After reading this article you will learn about the use of psychological tests in India.
The use of psychological tests gained a lot of momentum in India. In fact, psychological testing was one of the first influences of western psychology. Among the earliest to introduce psychology testing as a part of scientific management was the Tata organisation. However, for a long time, no attempt was made to develop indigenous psychological tests and tests developed abroad were in their original form.
Subsequently, beginning from the 50s, a number of significant attempts were made to adapt tests from abroad to suit the Indian milieu, as well as to develop indigenous tests. The process of adopting western tests ranged from simple attempts to establish norms for Indian conditions to complete modifications and redesigning of tests.
Some of the early attempts of this type were Kamat’s adaptation of the Binet tests, Pareek’s adaptation of the Rozensweig P.C. Test and Asthana’s attempt to develop norms for the Rorscharch tests.
Similarly, attempts were made to develop or adapt semi-projective tests, questionnaires, adjustment inventories, personality inventories, etc., by many psychologists like Krishnan, Shanmugham, Hafeez, Mitra, Muthayya, Parameswaran and many others.
The psychological testing movement received a great fillip when a number of industrial organisations, and also government agencies like the Railways started using psychological tests for selecting their personnel. The Indian Armed Forces were one of the first governmental agencies to use psychological tests not only for selection but also for other purposes.
The Indian Railways, one of the largest organizations in the world, also established a separate cell for development and use of psychological tests for personnel selection, and in addition the cell also undertook research studies on many other problems like accident proneness.
This fillip given by industries and government departments led to the development of a number of psychological tests in different areas like intelligence, personality, aptitude, etc. More recently psychological testing has also found a place in certain schools and colleges and more so in special schools meant for those with mental disabilities.
But while psychologists may feel happy about this expansion and growth of the testing movement, at the same time there will be a few who will disagree with this view and hold that this development has also had undesirable consequences.
While the expansion and use of psychological tests as instruments in selection, assessment and diagnosis is something very desirable, at the same time one cannot help remarking that to a large extent this rapid growth of the movement has resulted in the development of many substandard tests which are of very poor quality from the point of view of reliability, validity and the availability of norms.
In fact, a recent review of the psychological tests developed in India over the past three or four decades undertaken by the National Council for Educational Research and Training, revealed a very shocking and appalling situation. The review could identify very few of the hundreds of tests reviewed as possessing adequate and satisfactory psychometric properties.
There have been many “instant” tests developed by incompetent and unprofessional test constructors. In some instances, the test construction appears to lack not only in professional competence, but also professional ethics. If such a trend continues, the Indian psychologists have only themselves to blame. While popularizing ‘psychological’ testing, they have not taken care to see that the quality of the tests is maintained.