Psychometrists are directly involved in administering a variety of cognitive and psychological tests to patients, and helping to assess their conditions.
Patients are referred to psychologists for a variety of reasons, including cognitive impairment as well as mental illness. The psychologist needs to assess the perform these test that help the psychologists in their diagnoses.
In patients whose brain function is impaired by a stroke, head injury or congenital illness, the psychometrist's testing can help to identify which areas of the brain are affected. For patients with mental illness or behavioural issues, the testing process can help to reveal behavioural patterns and triggers. Some employers also use psychometric testing to evaluate aptitudes and personality traits in their staff or prospective employees.
The primary duty of psychometrists is to administer the tests to the patients. These might be verbal, written, visual or physical tests, depending on the patient's condition. for example, an inability to visualise in three dimensions, or to assemble a simple puzzle of physical blocks, might indicate an injury to a specific part of the brain. Patients suffering from dementia or other illnesses might be similarly impaired in their ability to perform abstract reasoning. The observations of the psychometrists of the patients and their behaviour during the testing process also have clinical and diagnostic value, and those observations are included when test results are forwarded to the psychologist.
Psychometrists also evaluate clients using psychometric measuring instruments such as aptitude tests, interest questionnaires and personal inventories. They conduct interviews, make summaries of test scores and keep records and statistical information up to date.
The testing process can take up to a day to complete, and for physically or emotionally fragile patients it can be very difficult. To get the best results, psychometrists must build a rapport with each patient and provide the necessary coaching and encouragement. At the completion of the testing, the psychometrist scores each test according to its clinical guidelines, and updates the patient's medical records with the results. Senior psychometrists collaborate with the psychologist to select the right tests for each patient, based on their condition.
These evaluations may be used in the selection of the most suitable procedures for counselling, psychotherapy and job placement for individual clients. Psychometrists may also participate in personnel research projects and in the planning and evaluating of personnel enrichment programmes.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, Triumphant College, University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Malawi (Chancellor College), University of Stellenbosch