2.2.3. Raw test data

2.2.3 Raw test data

“Raw test data” means the test questions or items, with corresponding answers and raw scores, from a client (Frima & Visser, 2008). This data, along with all other relevant data concerning the individual assessment relationship, such as the client’s standard scores, also belongs to the file.

Within the circle of test publishers and test authors and the profession of psychologists, a discussion has been going on for quite some time about giving the client access to raw test data. The client does, after all, have the right to access the entire file or parts of it, and to get a copy of it, including the raw test data (see Article 67, “Access to and copy of the File”). The personal notes of the psychologist are an exception to this rule (see section 2.2.4, “Personal working notes”). As a consequence, when the client asks for it, the psychologist must also provide a copy of the raw test data (including, for example, completed test forms, such as a questionnaire or written cognitive task). In this way, however, copyright-protected data (test items) can end up in the public domain. Also, as a result of the unauthorised dissemination of tasks from a test, the value of psychodiagnostic instruments could decrease over the long term, because the measurements taken with them will be less valid and reliable, or no longer valid or reliable at all. This prompted the NIP to seek advice in mid-2008 from the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA). The Dutch DPA (2008) came to the conclusion that, when it comes to the raw test data from a psychological test, it is justified “to limit this right of access by giving access to the person who has done the test only during a conversation, combined with a written report containing the results from it. This way, psychological tests retain their value and are still copyrighted.” During the conversation, the psychologist may, if desired, give an account of the test questions and the client’s test scores. A copy of the test questions and answers is not provided, to preserve the validity of the tests and the copyright of the test publishers.


Moreover, the principle of combining questions and answers depends on the specific test, and sometimes on its form. This can vary considerably in practice. If questions are included, not in the test itself but in a “test booklet”, for instance, the question is whether the psychologist may copy the booklet into the digital file. That is often not allowed without the consent of the test publisher, and in that case the psychologist can keep the test booklet outside the digital file, having placed a note in the file that the booklet can be accessed by the client if they wish.