How are situational tests done? An interesting example of situational testing is the judgmental firearms training provided by many police departments. At times, police officers must make split-
second decisions about using their weapons. A mistake could be fatal. In a typical shoot/don’t-shoot test, actors play the part of armed criminals. As various high-risk scenes are acted out live, or on videotape, or by computer, officers must decide to shoot or hold fire. A newspaper reporter who once took the test (and failed it) gives this account (Gersh, 1982):
I judged wrong. I was killed by a man in a closet, a man with a hostage, a woman interrupted when kissing her lover, and a man I thought was clean- ing a shotgun. . . . I shot a drunk who reached for a comb, and a teenager who pulled out a black water pistol. Looked real to me.
Personality Questionnaires Personality questionnaires are paper-and-pencil tests that reveal personality characteristics. Questionnaires are more objective than interviews or observation. (An objective test gives the same score when different people correct it.) Questions, administra- tion, and scoring are all standardized so that scores are unaffected by any biases an examiner may have. However, this is not enough to ensure accuracy. A good test must also be reliable and valid. A test is reliable if it yields close to the same score each time it is given to the same person. A test has validity if it measures what it claims to measure. Unfortunately, many personality tests you will encounter, such as those in magazines or on the Internet, have little or no validity.
Reliability and validity are important characteristics of all psychological tests, especially intelligence and aptitude tests.
Dozens of personality tests are available, including the Guilford- Zimmerman Temperament Survey, the California Psychological Inventory, the Allport-Vernon Study of Values, the 16 PF, and many more. One of the best-known and most widely used objective tests is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) (Butcher, 2011). The MMPI-2 is composed of 567 items to which a
A police special tactics team undergoes judgmental firearms training. Variations on this situational test are used by many police departments. All officers must score a passing grade.