Jill Cornelio

Brandon Parks

Haleigh Roach

Jamie Shoma


Adams, K.M.  (2000).  Practical and ethical issues pertaining to test revisions.

                        Psychological Assessment, (12)3, 281-286.


This article presents a general evaluation focusing upon practical and ethical issues pertaining to test revisions.  Recently, test revisions and updates have occurred more frequently.  Although, revising an original test may not sound very complex, there are many practical and ethical issues involved, which have an influencing effect on test revisions.  This article provides an analysis of the test revision process through the examination by clinicians, educators, and researchers.

            There is a lot of debate and controversy present regarding test development since there are no practical or ethical guidelines suggesting when a test ought to be revised.  However, according to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing,


A test should be amended or revised when new research data, significant changes in the domain represented, or new conditions of test use and interpretation make the test inappropriate for its intended uses.  An apparently old test that remains useful need not be withdrawn or revised simply because of the passage of time.  But it is the responsibility of test developers and test publishers to monitor changing conditions and to amend, revise, or withdraw the test as indicated (Adams, 2000, p. 281). 


Other conditions that may also determine a need for test revision include the recognition of obsolete test materials and stimuli, changing language use, item performance characteristics, and group demographics. 

            Since one particular procedure does not exist in test development, a set of considerations has been referred to.  For example, since the guidelines and principles are very abstract, they are unable to incorporate the experience and behaviors of all the individuals involved with the test revising procedure.  Therefore, through a set of options, some practical and ethical issues were suggested in order to signify the relationship between the principled guidance and practical realities of test revision.  First, cost effectiveness has been a topic concerning the test revision process.  In the past, major revision was very seldom, thus, allowing publishers to actually have ample time to reflect and plan efficient modification techniques to fund the cost of altering tests.  However, since test revisions have occurred more frequently today, the economic costs have become a very important and major factor in decision making about a test.  Hence, psychologists are reluctant to buy the materials needed in order to effectively interpret and enhance the revising procedure due to the cost concerns.  Throughout time, the amount of individuals involved with the revision process has increased significantly.  Psychologists used to have ultimate control over the decisions made regarding test adjustments, but lately, roles and responsibilities have been balanced in order to include and engage the participation of others.  In order to improve the test revision context, the pressure was amplified to find expanded markets to administer the revised tests.  The plan to get revised tests to the market suggested that the ideas of professionals be considered rather than psychologists, versions of the test should be easy to use, and language translations must be available for the sake of cultural context. 

            New research developments and concepts have forced the consideration of imperative test revisions.  Although a new paradigm may be unfamiliar to psychologists who use the original version of a test, advancements and progress of new test stimuli, approaches, and formats may be helpful overall.  Since society is constantly changing, revisions are continuously necessary when tests are no longer currently serving its appropriate purpose.  Consequently, the most important ethical aspect refers to a patientís welfare.  So the most economically strategic way to revise a test would be to find a balance between the effectiveness of tests and its ethical social concerns.  Overall, the goals for test revisions incorporates experience with previous test versions, advancements made in the theory and method for the assessment of the questioned construct, appreciation of the new views that challenge a test, considerations regarding relationships between the marketplace and finances, and the presence of technologically impacting changes. 

            Although the revalidation of a test can rarely satisfy the criteria of all aspects covered in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, the issues concerning test revisions are still being pursued in order to enhance the standards.  By creating a stable relationship between test publishers, customers, and consumers, anticipating the constant changes, and becoming more educated on the process may establish a better outcome in the world of test revisions.  Therefore, the challenges of test revisions are a continued and ongoing process, which looks to the future for new and improved developments.   




Practical and Ethical Issues

Pertaining to Test Revisions (outline)


I.                    When must a test be revised?

A.     Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing

1.      new research data

2.      significant changes in represented domain

3.      new conditions for test use and interpretation

4.      change in language use

5.      group demographics


II.                 Considerations for Test Revision

A.     Practical and Ethical Issues

1.      cost effectiveness

a.       publishers previously had ample time to plan for funding

b.      revisions are more frequent today

i.         psychologists are reluctant to buy material

2.      decision makers

a.       previously solely psychologists

b.      has expanded across markets

i.         test versions should be easy to use

ii.       available language translations

3.      clientís welfare

a.       need to measure accurately

b.      draw accurate conclusions


III.               Test Revisions

A.     Goals

1.      incorporate experience from different test versions

2.      advancement in theory and method of construct

3.      appreciation of new views that challenge the test

4.      consider relationships between marketplace and finances

5.      impact of technological changes