Brad B. Evans
Assessment may be defined as "a conceptual, problem-solving process of gathering dependable, relevant information about an individual, group, or institution to make informed decisions" (Turner, DeMers, Fox, & Reed, 2001, p. 1100). The importance of assessment to psychology cannot be overstated, as psychological testing may be considered "a defining practice of professional psychology since the field's inception" (Camera, Nathan, & Puente, 2000, p. 141). The outcomes of psychological assessment may be life-altering, such as placing a child in special education classes, denying an applicant a job, or altering treatment of a patient.
Given the importance of assessment, it is not surprising that there are numerous ethical pitfalls for the assessor (Welfel, 1998). This chapter reviews the main ethical issues inherent in assessment, including competence, informed consent, and confidentiality. In addition, the impact on assessment practices of federal statutes such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), the Civil Rights Act (1964, 1991), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1975) is discussed.