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Information > Legal Policies

Legal Policies

Effective:  December 1, 2015

IMPORTANT NOTE:

These Legal Policies apply to the assessment products and services listed on this website (Site) for Pearson's Clinical Assessment and Talent Assessment (TalentLens) ("Pearson") products. 

These Legal Policies are subject to change from time to time by updated postings, and changes will be effective upon posting of an update.

General Policy For Reproduction And Dissemination Of Pearson's Test Materials

Pearson asserts that strong measures are necessary to protect the validity of its valuable testing instruments. Pearson believes that any reproduction of its tests without the prior written permission from Pearson may constitute copyright infringement and is a violation of the Terms and Conditions of Sale and Use of Pearson Products. Furthermore, disclosure of the assessments may threaten the ongoing security, reliability, and/or validity of the test and the test's results, and therefore, the value and usefulness of the test.

 

Trade Secrets

Outside of the protection granted by United States copyright law, Pearson considers its secured tests to be trade secrets. The test questions and answers, manuals and other materials constitute highly confidential, proprietary testing information that Pearson takes every precaution to protect from disclosure beyond what is absolutely necessary for the purpose of administering a test. Even in the development stage, the assessment materials are treated confidentially by Pearson employees, agents and consultants.

Pearson continues to guard the secrecy of its test materials once they become finished products. They are sold only to qualified individuals who are bound by the ethical standards of their profession to protect the integrity of the materials by maintaining the confidentiality of the test materials. Pearson has Registration Policies that are strictly enforced and each purchaser of restricted product is required to fill out a Registration Form that verifies their qualifications.  This Form contains a statement signed by the qualified purchaser indicating that the purchaser is so qualified, that the purchaser will abide by the Terms and Conditions of Sale and Use and that all ethical rules will be observed by the purchaser.  Therefore, Pearson strongly opposes the release of any test materials to non-qualified individuals.

 

Copyright/Fair Use

It is the position of Pearson that any reproduction of its test or other published materials, whether reproduced on paper or electronically (this includes use intake forms, research, video or audio taping administrations, photos, or any image capturing system), constitutes an infringement of the copyright and other proprietary rights in the tests or other published materials. In Pearson's view, reproduction of its test materials without prior written consent DOES NOT fall within the "fair use" exception of the copyright law.  Therefore, please contact Pearson's Clinical Assessment group at permissions@pearsonclinical.co.uk for any permission request to make reproductions of any of the Pearson tests or other Pearson materials.

 

Disclosure of Test Record Forms

Many of our customers have inquired regarding Pearson's position on whether test record forms must be disclosed to patients in order to comply with the Data Protection Act. 

However, Pearson's test materials are protected by copyright and trade secret law, and the widespread dissemination of test record forms (which may disclose test questions and answers) would violate restrictions on the use of Pearson's test materials and would cause great harm to Pearson, the test materials, the clinical community, and to the public at large.

We advise our customers that Pearson's test materials are trade secrets and their usefulness and value would be compromised if they were generally made available to the public. This position is consistent with our longstanding practice of ensuring, through our terms and conditions of use, that all purchasers have the appropriate qualifications to administer and interpret the test materials being purchased and that such purchasers agree to maintain the confidentiality of the test materials.

 

Second Opinions

Pearson recognizes that, in some cases, a parent or guardian may wish to consult a second professional regarding a minor's test scores. In these situations, we have no objection to a reproduction of the completed test protocol being provided to another qualified professional for the purpose of review; however, the materials should pass directly from professional to professional and not through the hands of a parent, guardian or their lawyer.

 

Ethical Issues

The original dissemination of Pearson's test materials are carefully restricted to individuals with a professional background in psychology, and only individuals with appropriate training in psychological assessment should interpret the tests. Products are sold only to qualified individuals who are bound by the ethical standards of their profession to protect the integrity, reliability and validity of the materials by maintaining the confidentiality of test questions, responses and scores.

Unlike many other types of tests, our restricted tests do not consist of a large collection of test items that are rotated. Rather, these tests have one expensive and highly researched version and should remain intact for 10 to 15 years. Millions of pounds have been spent on the research and "norming" (compiling of statistical data regarding results) of the tests. Any leakage of test items will severely compromise the value and usefulness of the tests.

 

Electronic Storage of Assessments

The question of electronic storage is a complicated one. The assessment materials being considered for electronic storage are copyright protected (and in some cases trade secret protected).  Copying is not permitted without permission from the publisher. However, we understand that electronic storage is often replacing physical storage for record-keeping purposes. Recognizing that reality, please note that our concern is not so much the storage format, as access and disclosure to our assessments that is a problem. 

First, please note that our Terms and Conditions of Sale and Use require purchasers of our assessment instruments to protect the security of the instruments they purchase. 

Second, we have also developed the following guidelines to assist you with maintaining the security of the assessment instrument and to address the need to store the information electronically. When Pearson grants permission to make electronic file copies of the tests it publishes, we require those who would do electronic storage to comply with the following guidelines. If you are unable to comply with these guidelines, we cannot grant permission to make copies of our assessment materials.

