Ethical/legal and cultural considerations in assessment & assessment

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 Review the qualification levels for the use of psychological assessment presented in Naugle’s “Counseling and Testing” in this week’s study activity. Compare these qualifications to your state laws or rules in your specialization to determine your qualification level, and describe what type of assessments you may be qualified to administer with appropriate training and supervision after you are licensed in your state. As a licensed or certified counselor in your specialization, which level will you qualify under in your state, and what do training and supervision entail for Level A, B, and C tests? 


Measurement and Evaluation in
Counseling and Development

Volume 42 Number 1
April 2009 31-45

© 2009 The Author(s)
Counseling and Testing: What
Counselors Need to Know About
State Laws on Assessment and Testing
Kim A. Naugle
Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond

This article discusses testing in counseling, the history of psychology’s attempts to restrict
access to testing, and the potential impact on the public. Counselors are encouraged to obtain
appropriate training in assessment and to understand that testing is not only consistent with
fair testing policies but also essential for ethical practice.

Keywords: testing; assessment; state law; fairness; ethical

Counselors are often uncertain about
the role that assessment—particularly,

testing—should play in their practice. Regard-
less of the setting in which they work or
their specialization area, counselors need to
be aware of the ethical and legal role that
assessment plays in their professional prac-
tice. Counseling assessment, including
various forms of testing, has always been
interwoven within the counselor’s role. In The
Standards for Educational and Psychological
Testing, the American Educational Research
Association, American Psychological Asso-
ciation, and the National Council on Measure-
ment in Education (1999) define assessment as
“any method used to measure characteristics
of people, programs, or objects” (p. 2).

Counseling assessment includes several
types of measurement instruments and tools,
many of which have been in use for several
centuries. For instance, proficiency testing
was evident in China as early as 2200 bce
(Cohen & Swerdlik, 1999). The true launch
of testing, as viewed in modern times, came
in the 19th century with the work of Francis
Galton, who is credited with formulating such
assessment tools as questionnaires, rating

scales, and self-report inventories. Galton
strongly influenced American psychologist
James Catell, among others; in fact, it was
Catell who coined the term mental test.

Other contributors to counseling assess-
ment include Alfred Binet, who began work
with what has become the modern form of
intelligence tests, and L. M. Terman, who
translated Binet’s work into the Stanford–
Binet Intelligence Test. The Army Alpha
and Army Beta group that administered
intelligence tests following World War I
were also major contributions, as was the
first publication of the Mental Measurement
Yearbook, in 1939, which marked the
beginning of a resource for identifying and
evaluating assessment instruments. Other
significant contributions include Hathaway
and McKinley’s Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory (developed in the
early 1940s), minimum competency testing

Author’s Note: Correspondence concerning this
article should be addressed to Kim A. Naugle, College
of Education, Eastern Kentucky University, 521
Lancaster Avenue, Combs Room 420, Richmond, KY
40475; e-mail: [email protected].


32 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

(in the 1970s), and the current use of
computer appraisals, as well as updated
revisions of past inventories.

Authentic testing is one of the assessment
movements of the 1990s that continues to
influence the field of educational assessment.
It has strongly influenced the testing practices
of teachers and school systems in particular
in assessing the academic progress of stud-
ents. Rather than rely on annual achievement
tests to assess students, the teachers compile
student portfolios to provide a more inclusive
source of measurement (Whiston, 2000).
This movement has been a major force in
assessment in Kentucky schools as part of
the Kentucky Educational Reform Act—first
with the Kentucky Information Results Infor-
mation system and now with Common wealth
Accountability Testing System (Kentucky
Department of Education, 2000).

As testing practices and assessment tools
have developed and evolved throughout
the last century, so has the need for their
availability and the availability of trained
professionals to administer, score, and inter-
pret the results. Counselors and other mental
health professionals with the appropriate
training and competency in assessment have
become increasingly important in filling this
need. Assessment is not just used for gathering
data for doctoral studies and publications; it is
a tool through which counselors, clinicians,
and other mental health professionals are able
to measure such human constructs as emotion,
intelligence, personality, self-esteem, and
aptitude. These constructs are not always
directly and conclusively evaluated by obser-
vation and interview alone—that is, counselors
and other qualified professionals can perform
other forms of assessment (e.g., tests). Whiston
(2000) described that behavior is sampled in
many ways including how individuals speak
and respond to questions and that, when they
take a test, it is a sample of their behavior in
that instant only. By assessing these samples

of human behavior, the professional is better
equipped to evaluate, define, and diagnose the
client’s problem; develop and implement
effective treatment plans; and have a gauge to
rate the counseling process.

