Best Practice Series Guidelines for Best Practice in theManagement of Psychometric Tests
Contents                                              Page No1. Introduction                                             1...
1. IntroductionPsychometric tests are powerful tools used by      Tests can be used to challenge stereotypedorganisations ...
2. Why is a policy needed?Use of tests must be properly managed in order       The aims of every organisation in using tes...
3. What should a policy look like?Policies work best when they are brief and          The procedural guidelines put the po...
4. What should a policy include?4.1 Mission statement                                  4.2 Overall responsibility for test...
4.3 Who should use tests?                                including scoring, interpretation, feedback and                  ...
4.4 When should tests be used?                             Tests are best used in decision making, in                     ...
4.5 Test choice                                         Some organisations may allow individual users to                  ...
4.6 Equal opportunities                                Users should take particular care when a                           ...
4.7 Use of test scores                                                     Thought should be given to the integration of t...
4.8 Confidentiality and storage of                        The Data Protection Act (1998) covers the storage    results    ...
4.9 Responsibility to test takers                     After the test session                                              ...
4.10 Retesting                                          4.11 MonitoringAn issue that arises where positions regularly     ...
4.12 Access to materials                              4.13 CopyrightThis element of a policy should cover who can buy     ...
4.14 Computers in testing                                   Where tests are administered remotely via the                 ...
5. Policy managementThought should be given to the implementation               A review procedure should form part of the...
GlossaryAbility test: A test designed to measure a specific     Personality questionnaire: A questionnaire whichcompetence...
Useful publicationsAvoiding Sex Bias in Selection Testing: Guidance For Employers. Equal Opportunities Commission, 1988.Co...
Guidelines for Best Practice in the   Management of Psychometric TestsWhilst SHL has used every effort to ensure thatthese...
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Best practiceguidelines management-of-psychometric-tests

  1. 1. Best Practice Series Guidelines for Best Practice in theManagement of Psychometric Tests
  2. 2. Contents Page No1. Introduction 12. Why is a policy needed? 23. What should a policy look like? 34. What should a policy include? 4 4.1 Mission statement 4 4.2 Overall responsibility for testing standards 4 4.3 Who should use tests? 5 4.4 When should tests be used? 6 4.5 Test choice 7 4.6 Equal opportunities 8 4.7 Use of test scores 9 4.8 Confidentiality and storage of results 10 4.9 Responsibility to test takers 11 4.10 Retesting 12 4.11 Monitoring 12 4.12 Access to materials 13 4.13 Copyright 13 4.14 Computers in testing 145. Policy management 15Glossary 16Useful publications 17
  3. 3. 1. IntroductionPsychometric tests are powerful tools used by Tests can be used to challenge stereotypedorganisations for the selection, development and judgements made by interviewers and oftenmanagement of people. Tests can be used: enable a more objective analysis to take place than is possible by interviewing alone.• to enhance the decision-making process in Occupational tests have consistently been assessment for selection and promotion shown to be better predictors of job success than interviews.• as an aid to management in areas such as motivation and team building Using tests can lead to substantial gains for an organisation in terms of increased output and• to identify development needs, as a basis for efficiency, better quality staff, higher morale, employee counselling as well as in more effective performance, lower training costs organisational areas such as management of and reduced turnover. change or succession planning. When properly used, psychometric testing helpsPsychometric tests provide additional relevant to ensure a common language for assessmentinformation over and above that obtained from standards throughout an organisation, matchmore traditional assessment methods. For people to jobs, identify individual capabilities andinstance, tests aid recruitment processes by predict on-the-job performance.ensuring that all candidates are treated fairlyand measured against a common yardstick. Best Practice Series > 1
  4. 4. 2. Why is a policy needed?Use of tests must be properly managed in order The aims of every organisation in using tests areto reap the potential benefits. If inappropriate different and policy must be geared to the needstests are used, or the information from tests is and structures of each organisation. For onemisunderstood, or even ignored, there will be no company, a central unit supervising all test useadvantage in using tests - indeed there will be may be appropriate. For another, individual testunproductive costs. The management of tests users may be required to take final responsibilityshould include regular reviews and monitoring to for their own test use. For this reason eachensure the organisational aims are being met. organisation must develop its own way of managing test use and formulate a localIn addition, as with any powerful tool, the policy document.potential for misuse is ever present. Badpractice can: The purpose of this booklet is to highlight the areas that ought to be covered in such a formal• reduce the effectiveness of test use policy document. It also provides examples of what policy statements may look like. Readers• cause considerable suffering to individuals are free to use or modify these as appropriate but the statements do not in themselves• damage the company’s image with employees, constitute a policy. trade unions and clients It is beyond the scope of this booklet to provide• lead to contravention of the law and the costs detailed discussion of all the issues that need to and bad publicity associated with litigation. be considered in developing a policy for managing tests. SHL is happy to supply expert consultancyA well-thought out policy on test use will help to services to help organisations create their ownensure that the organisation gains maximum policies for test use if further guidance is desired.benefit from test use and that potential misuse isavoided. It will also demonstrate commitment togood practice.2 > Best Practice Series
