PSY3041 - Psychological testing, theories of ability and ethics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences


Dr Tijana Mihaljcic (Australia)

Dr Miriam Park (Malaysia)

Unit guides




  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • First semester 2017 (Off-campus)


  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit introduces the principles and processes of test development and concepts of test reliability and validity. Some widely used standardised psychology tests will be described. The unit also covers theories of ability and how our thinking about human abilities is influenced by our cultural framework. Other major themes include methods for establishing the relative influence of heredity and environment on human intelligence, and the role of psychological testing in clinical practice, educational settings, and corporate organisations. A basic knowledge of the ethical, legal and professional responsibilities of psychologists will be provided with the opportunity for students to apply the Code of Ethics to real life ethical scenarios.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. have some insight into the origins and social context in which psychometric testing developed;
  2. understand the principles of reliability, validity and item analysis;
  3. have practical experiences in test construction and administration;
  4. be able to critically evaluate the psychometric properties of psychological tests;
  5. gain knowledge in the interpretation of test scores;
  6. identify diverse applications of psychological testing;
  7. understand the relevant theories of intelligence;
  8. be familiar with genetic and environmental factors which influence human intelligence;
  9. be able to list some causes of intellectual disability;
  10. appreciate group differences in the testing process;
  11. identify the social implications of psychological testing; and
  12. understand the key ethical principles and identify potential ethical dilemmas and their possible solution


  • Research report (2,000 words) (25%)
  • Ethics report (1,500 words) (15%)
  • Online case report quizzes (10%)
  • Examination (2 hours) (50%) (hurdle)

Workload requirements

Attendance at labs, tutorials or weekend schools is required in order to successfully complete in-class activities and related assessment tasks.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

WESch classes are compulsory in order to complete the assessment associated with attendance. Please refer to the specific unit requirements for more detail. It is common practice, where possible, to timetable at least two WESsch options in each core unit. Sessions may be held at Clayton or Caulfield campuses.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: