Errors in scoring objective personality tests

Assessment. 2000 Jun;7(2):119-29. doi: 10.1177/107319110000700203.


Given the paucity of previous research, we examined the occurrence of scoring error on widely used objective personality tests and examined its possible relation to two factors: scoring procedure complexity (SPC) and commitment to accuracy (CTA). We double-checked the scoring of three tests (MMPI, Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger State/Trait Anxiety Inventory) across three settings. Each of the tests were misscored at a surprisingly high rate in at least one setting, and some such errors altered major interpretive implications. Tests of higher SPC showed greater error rates, but high CTA greatly reduced the occurrence of error across levels of SPC. Unexpected sources of error were also uncovered, such as commercial computer scoring errors and disagreement in scoring standards among test publishers. Practical suggestions for improving scoring accuracy are offered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • MMPI / standards*
  • Personality Inventory / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software