  5. 5. 3. What should a policy look like?Policies work best when they are brief and The procedural guidelines put the policy intofocused. Long manuals that lie unread in a drawer practice, and then can, and should, be amendedhave little effect on practice. However, general whenever they cease to meet the aims of thestatements of principle tend to be vague, easily organisation or the policy. The detail with whichignored and provide little guidance for the user. such procedures are specified will depend on the nature, style and needs of the organisation.An effective strategy is to have brief policystatements supplemented with more detailedguidelines. The statements can encompassgeneral principles and are likely to need fewchanges even in changing circumstances. Best Practice Series > 3
  6. 6. 4. What should a policy include?4.1 Mission statement 4.2 Overall responsibility for testing standardsIt is helpful to start with a short generalstatement of aims in using tests. This sets the Test users are always responsible for the waytone and purpose of the document. It ensures they personally use tests. However, in somethat readers are aware of the positive objectives organisations there is a central unit or departmentof the use of tests and the reasons for the that decides policy, oversees practices andexistence of the policy. Otherwise, a policy provides support for individual users. Oftencan be seen as restrictive and bureaucratic, such a unit contains one or more professionalrather than as a helpful guide to doing occupational psychologists. Sometimes suchthings well. units have an advisory role; at other times they dictate procedures. Example In other organisations each test user makes his or We use psychometric tests to enhance the her own autonomous decisions regarding the use quality and quantity of information available for of tests; small organisations may only have a few selection, development and training decisions trained users; large organisations may have many and as an aid to organisational change. We are users in a single personnel department or test use committed to the highest standards of practice may be decentralised. in the use of all psychometric tests, in order to Whatever the structure, the responsibilities and maximise the benefit of testing to the accountabilities of each individual must be clearly organisation and the individual, and to promote defined. It is highly recommended that in large fairness and equality of opportunity for all. organisations with high volume test use, one or more chartered psychologists are available to support the design, implementation, validation and review of test procedures either on a consultancy basis or as permanent members of staff. Example Each test user must ensure that he/she uses tests to the highest professional standards and only in accordance with the guidelines set out in this policy. The Central Testing Unit is responsible for ensuring that all test use in this organisation is in accordance with this policy. Any procedure that will involve the use of psychometric testing must be referred to the Unit for approval before implementation. The Unit will provide guidelines for the use of tests that must be followed by all users.4 > Best Practice Series
  7. 7. 4.3 Who should use tests? including scoring, interpretation, feedback and applications, in addition to Level 1 training, inKnowledge and experience are required to use order to qualify an individual in the use of apsychometric tests effectively. It is recognised personality instrument, such as the OPQ.throughout the world that psychometricinstruments are potentially dangerous in the The BPS Intermediate Level B certificate iswrong hands. Indeed, in many countries only available for those who have completed thisqualified psychologists are allowed to use them. level of training. Further familiarisation training is then required for each additional instrumentIn the UK, the British Psychological Society to be used.(BPS) has defined a set of essential competenciesconstituting a minimum standard for any test user. Level 3: The BPS Full level B certificate isAll reputable test publishers maintain a register available to those with a deeper and broaderof qualified people to whom test materials may perspective on personality and general test use,be supplied. as well as full training in at least two different measures of personality. It is recommended forAccess to materials requires both general training those who have responsibility for other testin test use and often familiarisation training for users and policy decisions. SHL can help thosethe specific instruments in question. Publishers interested to gain the relevant competence.usually give some recognition to training fromother reputable providers. There are several Chartered Psychologists: Professionalrecognised levels of training. occupational psychologists who specialise in testing and assessment have a greater Test Administration: This qualifies the knowledge and experience of the use of tests individual to carry out the standard procedures than can be gained from short training courses. for administering and scoring tests. The BPS Test Administration Certificate covers this level Chartered psychologists have reached a of competence. It does not cover the choice of standard of training and experience required by tests or the interpretation of results. Neither the BPS and have agreed to abide by the BPS does it allow the individual access to materials. code of conduct. Someone trained to this level may only work under the close supervision of a fully trained Qualified users should ensure that materials are test user within the organisation. Some only used appropriately and are not used by organisations rely heavily on test administrators untrained people or for a purpose for which they to relieve more highly trained staff. SHL were not intended. It is also their responsibility to suggests a ratio of one fully trained test user to work within the confines of their own expertise three test administrators to ensure proper and to recognise when refresher training, skills supervision at all times. updates or expert advice is needed. Level 1, Occupational Testing: BPS Level A Example Certificate of Competence covers the basic principles of psychometric testing and the Only trained test users who hold the relevant techniques of selection, administration, scoring, qualifications may use and interpret interpretation and validation of ability tests. psychometric instruments. Trained test users This training course qualifies the individual to may delegate test administration to a person use ability tests and interest inventories. trained in this area. Level 2, Personality Measurement: This covers the theoretical and practical issues involved in the use of measures of personality, Best Practice Series > 5
