A psychological test is an objective and standardized measurement of sample behavior. Objectivity refers to the consistent manner in which responses are scored. For example, all test-takers who “very strongly disagree” to an item will receive the same raw score for that item regardless of any other demographic information, such as race, religion, age, or orientation.
Secondly, a psychological test’s standardization means that no matter who administers, scores, or interprets the results, there is procedural uniformity. For example, two interpreters should reach very similar conclusions about one individual’s test results.
Third, a test is not a magical or supernatural “X-ray” that reveals otherwise hidden elements of an individual; rather, the test-taker is simply providing a personalized response to a common set of standard items. The uniqueness, therefore, does not lie within the test, but within the individual.
Just as the individual may respond uniquely to a list of standard questions, this same individual also responds uniquely to their ever-changing environment, circumstances, and interpersonal relationships. As such, a test by these standards can be understood to mean any type of objective, standardized observation, not just a questionnaire.
Hence, it is the duty of the practitioner-interpreter to bring about a coherent synthesis between test (standard items) results and their own observations of the individual’s interactions with their environment. The trained professional will not to merely accept one test and dismiss another; the truth is revealed from the synthesis of all relevant test data.