Test Publisher–Recommended
Qualifications of Test Users

Test publishers have designated different
levels of responsibility for monitoring the
competencies of those who purchase and
utilize assessment instruments. The Psycho-
logical Corporation (n.d.), for example,
has issued four levels of competency for
individ uals, organizations, and agencies
who are interested in purchasing tests—
specifically, Levels A, B, C, and Q. Level
A tests currently require no qualifications
relating to purch ase. Level B requirements
include a master’s degree in either psycho-
logy or education, appropriate training in
assessment, or mem bership in a professional
association that requires assessment training.
Level C quali fications include a doctorate in
psychology or education, the appropriate
training in assessment, or the validation
of licensure/certification that requires the
professional to have the appropriate training
and experience in counseling assessment.
Level Q purchase qualifications specify a
background relative to the testing purchase,
as well as training in the ethical use,
administration, and inter pretation of tests.

This leveling process requires completion
of a qualifications form for all levels, as
well as the professional’s attesting to having
the training in assessment as mandated
by the guidelines listed in the Standards
for Educational and Psychological Testing
(American Psychological Association, American
Educational Research Associa tion, & Nat-
ional Council on Measurement in Education,
1999). These guidelines state that it is

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 33

the experience, training, and certification
held that should be the deciding factor of
eligibility in test assessment. How ever, the
1985 revision of the standards—jointly auth-
ored by representatives of the American
Educational Research Associa tion, the
American Psychological Association, and
the National Council on Measurement in
Education—does not recommend the use
of classification levels (Moreland, Eyde,
Robertson, Primoff, & Most, 1995).

As another example, Western Psycholo-
gical Services (2001) is a founding member
of the Association of Test Publishers and
claims to be “America’s leading publisher
of high quality assessment materials since
1948” (p. 258). The Western Psychological
Services routes materials such as tests,
books, software, and therapy materials to
psychologists, coun selors, other mental health
professionals, special education coordinators,
and human resources development/personnel
specialists. This publisher specifies an
array of profes sionals who are capable of
purchasing and administering counseling
assessment tools and psychological tests.
However, they note that to purchase these
tests, one must be a “qualified professional.”
The process of determining who is qualified
to purchase which tests begins with an initial
request and completion of a qualification
questionnaire, which includes questions
about the individual’s assuming overall
responsibility for the interpretation and use
of the test. The form requires the purchaser
to provide general background, educational,
and professional information and then to
send it to Western Psychological Services
for review. A decision is then made to
determine if the applicant has the knowledge
base, training, and experience to qualify for
the purchase and use of the test requested
(Western Psychological Services, 2001).

Multi-Health Systems is a publishing
company that advertises a variety of
assessment tools available to psychologists,

psychiatrists, mental health professionals,
human resource professionals, and special
education coordinators/counselors. Multi-
Health Systems designates two levels of
qualifications for test purchasers. The mini-
mum eligibility described in Level B involves
having completed appropriate course work
in tests and measurements at a university (or
corresponding and documented training).
Level C tests add to the Level B requirements
in that the user must also have “training and/
or experience in the use of tests and must
have completed an advanced degree in an
appropriate profession” (Multi-Health Sys-
tems, 2001, p. 122). Surpassing both levels
are those restricted tests listed by Multi-
Health Systems in which the mental health
professional must complete a purchaser
qualification form similar to that requested
by Western Psychological Services.

Professional Organization–
Recommended Test User


The American Psychological Association,
the American Counseling Association, and
mental health organizations in general have
accepted the above qualifications, including
those established and supported by the
Psychological Corporation. Table 1 sum-
marizes the recommendations of a number
of professional organizations, concerning their
ideas of the qualifications that a profes-
sional should have in order to administer an
assessment tool.

