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Canadian Psychological Association | Société canadienne de psychologie

Qualifications for Test Purchase

Note: Please read this section. Not everyone who wishes to buy a test is qualified to do so. In order to avoid delay in your order, please ensure that your qualifications are known to us.

Who May Purchase Tests

Generally, there are three major categories of test purchasers. The first category consists of individuals who purchase and use tests for decision-making purposes, whether in schools, hospitals, personnel departments, or other work settings. This category also applies to individuals who train students in the use of tests that will be employed for these purposes. The remaining categories consist of individuals who purchase tests for research purposes or for library use. Regardless of category, however, all first-time purchasers must complete the Customer Registration Form (PDF) and submit this form together with their purchase order. Orders from individuals who do not have on file a completed Customer Registration Form (PDF) will not be filled. Purchase orders from institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) must be countersigned by an individual who has on file a completed Customer Registration Form (PDF). The following criteria govern the sale of tests to individuals in each category.

Category 1: Tests Purchased for Teaching or Decision-making Purposes

An individual who employs a test for the purpose of teaching students, counselling clients, making hiring decisions, grade placement decisions, clinical referrals, etc. must have successfully completed a minimum of two university courses in tests and measurement. The first course, on basic principles of psychological measurement, should have been completed at the undergraduate or graduate level, and should have included information on such topics as scaling, transformations, and norms, as well as information on factors that affect reliability and validity.

The second course, at the graduate level or its equivalent, should have included material on assessment which is appropriate to the test(s) being ordered. Because of the variety of tests listed in Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. catalogues, coupled with the overlapping content of many advanced level courses in testing, it is not possible to specify by name which courses are necessarily most suitable for which tests. A course entitled "Educational Assessment," for example, may contain material on achievement testing and vocational guidance coupled with a practicum, or it may only contain material on the administration and scoring of achievement tests. For this reason, Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. adheres to the position adopted by the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education that "a test user should know her/his qualifications required for the uses of specific tests" (APA, AERA, NCME, 1974, p. 236).

To be clear on this matter, although it is necessary for Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. to ensure that tests are sold only to individuals who meet approved training requirements, it is not the responsibility of Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. to ensure that tests are used properly once they leave the firm. That responsibility remains solely with the test purchaser even in cases where the purchaser delegates the administration and/or interpretation of a test to someone else.

In addition to having completed an appropriate advanced level course in testing, there are also certain tests which are widely recognized as requiring supervised experience in test administration and interpretation in the form of either a practicum or an internship. These tests include, but are not necessarily limited to, tests designated as "C-level." Tests of this nature will not be sold to individuals who fail to meet this additional training requirement. Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. retains the right to determine whether a person is indeed qualified to purchase a given test.

Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. further recognizes that some individuals may have acquired an appropriate background in testing in ways other than through course work. Although it is not the responsibility of Pearson Canada Assessment Inc. to offer courses in testing, in order to avoid imposing unfair restrictions on the sale of tests, if you feel that you are qualified to purchase a given test as the result of having successfully completed an appropriate advanced level workshop or mini-course sponsored by a professional association, college, or university, etc., you should describe in a letter the nature of your background. The letter should then be submitted together with the purchase order form. Final approval to purchase a test will rest with Pearson Canada Assessment Inc.

In addition to course requirements, an individual who purchases a test for teaching or decision-making purposes must agree to abide by the principles that apply to appropriate test use as set forth in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1985) and in the Guidelines for Educational and Psychological Testing (CPA, 1987). Such an individual also must either be a member of a professional association, registered by a professional association, or be employed by a firm that has endorsed these principles and has adopted a code of ethical conduct that is similar to the code of ethical conduct approved by the American Psychological Association or the Canadian Psychological Association. The reason for this last requirement is to ensure that there is an external body that can act as a monitoring agent to which the public can turn in order to lodge a complaint when there is reason to believe that a test has been misused.

Category 2: Tests Purchased for Research Purposes

Tests and test materials that will be used for research purposes only may be purchased by college and university faculty members as well as by professional staff of hospitals and business organizations. Students enrolled in graduate programs may also purchase materials that will be used only for research purposes if the purchase order is countersigned by the student's supervisor or by the department head. Regardless of the purchaser, however, the order must be submitted on business or institution stationery and the purchaser must satisfy either the professional membership requirement, professional registration requirement, or the employment requirement specified under Category 1. In the case of students, enrollment in a graduate program that adheres to a code of ethical conduct similar to the code approved by the APA or the CPA will satisfy these requirements.

Category 3: Tests Purchased for Library Reference Purposes

Tests and test materials for library use are sold to individuals upon the assurance that these products will be made accessible only to persons who meet the criteria specified under Category 1 and Category 2. This assurance must be submitted in writing on letterhead stationery before the order will be processed. The letter containing this assurance must be countersigned by an individual who satisfies either the Category 1 or Category 2 criteria. In order to purchase materials for library use, the purchaser must also fill out the Customer Registration Form (PDF).