ERIC Identifier: ED391987
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Plake, Barbara S. - Conoley, Jane Close
ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Using Buros Institute of Mental Measurements Materials in
Counseling and Therapy. ERIC Digest.
Assessment use is a cornerstone of successful counseling. Information from
assessments is used for making initial diagnostic decisions, to assess client
readiness for clinical interventions, for monitoring progress during the
counseling process, and for assessing therapeutic outcomes at the conclusion of
the counseling program. Therefore, counselors' needs for information about
assessment devices and approaches are very high. Tests are being published at a
remarkable rate; it is a challenge for the practicing counselor to stay well
informed about new approaches and revisions of well known tests (APA, 1990;
Rudner and Dorko, 1989).
BUROS INSTITUTE OF MENTAL MEASUREMENTS
Established over 50
years ago by Oscar K. Buros, the mission of the Buros Institute is to improve
tests and testing practices by providing candidly critical reviews of
instruments. The Institute fulfills this mission, in part, by publishing several
reference works that contain descriptive and quality information about
commercially available tests. In addition, the Institute publishes a topical
series and sponsors symposia on specific assessment areas. Through access to
products and programs of the Buros Institute, counselors can make more informed
assessment selection decisions and stay current with assessment practices in the
MENTAL MEASUREMENTS YEARBOOK AND TESTS IN PRINT SERIES
Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) and Test in Print (TIP)" Series serve as
companion resources for locating and evaluating commercially available tests.
The "MMY" is hierarchically organized. Each new volume contains information
about new or revised tests made available since the last publication. "TIP," on
the other hand, is comprehensive, providing descriptive information about
currently available tests. In addition, "TIP" is a cumulative index to test
information in the "MMY" series.
"The Mental Measurements Yearbook" contains descriptive information about
tests, including test author, publisher, publication date (including dates of
revisions), purpose of the test, categorization of the test, target
populations/age ranges, price lists, reported scores, and availability
information for users' documents such as manuals. For most tests, evaluations of
the quality and utility follow descriptive information. Typically, two
independent reviewers prepare critical analyses. Another useful feature of the
information in the "Mental Measurements Yearbook" is the accompanying listing of
journal references associated with each test.
USES OF THE MMY SERIES FOR COUNSELING PRACTICES
contained in the "MMY" can aid counselors in many ways (Claiborn, 1991; Plake,
Conoley, Kramer and Murphy, 1991). By referencing the categorization system
developed by the Institute, counselors can locate tests appropriate for their
purpose. These categories indicate the test's general purpose, such as
Achievement, Behavior Assessment, Developmental, Education, Fine Arts,
Intelligence and Scholastic Aptitude, Mathematics, Multi-Aptitude Batteries,
Neuropsychological, Personality, Reading, Science, Sensory-Motor, Social
Studies, Speech and Hearing, and Vocations.
Tests can also be identified through the score index. If, for example, a
counselor wants to assess client self-esteem, referencing the score index will
yield tests that provide a self-esteem score. The descriptive and evaluative
information for those particular tests in the "Yearbook" will assist the
counselor to identify the possible assessment instruments best suited for the
client characteristics and clinical purpose.
The critical evaluations prepared by independent expert reviewers also assist
the counselor by providing thorough, thoughtful analyses of the quality and
utility of the test. Not only are these reviews helpful in making informed
decisions about the usefulness of the test for the particular situation, but
they also communicate current thinking in the field about the construct the test
is designed to assess. Therefore, the reviews serve a continuing education
purpose for practicing counselors by assisting the counselor in keeping current
with theory and assessment developments.
It is sometimes important for counselors to be able to articulate and defend
their assessment choices to a variety of audiences. The descriptive and
evaluative information about an instrument, prepared by experts in the field,
can serve as a definitive reference that has been shown to be useful for legal
purposes. Although not designed for litigation, these reviews are potentially
useful in court hearings when questions pertaining to assessment selection are
raised. In addition, these reviews can provide objective evidence for such
purposes as quality assurance reports and evaluations or audits of counseling
practices or programs.