As previously stated, the levels of compe-
tency required for test purchase are sup-
ported in the Standards for Educational and
Psychological Testing (American Educa-
tional Research Association, American Psy-
chological Association, & National Council
on Measurement and Education, 1999), as
initiated by studies conducted by the Joint
Committee on Testing Practices (2002a; APA,

34 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

2001) and which resulted in the formation of
the Test User Qualifications Working Group.
Because of financial reasons, with drawal of
American Psychological Association support,
and other reasons, the committee disbanded
in December 2007 (Kennedy, 2008). The
Joint Committee on Testing Practices was
truly a joint committee in that it consisted
of representatives from the American Coun-
seling Association, the American Educa-
tional Research Association, the American
Psychological Association, the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the
National Association of School Psychol ogists,
the National Association of Test Directors,
and the National Council on Measurement
in Education. The bylaws of this committee
encouraged professional organizations and
test publishers to work together in the
improvement of assessment use, not the
promotion of test restriction. Moreland et
al. (1995) states that “experience, training,
and certification should be considered in
assessing competence to use tests . . .” and
that “educational efforts will ultimately be

more effective in promoting good testing
practices than efforts to limit the use of tests”
(p. 14 and 22). Anastasi (1992) supports this
statement by defining the specific knowledge
needed by all test users—namely, she or
he must possess skills and experience in
statistical techniques of psychometrics and
must have knowledge of pertinent facts
and characteristics of behavioral science:
“The ultimate responsibility for integrating
the information and using it in individual
assessment and decision making rests with
the counselor” (p. 611).

The Test User Qualification Working
Group developed a model exemplifying
the knowledge and skills needed by coun-
selors and other professionals to prevent
test misuse; this model is included in the
Responsibilities of Users of Standardized
Tests (Association for Assessment in Coun-
seling, 1987). In fact, Elmore and Ekstrom
(1993) found that ethical and standardized
test use by counselors parallels measure-
ment training. As stated, the cre dentialing
of counselors requires course work in the

Table 1
Assessment Qualifications of Professional Organizations


Course work in appraisal, × × × × × × × 
  assessment, and testing
Master’s, specialist, or doctorate × × × × × × × 
  in counseling or related field
Obtain passing score on the National ×       
Counselor Examination
Qualifying experience under supervision × × × × × × ×
Appropriate levels of training for × × × × × × × 
  specific tests
Need for assessment to assist with × × × × × × × 
  accurate diagnosis, treatment planning,
and intervention

Note: All information obtained via the appropriate organization’s Web site. ACA = American Counseling
Association; CACREP = Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs; NBCC =
National Board for Certified Counselors; FACT = Fair Access Coalition on Testing; ATP = Association of Test
Publishers; NCME = National Council on Measurement in Education.
a. Model legislation for state licensure.

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 35

competencies of individual and group
assessment. Familiarizing counselors with
Responsibilities of Users of Standardized
Tests promotes appropriate assessment quali-
fications for counselors.

These required qualifications are rela tively
agreed on within the field, and there is apparent
agreement within professional organizations
that the goal is not to limit professionals’ access
to tests; however, discrepancies surrounding
who is qualified to administer, score, and
interpret these assessments instruments exist
and so chal lenge the rights of many mental
health prof essionals. Cohen and Swerdlik
(1999) described that many professionals
currently use psychological testing including
educators, other mental health professionals
and other health care providers. Nevertheless,
the American Psychological Association and a
number of state psychology boards have made,
and are continually making, moves to restrict
the access and use of the majority of assessment
instruments—namely, to psychologists who
are licensed in a given state.

These attempts at restriction are not made
without opposition. The Association of Test
Publishers (2002) has joined with more than
30 professional associations to form the
Fair Access Coalition on Testing (2009a).
This organization has grown, in part, as
a response to the need to monitor those
restriction attempts at both the national
level and the state level. The mission and
policy statement of the Association of Test
Publishers are founded on the same type of
requirements developed and put forth by the
Psychological Corporation. For example,
the association proposes that assessment
professionals have access to testing instru-
ments based on their levels of education,
training, and experience in administering,
scoring, and interpreting psychological or
other assessment instruments. Its position
is that trained mental health professionals,
not only trained psychologists, have the
capability and right to use assessments. This

is exemplified in association’s policy state-
ment on fair access to psychological tests:

