Privacy

• Soroka et al. v. Dayton-Hudson Company
  (1991) AKA: “the Target case”– involved use
  of personality inventory as screening device
  for security officer position. Plaintiffs asserted
  that it was not job-related, and it was
  offensive and intrusive and invaded their
  privacy. Case was settled out of court.
    Litigation-Diversity in
          Education
• Regents of the University of
  California v. Bakke (1978)
  • 30 y.o. white male who applied but was denied
    admission to UC-Davis‟ Medical School
  • MCAT scores higher than admitted minority students
  • U.S. Supreme Court ruled that admissions programs
    should allow for individualized admissions, race
    considered in a flexible, non-mechanical way (quotas)
 Litigation-Diversity in Education
• U.S. Supreme Court ruling in
  Grutter v. Bollinger et al. (2003)
  • Barbara Gutter applied but denied access to UofM‟s
    Law school.
  • Supreme Court ruled race-conscious admissions
    programs are time limited; race can be considered in
    admission to obtain the benefits of a diverse student
    body.
Issues Related to Assessment
  with Diverse Populations
       Multicultural Assessment
•   “Fourth force” of counseling and psychotherapy
•   Increasing diversity in United States.

•   Particularly important in assessment

•   Variations on average assessment performance exist
    between groups – reasons difficult to ascertain

•   Language and culture play role; worldview
   Types of Instrument Bias
• Bias testing – degree that construct-factors
  that are not relevant systematically affect a
  group‟s performance
• Types:
   • Content bias
   • Internal structure
   • Instrument and criterion relationships
     Content Bias

• Examine instrument development
  procedures

• Evaluation by experts

• Differential Item Functioning (DIF)
Internal Structure


       • Group differences in
         terms of reliability

       • Investigation of
         differences in factor
         structure
Instrument Relationship


 • Differences in validity
   coefficients

 • Slope bias

 • Intercept Differences
   Differences in validity
   coefficients
• Examine the the validity coefficients of
  different groups

• Valid for one group does not mean valid
  for all groups
Slope biases

  Group 3
Intercept Differences
Differences in Test
Performance and Culture
• Possible reasons:
  • innate differences
  • environmental factors
  • unequal access to education/opportunities

• Culture-free vs. culture-fair instruments
• Cultural bias vs. cultural equivalence
  Recommendations for
  Practice
• Standards for Multicultural Assessment (AAC,
  2003)
• Ridley, Li, & Hill‟s (1998) multicultural
  assessment procedure:
   •   Phase 1: Identify Cultural Data
   •   Phase 2: Interpret Cultural Data
   •   Phase 3: Incorporate Cultural Data
   •   Phase 4: Arrive at a Sound Assessment Decision
• Practice within limits of competence
Selection of Assessment
Instruments: Content and Purpose
    • Identify client‟s cultural group and the
      purpose(s) for assessment
    • Thoroughly review materials to determine
      appropriate procedures
    • Select assessment in best interest of client
    • Consider appropriate language for
      assessment
Selection of Assessment Instruments: Norming,
 Reliability, and Validity
    • Evaluate appropriateness for diverse individuals
    • Determine degree to which performance may be
      affected by extraneous factors
    • Review manual information on each group and
      age for which instrument is intended to be used
    • Use caution in interpretation if client is not
      represented in norming group
    • Examine how subgroups were identified
     Administration and Scoring of
     Assessment Instruments
• Explain nature and purpose(s) of assessment and how
  results will be used, in understandable language

• Consider effects of examiner-examinee differences

• Be aware of influences of examiner‟s attitudes and
  nonverbal behaviors

• Be sensitive to client‟s background and culture
Interpretation and Application of
Assessment Results
   • Base interpretation of results on validation
     evidence
   • Be knowledgeable of instrument and of client‟s
     culture
   • Evaluate impact of client‟s gender, age,
     ethnicity,socioeconomic status, marital status,
     and other pertinent factors
   • Explain results, including how they function
     with other relevant factors
Linguistic Background and
Appraisal
• Keep in mind language skills often influence
  assessment performance, and cultural differences
  exist in language proficiency
• Be aware of concerns related to assessing clients
  with limited proficiency in dominant language
• Consider purpose of testing (e.g., is assessment to
  evaluate English proficiency?)
Linguistic Background and
Appraisal (cont.)
   • Remember considerations/concerns with
     instrument translation and adaptation or
     modification (if done, should be
     supported by test developer)
   • Be aware of difficulties in determining
     appropriate language for assessment
   • Interpret results from non-native
     speakers cautiously
Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities

  • Have detailed knowledge of the ADA & IDEA
  • Be ready to take on multiple roles
  • Be prepared to make „reasonable accommodations‟ (and
    appropriate interpretation considerations) for testing with
    clients who are:
     •   Visually-impaired
     •   Hearing-impaired
     •   Physically disabled
     •   Cognitively disabled
     Technological
Applications and Future
        Trends
Computer Assessment in
     Counseling
• Computer-assisted assessment –
  computers assist in
  administration, scoring, and/or
  interpretation of assessment tool
• Computer-adapted assessment –
  interactive process between
  individual and computer
       Issues Related to Inputting
              Information
• Instruments adapted from paper-and-pencil formats
  vs. instruments available only on computer

• Effects of individual differences:
   • Comfort level
   • Amount of experience
   • Attitudes toward computers

• Psychometric qualities of instrument

• Self-disclosure and honesty
Issues Related to Outputting
        Information
• “Garbage in – garbage out” concept
• Instrument reliability and validity
• Computer-generated interpretive reports
   •   evaluate quality
   •   avoid false sense of security
   •   be knowledgeable of instrument
   •   use in conjunction with professional judgment
   •   purchase necessary software
       Advantages of Computer
            Applications
• Computers are patient when gathering
  data
• Stores substantial amounts of
  information
• Save professionals‟ time
• Avoid preconceived notions/bias about
  clients
• Fewer scoring errors
Disadvantages of Computer
       Applications
• Cannot observe client‟s behavior
  during assessment
• Possible problems with confidentiality
• Concerns regarding validity of
  instruments and computerized
  interpretations
 The Internet and Appraisal
        in Counseling
• Used to:
  • Research assessment instruments and techniques
  • Locate and order materials
  • Administer and score assessments
  • Provide more flexibility in assessment process
  • Gather more data on instruments than possible
    with scoring by hand or personal computer
  • Recruit participants and expand norming groups
The Internet and Appraisal in Counseling
                 (cont.)

   • Concerns:
     • Instruments marketed by individuals with
       little or no background in assessment or
       counseling
     • Online assessments give illusion of
       technological sophistication
     • Individuals make decisions based on faulty
       or invalid results – no one helps interpret
     • Issues of privacy and confidentiality of
       results
  Future Trends and
      Directions
• Increased use of technology
• Alternative methods for multicultural
  assessment
• Expansion of authentic/performance
  assessment
• Continued demands for accountability
  information
• Positive psychology
• Rise of new ethical and legal issues
        Concluding Comments
• To provide effective counseling services,
  counselors first assess the cients.
• Using assessment measures effectively
  practitioners can assist clients in making decisions,
  solving problems, to function more effectively &
  achieving potential.
• Consider your future clients:
   • Your strengths and limitations
   • Look for methods to build on your strengths &
     develop your areas of limitation

				
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