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a way of checking students of higher educational institutions and pupils of secondary specialized educational institutions to see how well they have carried out their laboratory work, design and feasibility assignments, and course projects (papers) and to evaluate the knowledge and habits they have gained in their practicums and seminar classes and in the process of curricular study and practical production work. The passing of all tests provided for by the curriculum during a particular semester (as a rule, no more than six) is a necessary prerequisite for the student’s admission to the final examination period. Tests with differentiated weighted values are established for course projects, production practical work, and subjects, a list of which is determined by the council of the higher educational institution (department) or the pedagogical councils of the secondary specialized educational institutions.
(1) In psychology and pedagogy, a standardized set of tasks to be completed, the results of which can be used as a measure of the subject’s psychophysiological and personality characteristics as well as of his knowledge, intelligence, and skills.
Tests were first used in 1864 by J. Fischer in Great Britain to verify what students had learned. In 1883 the English psychologist F. Galton worked out the theoretical foundations of testing—namely, the use of a series of identical trials with a large number of individuals, the statistical processing of the results, and the provision of standards of evaluation. The term “test” was first employed by the American psychologist J. Cattell in 1890. He proposed a series of 50 tests, which were in effect a program to determine simple psychophysiological characteristics on the basis of the most advanced psychological experiments of that time—for example, measurement of the strength of the right and left hands by means of a dynamometer and measurement of the speed of reactions to sound. The principles of testing research were applied to man’s higher mental functions by the French psychologist A. Binet: his series of tests in 1891 included tasks that tested memory, types of representation, attention, and aesthetic and ethical feelings. The German psychologist W. Stern introduced the concept of the intelligence quotient in 1911.
In the early 20th century differences between psychological and pedagogical testing began to be distinguished. The first standardized pedagogical test was constructed by the American psychologist E. Thorndike. The development of testing was one of the factors contributing to the general adoption of mathematical methods in psychology and pedagogy; the American psychologist C. Spearman developed the basic methods of correlation analysis for the standardization of tests and for the objective measurement of test research data. Spearman’s statistical methods, and particularly the application of factor analysis, played an important role in the further development of testing. In psychotechnology, tests came into wide use for occupational selection.
Test research was most highly developed in the USA; during World War II, for example, approximately 20 million persons were tested there in connection with their induction into the army. In the USSR, tests were first designed and used in the 1920s. The first series of tests for schools was published in 1926. However, the identification of testing principles with pedological theory and practice led to serious mistakes in test research, as was noted in the decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) dated July 4, 1936, On Pedological Distortions in the System of People’s Commissariats of Education.
Test systems are based on the most varied theoretical concepts; in the USA, for example, they may be based on behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, or neo-Freudianism. However, the construction of a test follows a common plan, which consists of defining the test’s goals, drawing up the test in draft form, pilot testing of a representative sample of test subjects, correcting deficiencies, and working out a measurement scale (based on qualitative considerations and statistical processing of results) as well as a set of rules for interpreting the results. The quality of a test is determined by such characteristics as reliability, validity (that is, conformity of the results obtained to the goal of the test), and the problems’ power of differentiation.
In practice, tests are mainly used to diagnose an individual’s personality traits as expressed by quantitative indexes. The prediction of personality development has given rise to a special kind of test that is chiefly based on the methods of depth psychology—namely, the projective type, of which the Rorschach test is an example.
The uses to which tests have been put in the USSR include occupational selection, psychopathological diagnosis, and determination of the human psychophysiological potential in different kinds of sports. Studies have been initiated with the aim of testing students’ knowledge, intelligence, and skills.
(2) In physiology and medicine, tests are used to study an organism’s various physiological processes, such as the secretory and motor processes, as well as to determine the functional condition of individual organs and tissues and of the organism as a whole—for example, the excitability of individual muscles and nerves or the respiratory function of the lungs.
REFERENCESBinet, A., and T. Simon. Metody izmereniia umstvennoi odarennosti. [Kharkov] 1923. (Translated from French.)
Simon, B. Angliiskaia shkola i intellektual’nye testy. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)
Guilford, J. “Tri storony intellekta.” In the collection Psikhologiia myshleniia. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German and English.)
Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia. Compiled by P. Fraisse and J. Piaget. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from French.)
Tsaturova, I. A. Iz istorii razvitiia testov v SSSR i za rubezhom. Taganrog, 1969.
Galton, F. Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development. London, 1883.
Cattell. Mental Tests and Measurements. London, 1890.
Cronbach, L. J. Essentials of Psychological Testing, 2nd ed. New York, 1960.
Anastasi, A. Psychological Testing, 3rd ed. London, 1969.
(4) In pattern recognition, a set of attributes that are functionally interdependent and that characterize a given pattern, or class. Tests are often used in diagnostic work—in medical diagnostics, for example, or for locating malfunctions in electrical systems—as well as for such purposes as geometric pattern recognition.
Test coverage attempts to assess how complete a test has been.
2. The second stage in a generate and test search algorithm.