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Benchmark Movements in Psychology

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By psychological benchmarks we mean categories of interaction that capture conceptually fundamental aspects of human life, specified abstractly enough so as to resist their identity as a mere psychological instrument, but capable of being translated into testable empirical propositions. Six possible benchmarks are considered: autonomy, imitation, intrinsic moral value, moral accountability, privacy, and reciprocity.

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Benchmarking is the measurement of a firm’s policies and practices through a logical comparison with another firm or a unit of the same firm in order to determine the relative performance. The main objectives of benchmarking include identification of what improvements are necessary and how high performance is attained by other companies. It therefore remains relevant in the current global operations as more companies strive to achieve best results in a highly competitive market setting. In order to experience notable success in benchmarking, a company will need to be more creative especially by using companies whose core business is totally outside its industry. For companies with locations spread across the world, benchmarking needs to be carefully conducted bearing in mind the aspect of international context which is fundamental in global benchmarking. Factors like time of existence, number of employees and locality have to be analyzed precisely while conducting the benchmarking exercise. Benchmarking methodologies will differ from company to company depending on the company structure and the localities where it conducts its business. Some companies operate in one country while others operate internationally in various countries, often spread across the world. The methodologies adopted by a company are crucial in determining the relevance and eventual success of the exercise. There are numerous benchmarking methodologies that can be used by a company with locations spread across the world. They include reengineering, benchmarking questionnaires, task-resource maps and diagrams. For benchmarking questionnaires, organizations may need to turn to outside sources like academic institutions that engage in gathering relevant data. Other sources they can utilize include specialized consulting companies whose core business is to collect such type of data. The questionnaires can then be used to obtain useful quantitative and qualitative data that is specific to every location of the organization across the world.

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One of the most common distinctions made among tests relates to whether they are measures of typical behavior (often non-cognitive measures) versus tests of maximal performance (often cognitive tests) (Cronbach, 1949, 1960). A measure of typical behavior asks those completing the instrument to describe what they would commonly do in a given situation. Measures of typical behavior, such as personality, interests, values, and attitudes, may be referred to as non-cognitive measures. A test of maximal performance, obviously enough, asks people to answer questions and solve problems as well as they possibly can. Because tests of maximal performance typically involve cognitive performance, they are often referred to as cognitive tests. Most intelligence and other ability tests would be considered cognitive tests; they can also be known as ability tests, but this would be a more limited category. Non-cognitive measures rarely have correct answers per se, although in some cases (e.g., employment tests) there may be preferred responses; cognitive tests almost always have items that have correct answers. It is through these two lenses—non-cognitive measures and cognitive tests—that the committee examines psychological testing for the purpose of disability evaluation in this report. Scores on tests are often considered to be norm-referenced (or normative) or criterion-referenced. Norm-referenced cognitive measures (such as college and graduate school admissions measures) inform the test-takers where they stand relative to others in the distribution. For example, an applicant to a college may learn that she is at the 60th percentile, meaning that she has scored better than 60 percent of those taking the test and less well than 40 percent of the same norm group. Likewise, most if not all intelligence tests are norm-referenced, and most other ability tests are as well. In recent years there has been more of a call for criterion-referenced tests, especially in education (Hambleton and Pitoniak, 2006). For criterion-referenced tests, one's score is not compared to the other members of the test-taking population but rather to a fixed standard. High school graduation tests, licensure tests, and other tests that decide whether test-takers have met minimal competency requirements are examples of criterion-referenced measures. When one takes a driving test to earn one's driver's license, for example, one does not find out where one's driving falls in the distribution of national or statewide drivers, one only passes or fails.

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By and large, at Benchmark Psychology, you can be confident that you will receive the highest quality of care. Benchmark psychologists are a local Brisbane practice but use the most up to date treatment approaches, supported by extensive scientific research. They will work with you to help you clarify your goals and choose a therapy approach that feels right for you. At Benchmark, we also track your progress each session to make sure you are actually improving. If therapy is not progressing as expected your therapist will work with you to explain all of your options, so you have the best chance of achieving your goals.

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Chaytor N, Schmitter-Edgecombe M. The ecological validity of neuropsychological tests: A review of the literature on everyday cognitive skills. Neuropsychology Review. 2003;13(4):181–197.

Cronbach LJ. Essentials of psychological testing. New York: Harper; 1949.

Groth-Marnat G, Teal M. Block design as a measure of everyday spatial ability: A study of ecological validity. Perceptual and Motor Skills.

Hambleton RK, Pitoniak MJ. Setting performance standards. Educational Measurement. 2006;4:433–470.

ITC (International Test Commission). ITC guidelines for translating and adaptating tests. Geneva, Switzerland: ITC; 2005.

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Benchmark Movements in Psychology
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