Permission to make electronic file copies of the tests is predicated on the following conditions:

  • Ensure that the test items not be included whenever possible;
  • That the tests are kept separate from other file material so that they are not inadvertently disclosed in response to a general request to view medical records. Of course, there are situations that require disclosure of test material, but these are rare and are addressed with legal protective orders; and
  • That the file containing the tests be password protected and secure from unqualified (per the Pearson qualification policy) users.When permission to scan has been received and the three safeguards above are in place, electronic storage can work fine for psychological tests.  The responsibility for test security remains with the qualified purchaser.

Posting Reproductions or an Administration of a Test On-Line

Agreement to Pearson's Terms and Conditions of Sale and Use of Pearson Products are part of the purchase process for any of its assessments.  For a variety of reasons, it is critical that all our customers (including students, as part of their graduate program) adhere to ethical and professional policies for the appropriate protection of secure assessment content.  In contrast to the past where videotapes of assessments were relegated to the media lab at the graduate program, technology now makes it very easy for anyone to record themselves administering an assessment and post that recording to a mass media site. While recording an assessment administration remains an important part of the teaching and supervision process, students should be reminded that:

  • Test materials (text, graphic images, or the oral reading of items) may not be displayed, reproduced, or performed (e.g., filming an administration) in any manner, electronically or otherwise, including posting on any mass media site, such as YouTube or any other similar site, without the prior written permission of Pearson.

This means that posting a video on a mass media site, such as YouTube or any other site, of an administration of a secure, copyrighted assessment should never occur without the prior written consent of Pearson.  When a video of this nature becomes public on any forum, it is considered an unauthorized reproduction or performance of the copyrighted material (whether the materials are viewable or not).  In addition to the legal concern, all clinicians should be aware that the availability of secure test content to unqualified users is damaging to the test's reliability and validity.

 

Variant Testing Conditions

Audio/Video Taping of Test Administration

It is Pearson's opinion that audio or videotaping or other non-standard conditions may invalidate the use of norm-referenced scores. As you may know, norms for standardized tests are developed under strict conditions. If such conditions are not met, the scaled scores obtained by application of the test norms are not statistically defensible. Although it is the position of Pearson that the validity of any scaled score that results from a non-standard administration should be interpreted with caution, it is the responsibility of the individual psychologist administering the test to ensure that the results of the assessment are an accurate reflection of the examinee's abilities.  Additionally, an audio or video taping of an administration where any test materials are recorded is a reproduction under copyright law.  If done without our written permission, such acts may be an infringement of the assessment's copyright.

Telepractice Test Delivery Administration

Telepractice is the use of telecommunications technology for the delivery of professional services at a distance.  It is Pearson's opinion that delivery of an assessment through this method has not been conclusively proven to result in a score that is equivalent to an assessment conducted in a standardized manner. However, there is initial evidence supporting test validity when administering the test via a telepractice method for a selective group of assessments.  Norms for standardized tests are developed under strict testing conditions. If such conditions are not met, the scaled scores obtained by application of the test norms may not result in statistically accurate scores. Although it is the position of Pearson that the validity of any scaled score obtained as a result from a non-standard administration should be interpreted with caution, it is the responsibility of the individual administering the test to ensure that the results of the assessment are an accurate reflection of the examinee's abilities. Delivering our assessments via a teleconference or other similar method is a reproduction of our assessments under copyright law that requires the written permission from the copyright owner.  If done without our written permission, such acts may be an infringement of the assessment's copyright.

 

Litigation

Pearson understands that from time to time you may receive demands from third parties to reproduce, produce or disclose copyright-protected and/or trade secret protected psychological test materials in connection with litigation.  If such demands were to be fully complied with, the material disclosed might include test booklets, answer sheets, record forms, manuals, user's guides, scoring software, computer-generated output reports, or other published and unpublished material protected by Pearson under intellectual property law.

Pearson does not wish to impede the progress of legal proceedings; however, we are equally unwilling to jeopardize the security and integrity of our test instruments by consenting to the release of copyrighted and confidential material to those not professionally qualified to obtain them. Should litigation in which a psychologist is involved reach the stage where a court considers ordering the release of proprietary test materials to non-professionals such as counsel, we request that the court issue a protective order prohibiting parties from making copies of the materials; requiring that the materials be returned to the professional at the conclusion of the proceeding; and requiring that the materials not be publicly available as part of the record of the case, whether this is done by sealing part of the record or by not including the materials in the record at all.

In addition, testimony regarding the items, particularly that which makes clear the content of the items, should be sealed and again not be included in the record. Pleadings and other documents filed by the parties should not, unless absolutely necessary, make specific reference to the content of or responses to any item, and any portion of any document that does should be sealed. Finally, we ask that the judge's opinion, including both findings of fact and conclusions of law, not include descriptions or quotations of the items or responses. We think this is the minimum requirement to protect our copyright and other proprietary rights to the test, as well as the security and integrity of the test.

To the extent that you have not already done so, you may wish to consult with the British Psychological Society, Health and Care Professions Council or your local psychological association.

We very much appreciate your sensitivity to the issues surrounding appropriate use of and access to psychological testing materials. If you have other questions, please contact permissions@pearsonclinical.co.uk.

 

 
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