There are a wide range of factors involved in deciding whether to use a particular assessment or not. Key factors that should be considered include:
- the purpose for which the tests are being used
- Users Knowledge of typical items, quantity and range of items
- relevance of the test items to the job criteria
- Potential acceptability to clients
- accuracy of the measures (including risks associated with unfair discrimination and test bias)
- costs of materials and other implementation costs
- suitability of automated reports available to audience
The situation is not made any simpler by the impact of personal experience on decision making. Psychometric assessments (particularly more expensive personality questionnaires) are subject to hype and are frequently misused so people can have strong views based on their personal experiences. Against this backdrop there is a compelling need to stand back, examine each specific situation and make decisions based on product research and best practice standards.
Ensuring Assessments are fit for purpose
Understanding the context or rationale for an assessment is probably the most important step in deciding whether it is appropriate to use assessments. In a selection situation the legal environment requires us to demonstrate that the assessment process clearly relates to job demands (content validity). Whether interviewing or using tests the law requires that a robust job analysis should be undertaken to establish the relevance of the particular assessment to the job. A useful tool for considering the relevance of assessment processes to pre-established job demands is the assessment matrix.
Best practice in selecting assessments and designing individual assessment processes requires systematic planning to ensure:
- The need and purpose for an assessment is established
- There is a robust design process involving job analysis,
- Implementation is quality assured for fairness and ethicality
- Impact on different groups is evaluated on an ongoing basis.
These are the principles at the heart of the British Psychological Society accreditation process for test users which this course follows.