It is the policy of [the Association of Test
Publishers] to oppose all efforts to restrict
use of assessment instruments exclusively
to psychologists licensed in a given state
or states, and that [the association] shall
monitor closely any attempts to restrict
use based on licensure as a psychologist,
and shall intervene where appropriate to
ensure open and equal access to the use of
assessment instruments for all qualified
professionals. (Association of Test Pub-
lishers, 2002, para. 9)

Fair Access Coalition on Testing (2009b)
has carried this position even further in
addressing its stated mission of dedication
to: “the protection and support of public
access to professionals and organizations
who have demonstrated competence in the
administration and interpretation of assess-
ment instruments, including psychological
tests” (para.1). FACT (2009c) identifies five
goals for the organization addressing their
mission including its second goal which
states it: “monitors state and national legis-
lation and regulatory actions to assure that
all qualified professionals are permitted to
administer test instruments” (para. 1).

Counselors can demonstrate that they
meet these levels of education, training, and
experience in administering, scoring, and
interpreting assessment instruments in a
number of ways. For instance, understanding
the laws that govern the licensing and
accreditation of counselors and mental
health professionals could be one way
that counselors address this demonstration
of competence. For example, the 1994
American Counseling Association’s model
legislation for state licensure of professional
counselors was developed and revised by
organizations responsible for credentialing
professional counselors—these included the
American Association of State Counseling

36 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Boards, the Council for Accreditation
of Counseling and Related Educational
Pro grams, the Council on Rehabilitation
Edu cation, the Commission for Rehabilita-
tion Counselor Certification, the National
Board for Certified Counselors, and the
National Rehabilitation Counselors Associa-
tion (Glosoff, Benshoff, Hosie, & Maki,
1995). This model legislation comprises
such guide lines as the need for counselors to
conduct assessments and diagnoses to create
treatment plans and strategic interventions.
In preparation for these requirements under
this model, professionals who are seeking
licensure must have completed specific
course work in the assessment, appraisal, and
testing of individuals. This criterion certainly
correlates with the standards put forth in the
policy statement of the Asso ciation of Test
Publishers (2002) on fair access to psycho-
logical tests and the Psy chological Corpora-
tion’s listed qualifica tions (n.d.) for Levels
A and B.

Counselors having graduated from
a program accredited by the Council for
Accreditation of Counseling and Related
Educational Programs (2001) or from a
master’s degree program (or above) that
follows the council’s standards will have at
least met the Psychological Corporation’s
Level A and B assessment requirements,
given that they are directly reflected in
the standards. These standards stipulate that
graduates from approved programs have
curricular experiences and demonstrated
knowledge in eight core areas, including
assessment. Furthermore, they must demonst-
rate curricular experiences and demonstrated
knowledge in a variety of assessment-related
areas, including the basic concepts of stan-
dardized and nonstandardized testing, the
utilization of individual and group-based
test and inventory methods, and the appro-
priate strategies for selecting, administering,

and interpreting assessment and evaluation
instruments. Likewise, counselors seeking
licensure in a state following the American
Counseling Association’s model legislation
guidelines must have studied the following
areas in their course work: historical per-
spectives of assessment, basic concepts of
standardized and nonstandardized testing,
statistical concepts, reliability, validity,
assessment factors related to specific popu-
lations and nondiscriminatory evaluations,
strategies in selecting the test population,
diagnoses and mental/emotional status
understanding, and ethical/legal issues in
assessment (Glossof et al., 1995). The
National Board for Certified Counselors
(2005) specifies in its requirements for
earning certification as a Nationally Certified
Counselor that the applicant must have had
course work in appraisal. It then specifies in
its code of ethics—specifically, “Section D:
Measurement and Evaluation”—the same
requirements for knowledge, training, and
experience before administering, scoring,
and interpreting any assessment instru-
ment put forth by the Association of Test
Publishers. Once again, the requirements
focus on the counselors’ having received
the appropriate levels of training for speci-
fic tests and a recognition of their levels of
competence before using any instrument.
Additional guidelines revolve around
such issues as knowledge of the tests, the
population to be measured, stereotypical
concerns, the welfare of the client, and
test security (Association of Test Publishers,

State-Defined Qualifications
for Test Users

Forty-nine states consider mental health
counseling and school counseling as licensed/

