You or your loved one take an assessment and then you receive the report detailing the findings. You anxiously take a glance at all the tables, numbers, and fancy jargon and somehow are left with more questions than answers. Psychological reports can look like a foreign language to someone who is not used to or does not understand how to decipher them. Here are some helpful tips to help you understand the results of your latest psychological report:
Jump to the end
Usually there will be a summary of the findings from the testing as well as some conclusions drawn by the assessor. This section may even include any diagnoses that may fit the client that were a result of findings from the test. These are typically listed at the very end of the report.
It is common in reports that they will describe in detail what the test included. This may be helpful if your child took the test, and you want to know exactly what they were questioned. If the test was administered to yourself, then you most likely can just skim through this section, as you are already aware of what the test entailed.
Understand the Jargon
It is okay. We know that it has been a while since that Statistics course in school. Psychological reports may remind you of how much you didn’t pay attention in class. Not to worry! Here are a few common terms that you may find on a psychological report and their definitions.
• Range- The range refers to variation in the scores (the space between the highest and the lowest score)
• Mean- The mean is a common term that simply means the average.
• T-Score- A T-Score is value used when comparing two groups of numbers. It represents the difference of average scores of two groups
• Percentile- A percentile is a number used to compare where the score falls in comparison to other scores. For example, 40th percentile means that 40% of the other scores fall below it.
• Confidence Interval- A confidence interval is used when it is impossible to predict the actual true number. Instead the results may be a range of numbers like 24-26, which would mean that the true number falls somewhere between 24 and 26.
Look for the Recommendations
At the end of a psychological report they should always include recommendations as to how to manage or support the client. This list is typically at the end, but not always. These recommendations can range from changes to be made at home, school or work if appropriate. One may argue that this would be the most important aspect of the psychological report. You should never be left wondering “what now?” If you have questions about these recommendations or would like to discuss them further, feel free to make an appointment with your psychologist to discuss these items in detail.
Ask for Help
You have the right to fully understanding the results of your psychological report. Feel free to book an appointment with a psychologist or whomever administered the exam to have someone walk you through the results. Do not be ashamed, as many reports are difficult to understand.
Keep an Open Mind
Psychological tests are great tools in the world of psychology, especially when trying to determine a diagnosis. If the results are not what you anticipated or desire, understand that there are limits to assessments. Speak to your psychologist about other options. Also keep an open mind about the recommendations listed at the end of the report. Even though, you may disagree or doubt the final diagnosis, the recommendations may be very helpful. Give them a try before dismissing the findings of the report.
If you would like to look into psychological assessments or diagnosis for yourself or a loved one, book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.