The Locus of Control test developed by Rotter in 1966 assesses, in 13 different items, the personal expectations of the tester. The aim of the test, is to determine whether the tester uses his internal locus, or external factors, as the key elements of failure, or success. Normally, a low score (0-5, out of 13) relates to internal locus of control while a higher number points at external locus. There is no right or wrong answer, nor does a low number mean anything wrong. It simply works better for a counselor to identify the client's locus of control in order to direct the therapy session toward the right direction.
The test results of any cognitive and personality trait test do change as the individual develops cognitively, psychologically, emotionally, and socially. This is congruent with Albert Bandura (1960) and his Social Learning theory, which argues that the environment and the individual "cause" each other. The assumption is also valid with Erich Bronfenbrenner's Ecologycal Nesting Model which offers that individuals are molded by a system consisting on:
- the microsystem- the immediate environment
- the mesosystem- the combination of 2 microsystems interacting such as parents/community or family/school.
- the exosystem- the outside environment that still affects the individual (government, service departments)
- the macrosystem- our world, at large.
The ideal scenario in any psychological setting is that these factors influence an individual and lead to maturity of thought and action in a manner which coincides with Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development (1959). This latter theory expresses that the aim of each developmental stage of life is to achieve a goal that will help the individual to fully develop productively. This being said, the chances of the test results of a Locus of Control test will inevitably change from one stage to another.
As a result, experience will dictate whether the locus of control is, in fact, internal or external. Only through experience, as well as through developmental and cognitive change, is that we will understand exactly what "causes" us, as Bandura would argue.