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 37

certified professions. These states pay addi-
tional attention to the role of counselors in
testing, through the legal statutes and regu-
lations that govern these professions. To
become a licensed clinical counselor in the
state of Kentucky, for example, one must
have completed 60 graduate hours in nine
core areas derived from the Council for
Accreditation of Counseling and Related
Educational Programs:

the helping relationship, including coun-
seling theory and practice; human growth
and development; lifestyle and career
development; group dynamics, process,
counseling and consultation; assessment,
appraisal and testing of individuals; social
and cultural foundations, including multi-
cultural issues; principles of etiology,
diagnosis, treatment planning and preven-
tion of mental and emotional disorders and
dysfunctional behavior; research and eval-
uation; and professional orientation and
ethics. (Kentucky Board of Certification
for Professional Counselors, 2002, p. 3)

Also, a licensed professional clinical
counselor must have a master’s degree or
above in counseling or a related field, obtain
a passing score on the National Counselor
Examination, and have had a minimum
of 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised
experience in counseling, as approved by
the board. These requirements are found
in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, Section
335.525 (Kentucky Legislature, n.d.-c).
The Kentucky Administrative Regulations
(Kentucky Legislature, n.d.-d) support this
legislation—specifically, 201 KAR 36:060,
which relates to “qualifying experience
under supervision.” Within this regulation,
the practice of counseling is defined as
professional counseling services delivered
within the scope of Section 2 of this admin-
istrative regulation, which involves the appli-
cation of mental health and development

principals, methods, or procedure—including
the assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, and
treatment of emotional disorders or mental
illnesses—to assist individuals to achieve
more effective personal, social, educational,
or career development and adjustment. Table
2 specifies the current definitions and trends
concerning assessment in the 49 states with
professional counselor laws.

The administrative regulations concern-
ing the provisional and standard certificates
of School Guidance Counselors in the state
of Kentucky are found under KAR 3:060,
and they relate to the statutory authority
of the Kentucky Revised Statutes—namely,
161.020, 161.028, and 161.030 (Kentucky
Administrative Regulations, n.d.-b). None
of this legislature specifies education, train-
ing or experience associated with assess-
ment, evaluation or testing. However, the
Kentucky Education Professional Standards
Board (2005) did adopt and publish standards
for new and experienced school counselors
(respectively, provisional certificate versus
standard certificate) that have assessment as
Standard 7 of the eight standards (Kentucky
Board of Certification for Professional
Counselors, 2002). This standard says that
the school counselor must understand the
school’s testing program and know how to
plan and evaluate it; assess, interpret, and
communicate learning results with respect
to aptitude, achievement, interests, tempera-
ments, and learning styles; collaborate with
staff on assessment; use assessment results
and other data in formulating career and
graduation plans; coordinate student records
to ensure confidentiality of assessment
results; and provide orientation for others on
the school assessment program (Kentucky
Board of Certification for Professional
Counselors, 2002). In addition, 16 KAR
3070 describes the “endorsement for indi-
vidual intellectual assessment” to the provi-
sional and standard certificate in school

38 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Table 2
Assessment Legislation via a State-by-State Basis

Assessment, Tests, Assessment as
Appraisal, Normal Tests, Not One
State Testinga Assessmentb Administeredc Administeredd Core Areae

Alabama × × × ×
Alaska × × × ×f

Arizona × × ×
Arkansas × × × ×
Colorado × × ×
Connecticut × ×
DC × ×
Florida × ×
Georgia × × ×
Hawaii ×
Idaho × ×f

Illinois ×f

Indiana × ×
Iowa ×
Kansas × × × ×
Kentucky × ×
Louisiana × × ×
Maine ×
Marylandh ×
Massachusetts × ×
Michigan × ×
Minnesota × ×
Mississippi × × ×
Missouri × × ×
Montana × ×
Nebraska × × × ×f

Nevada × × ×
New Hampshire ×
New Jersey × ×
New Mexico × ×
New York × ×
North Carolina × ×
North Dakota ×
Ohio × ×
Oklahoma × ×
Oregon × ×
Pennsylvania × ×
Rhode Island ×
South Carolina × ×
South Dakota ×
Tennessee × × × ×
Texas × × × ×
Utah × ×