OTHER PRODUCTS AND PROGRAMS FROM THE BUROS INSTITUTE
addition to the "Mental Measurements Yearbook" and "Tests in Print Series," the
Institute sponsors other products and programs that are potentially valuable for
counselors and therapists.
"Buros-Nebraska Symposium and Series on Measurement and Testing." One notable
program is the Buros-Nebraska Symposium on Measurement and Testing. At these
symposia, key people in the field are invited to make presentations and to lead
discussions on issues relevant to assessment. The Buros-Nebraska Symposium
Series is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a sponsor
of continuing education credits. Counselors can acquire APA-approved CEUs
(continuing education units) through attendance. The presentations are are
edited and produced into volumes that are published in the Buros-Nebraska Series
on Measurement and Testing. Occasionally, additional chapters are included in
the volumes in order to more fully represent the topical area. Two recent
symposia are of particular relevance to counseling practice: Family Assessment
and Multicultural Assessment.
"Oscar K. Buros Library of Mental Measurements." Located at the University of
Nebraska, the Oscar K. Buros Library of Mental Measurements is also a useful
resource for counselors and therapists. Counselors can inspect tests and
ascertain their appropriateness for particular clinical purposes before
purchasing. The tests reviewed for the MMY and TIP Series are located in the
Institute's Library and are available for public inspection. Tight restrictions
are placed on access for secure tests and all copyright materials are protected
from dissemination through strict policies and procedures. However, the library
is a significant resource of tests useful for counseling purposes.
"Electronic Access to Test Review Information." "The Eleventh MMY" was also
produced as a CD-ROM, searchable both through the traditional indices and by
search algorithms. This product also provides a comprehensive master index to
the location of test information in the "Mental Measurements Yearbook and Test
in Print Series." The institute is investigating other options for providing
electronic access to test information.
"Buros Desk Reference (BDR) Series." A new product from the Institute, the
BDR is targeted for the individual practitioner. Descriptive and evaluative
information about tests most frequently used in particular fields is located in
a single volume. The first product in this series, "Buros Desk Reference:
Psychological Assessment in the Schools," contains evaluative information for
the over 100 tests most frequently used by school psychologists, counselors, and
Products and programs from the Buros Institutes of
Mental Measurements serve test information needs of counselors and therapists. "The Mental Measurements Yearbook and Test in Print Series" contain information
about availability, quality, and utility of assessment devices. Counselors can
identify tests potentially appropriate for their clinical practice and stay
up-to-date on assessment of psychological constructs and educational outcomes
through use of these volumes. In addition, the Institute sponsors topical
symposia and volumes targeted at specific audiences; these can provide
cutting-edge assessment information to counselors and therapists. Test users can
also inspect instruments on-site at the Buros Library of Mental Measurements.
The counseling process is multi-faceted and complex. Tests and other specific
assessment approaches are useful in assisting counselors in making appropriate
clinical decisions; the Buros Institute's mission is to support well-informed
assessment decisions. The Institute's products and programs point counselors
toward reliable, valid, state-of-the art measurement practice in efficient,
effective ways. In this way the counselor's goal to serve the client is
Further information about the Institute or any of the products mentioned in
this digest is available by writing to the Buros Institute, 135 Bancroft Hall,
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0348.
American Psychological Association, (1990).
Finding information about psychological tests: A guide for locating and using
both published and unpublished tests. Washington, DC: Author, Science
Claiborn, C. D. (1991). The Buros Tradition and the counseling profession.
Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 456-457.
Plake, B. S., Conoley, J. C., Kramer, J. J., & Murphy, L. U. (1991). The
Buros Institute of Mental Measurements: Commitment to the tradition of
excellence. Journal of Counseling and Development. 69, 449-455.
Rudner, L. M. & Dorko, K. (1989). Finding information about standardized
tests. (Eric Clearinghouse on Tests, Measurement, and Evaluation Digest, 2.)