Naugle / Counseling and Testing 39

counseling (a somewhat unique certification
to the state of Kentucky); as such, it states
that an endorsement for individual intel-
lectual assessment shall be issued to an
applicant already holding certification as a
guidance counselor, who has completed 12
semester hours of graduate credit, including
course work in basic testing and measure-
ment concepts that related directly to indi-
vidual intellectual assessment, as well as
a supervised practicum for administering,
scoring, and interpreting indivi dual intellec-
tual assessments (Kentucky Administrative
Regulations, n.d.-a). Within the 49 states
that have counselor licensure laws, only 6
place restrictions on specific assessment
areas; in fact, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas
all disallow testing and assessment involv-
ing projective techniques for the purpose
of assessing personality. Tennessee also
disallows the counselor’s use of projective
techniques, as well as tests and assessments
used to diagnosis or identify pathologies,

not to mention human intelli gence tests
(Tennessee Board of Professional Coun-
selors, 2007). Alaska law prohibits the
use of projective techniques and intelli-
gence tests (State of Alaska, Department
of Commerce, Community, and Economic
Development, 2007). Nebraska disallows
the measuring of personality or intelligence
for the pur pose of diagnosis and treatment
planning (Nebraska Health and Human
Services System, 2007).

These laws and administrative regula-
tions, even with the few restrictions noted
above, point to recognition by state governing
agencies that the role of counselors in all
settings includes the administration, scoring,
and interpretation of assessment instru-
ments; that is, such regulations demonstrate
the state’s recognition that counselors are
valuable entities in meeting the demand for
assessment present in today’s society.

Despite this recognition, increasing attempts
of restriction are threatening the job welfare

Table 2 (continued)

Assessment, Tests, Assessment as
Appraisal, Normal Tests, Not One
State Testinga Assessmentb Administeredc Administeredd Core Areae

Vermonth ×
Virginia × ×
West Virginia × ×
Wisconsin ×
Wyoming × ×

Note. All assessment information based on state laws and legislation as obtained through state Web sites.
a. Specifies assessment, appraisal, or testing in definition or scope of practice.
b. Includes descriptions of accepted or normal assessment, appraisal, and testing practices in body of licensure
or regulation laws other than in definition of scope of practice.
c. Specifies certain types of tests that can be administered.
d. Specifies certain types of tests that cannot be administered.
e. Includes assessment as one core area for educational requirements for professional counselors.
f. Specifies appraisal or assessment as an optional area of requirement.
g. No licensure law at this time.
h. No licensure information regarding appraisal, assessment, or testing was found at the completion of this

40 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

of professional counselors as well as other
professionals such as School Psychologists
not licensed as psychologists. Hyman and
Kaplinski (1994) for example, in an article
concerning school psychologists, report that
“assessment is the core contribution that
got us into the schools, has kept us there,
and allows us to expand into other roles”
(p. 570). School counselors are responsible
for six major job expectations: counseling
(individual and group), pupil assessment,
consultation, information officer, school
program facilitator, and research and evalu-
ation (Schafer, 1995). Of these six, pupil
assessment, program evaluation, and using
basic research relate to assessment. Schafer
(1995) found that the skills required by the
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and
Related Educational Programs, if they were
applied appropriately and assessed by the
program delivering them effectively, would
prepare a beginning level school counselor
to meet these job expectations. Furthermore,
a division of the American Counseling
Associa tion, the Association for Assessment
in Counseling (n.d.), has developed a list of
required competencies that school counsel-
ors must have in the areas of assessment and

1. School counselors are skilled in
choosing assessment strategies.

2. School counselors can identify, access,
and evaluate the most commonly used
assessment instruments.

3. School counselors are skilled in the
techniques of administration and meth-
ods of scoring assessment instruments.

4. School counselors are skilled in interpret-
ing and reporting assessment results.

5. School counselors are skilled in using
assessment results in decision making.

6. School counselors are skilled in pro-
ducing, interpreting, and presenting
statistical information about assess-
ment results.

7. School counselors are skilled in con-
ducting and interpreting evaluations
of school counseling programs and
counseling-related interventions.

8. School counselors are skilled in adapt-
ing and using questionnaires, surveys,
and other assessments to meet local

9. School counselors know how to
engage in professionally responsible
assessment and evaluation practice. If
school counselors are restricted from
using both educational and counseling
assessment devices, the detection of
children with special needs will be
delayed and possibly overlooked.

Fair Access for Counselors
and Their Clients

The qualifications of test users are of
great concern and they should be monitored—
but not limited or restricted by any one
discipline. With the adoption of the Code of
Professional Responsibilities in Educational
Measurement by the National Council on
Measurement in Education (1996), an addi-
tional step was taken to uphold the ethical
standards of test use and to prevent test
misuse. The council’s purpose in developing
the code is to direct the conduct of its
members who are involved in educational
assess ment. Professionals adhering to the
ethical responsibilities described in the code
will be acting on the criteria previously
established by the Standards for Educatio­
nal and Psychological Testing (American
Educational Research Association, Amer-
ican Psycho logical Association, & National
Council on Measurement and Education,
1999) and the Code of Fair Testing Practices
in Educa tion (Joint Committee on Testing
Practices, 2002b). These criteria include
judging the technical adequacy of tests, as
well as deciphering which test is best test to

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 41

use and how to score the results. Vacc,
Juhnke, and Nilsen (2001) support this theory
by stating that “an effective and constructive
way to address the misuse of tests and test
results is through professional organizations’
codes of ethics, which are used to regulate
members’ behaviors” (p. 217).

Despite the approved qualifications and
required standards for assessment purchase
and use, test restrictions are multiplying.
The American Psychological Association is
supporting legal interventions that would
restrict the use of assessment instruments to
licensed psychologists—as reported by
Clawson (1997),

The position of the Fair Access Coalition
on Testing is that the American Psycho-
logical Association efforts will reduce
needed services to the general public, vio-
late existing professional policies of both
the American Counseling Association and
American Psychological Association, initi-
ate counterproductive turf wars, and
turn existing collaboration among profes-
sional organizations into time-consuming,
resource-devouring, nonproductive con-
flict. (p. 90)

By issuing these test restrictions, the
American Psychological Association is vio-
lating its own model licensure act and its own
draft revision by interfering with other pro-
fessions. Both of these model licensure acts
state that as long as other professionals do not
represent themselves as psychologists, then
the prevention of other trained professionals
and/or their services will not be attempted
(American Psychological Association, 2009).
Furthermore, it is a lack of clarity that adds
to the professional boundaries between psy-
chologists and other mental health profes-
sionals. The psychologists agree that trained
professionals have the capability to admin-
ister tests; however, training requirements
are quite vague. For example, they include

course work, experience, supervision, and
exposure to the population that the tests are
to measure. The majority of counseling pro-
fessionals see the need for cooperation
between disciplines to benefit clients. Even
the doctoral-level psychologists, along with
mental health professionals, must have
training and experience in the administra-
tion of a particular test. The requirements
are not intended to exclude on the basis of
degree area alone.

Be that as it may, professionals who are
not deemed psychologists or psychiatrists
but who possess the required skills are being
discriminated against. Eyde, Moreland,
Robertson, Primoff, and Most (1988) noted
that the American Psychological Association
has promoted the restriction of test use based
on title (psychologist) against its own model
legislation and against published documents
from its own science directorate on test user
qualifications both nationally and in state
branches. Attempts of test restriction have
occurred in such places as Florida, Indiana,
South Carolina, Iowa, Louisiana, Alaska,
and California. For example, the American
Psychological Association granted $14,500
to the Louisiana State Board of Examiners in
Psychology to enforce its psychologist law,
to file suits against a licensed profes sional
counselor and a national certified counselor
(Clawson, 1997). Both suits were initiated
to prevent professionals other than licensed
psychologists from using psycho logical tests
(i.e., even if the professionals demonstrated
test-specific qualifications)—tests such as the
Bender–Gestalt Test, the Achenbach Child
Behavior Checklist, the Woodcock–Johnson
Psycho-Educational Battery–Revised, and
the Kinetic Family Drawings.

In another example of an attempt to
restrict assessment, the California Board of
Psychology decided that to administer the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, one must be
a licensed psychologist. Luckily, counselors

42 Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

in the California Fair Access Coalition on
Testing were able to produce a reversal
to the decision, based on the following
arguments: First, the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator is used not only for diagnosis but
also in business, group, religious, educa-
tional, and career areas; second, the Myers-
Briggs Type Indicator was not developed
by a psychologist; finally, public access to the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, via the Internet
and local bookstores, makes the restriction
of the test nearly impossible to ensure. A suit
was also filed in California against a doctoral-
level special education examiner. In this case,
the California Board of Psychology instructed
the examiner to stop the administration and
use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–
Revised, the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-
Educational Test–Revised, and the Wide
Range Achieve ment Test. This examiner
then had to hire a licensed psychologist to
administer the tests. Given that the doctoral-
level special education examiner was
more trained and more experienced in the
administration of these tests than the licensed
psychologist whom she hired, she had to train
the psychologist in their administration. The
suit that created this situation was dropped
in 1997, with the help and influence of the
California Senate and Assembly Committee
(Clawson, 1997).

As of January 1, 1999, counselors in
Alaska were granted the rights to diagnose
and treat mental/emotional disorders under
that state’s licensed professional counselor
law. However, these professionals are
prohibited from using projective assess-
ments, as well as individually administered
intelli gence tests. This is done despite the
fact that the licensure law of Alaska requires
coun selors to have a 48-hour master’s degree
in counseling or a related field, 12 additional
hours, a written exam, and 3,000 hours of
supervision (State of Alaska, Department of
Commerce, Community, and Economic
Development, 2007).

The Indiana State Board of Psychology
proposed Indiana Code 25-33-1-3.g, which,
according to Toner and Arnold (1998),
would enable the board to

establish, maintain, and update a list of
psychological instruments that, in the
words of the legislature, could create a
danger to the public because of their design
and complexity if improperly adminis-
tered and interpreted by individuals other
than those designated in the statute. (p. 1)

The professionals most affected by this
law, if enacted, would be social workers,
marriage and family therapists, and the
Mental Health Counselor Licensure Board.
Once again, the Fair Access Coalition on
Testing was contacted to aid the Association
of Test Publishers in lobbying against this
code, which would have restricted access to
318 psychological assessments that were to
be restricted. The coalition successfully lob-
bied to end these restrictions.

Recommendations and

Counselors have a responsibility to be
aware of the role of assessment in counseling
and to be sure that they effectively carry out
and protect this role in their practices. If the
right to use assessment tools is granted to
doctoral-level psychologists only, then services
available to the public will diminish (e.g.,
diagnosis and treatment). In short, counselors
who lose the right to assessment will lose
the ability to diagnose, and they will have a
valuable tool of treatment elimi nated from
their access. As reported by Whiston (2000),
“most managed health care organizations
require that a diagnosis be made before
they will reimburse practitioners. Therefore,
if counselors lose the right to assess in a
state, they will be eliminated from the private
practice market in the state” (p. 10).

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 43

This will also have a direct impact on
rural and economically deprived urban
populations. Test restriction would cheat
these underserved populations of proper
mental health care and attention. The
majority of underserved populations are
attended by master’s-level mental health
professionals, not doctoral-level psycho-
logists. Test restriction would result in the
victimization of those needing care. “The
ultimate product of psychological test
restriction would likely be less available
service to clients” (Clawson, 1997, p. 93).

If counselors continue to seek the training
and experience needed in providing effective
assessment, then restrictions by outside
disciplines should not be conducted and/or
accepted. Counselors must be granted the
right to test use if they take the responsibility
to learn the laws and ethical guidelines
surrounding the use and administration of
assessment instruments. Furthermore, those
counselors having graduated from programs
that meet the standards of the Council for
Accreditation of Counseling and Related
Educational Programs are, by definition, in
adherence with the assessment administra-
tion guidelines proposed by the American
Psychological Association and the American
Counseling Association. The unethical rest-
riction of assessment rights among disciplines
results in unethical treatment for the client.


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Kim A. Naugle is a tenured professor in the
Counseling and Educational Psychology Department

Naugle / Counseling and Testing 45

at Eastern Kentucky University where he also serves
as the Associate Dean of the College of Education.
His research interests include effective assessment
and evaluation including outcome assessment
as well as research on effective collaboration for

For reprints and permissions queries, please visit SAGE’s Web site at

scholarship and effective use of technology such as
in establishing teacher presence in web-based
instruction. He is also currently working on an arti-
cle and a book chapter on the school counselor’s role
in transitions for special needs children.

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