  8. 8. 4.4 When should tests be used? Tests are best used in decision making, in conjunction with other relevant information. In aTests may be used for selection, (either for promotion decision, test results may be integratedshortlisting or final decisions), placement or with interview performance, track record andpromotion decisions, development, team building, managers’ recommendations to provide the bestcounselling, out-placement and organisational information about individual suitability. Use of adevelopment. It is not possible to discuss the single test result alone should be avoidedconsiderations for using tests in each context in whenever possible.this short booklet. In each case, the situationmust be evaluated to see whether test use would Consideration must be given to where test resultsbe appropriate to help achieve the desired fit into a procedure. Tests may be used forobjectives. shortlisting from a large pool of applicants, to suggest areas to be explored during an interview,There are some occasions where it is not usually or as a final check on the suitability of aappropriate to use tests. For instance, it is unlikely chosen candidate.that test results would be suitable for makingredundancy decisions, since direct information onjob performance should be available.Tests can be valuable in making redeploymentdecisions or in outplacement counselling,however. Similarly, an organisation may want torestrict the use of some tests to counselling ordevelopment applications. Example Tests may be used for selection, development and counselling purposes. Any additional uses should be referred to the Central Testing Unit for approval.6 > Best Practice Series
  9. 9. 4.5 Test choice Some organisations may allow individual users to select the test they want to use. Others mayWhenever tests are used, it is vital that there is a require the involvement of internal or externalmatch between the skills and characteristics experts in test choice. A middle way would be themeasured and the job or organisational demands. provision of a general list of ‘approved’ tests fromThis is particularly important when selection or which individual users could choose thosepromotion decisions are based on test results. appropriate to their needs. This allows an organisation to prevent the use of instruments ofObjective job analysis is the best way to uncertain quality. It will not control the relevancedetermine the skills required for a particular job. of measures - in other words the job analysisThese skills are then matched to appropriate stage will still be required.tests. In large scale testing procedures, it may beappropriate to perform criterion related validation It is important that whenever tests are chosenstudies before test implementation. there is written documentation of the reasons behind the choice. This may include copies of jobTrained test users should have the skills to analysis reports, job descriptions, personevaluate the quality and relevance to job specifications, validation studies, etc. If therequirements of an instrument from the relevance of a particular measure is challenged,information provided by the test publisher in the such evidence supports the test choice,test manual. Where insufficient information is shows the care taken and helps ensure users doprovided, caution should be exercised in the use not take dangerous shortcuts.of the test. Example All psychometric tests used must be clearly relevant to the given purpose. Detailed job descriptions and person specifications based on objective job analysis must be prepared prior to the choice of tests for any selection or promotion procedures. All decisions to use tests should be clearly documented with a copy sent to the Central Testing Unit. Best Practice Series > 7
  10. 10. 4.6 Equal opportunities Users should take particular care when a candidate is not fluent in the language in whichResearch has shown that well-constructed the tests are presented. Actual ability may bepsychometric tests are the single most effective confounded with language proficiency and resultspredictor of job performance. Tests give objective may be difficult to interpret.information about a candidate and have beenshown in general to lead to better and fairer Similar issues arise in the testing of candidatesemployment decisions. who are disabled. In these cases, it may be necessary to adjust standardised administrationTests of aptitude or ability have sometimes been procedures to allow for the disability, as requiredfound to have disparate impact on ethnic, age or by the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.gender group; i.e. proportionately fewer members Changes should not be made arbitrarily as thisof one ethnic, age or gender group do well in the affects test standardisation.test in some cases. In that these patterns exist, itis particularly important that appropriate Test users can call the SHL Helpline for advice.guidelines are followed to avoid improper use of Guidelines for Best Practice in Testing People withtests and potential contravention of anti- Disabilities is also available from SHL to help indiscrimination laws. Considerations of fairness are this process.important in themselves. In addition, there arelegal implications of unfair practices in the Exampleselection and promotion of employees. The organisation is committed to selection on merit and only measures which are clearlyThe main issues concern choosing relevant relevant to job demands and free of extraneousmeasures and monitoring outcomes. A fulldiscussion of all the elements of good practice bias should be used. All assessments forcan be found in Guidelines for Best Practice in selection and promotion must be monitored tothe Use of Personnel Selection Tests, available ensure they do not unfairly exclude orfrom SHL. disadvantage any section of the population. Whenever a disability prevents a suitably qualified individual from undergoing standard selection procedures, appropriate alternative arrangements for assessment must be found. Always contact the test publisher for advice before making any changes to test administration procedures.8 > Best Practice Series
  11. 11. 4.7 Use of test scores Thought should be given to the integration of test results with other relevant information. This isInterpretation of results should be accurate and particularly important where many differentnot exceed the limits of the information. Users assessment techniques are used. The bookletshould beware, for example, of failing to take Guidelines for Best Practice in the Use ofaccount of the standard error of measurement in Assessment and Development Centres (availableinterpreting the difference between any two from SHL) discusses the issues that arise here.scores, or of drawing far-fetched inferences frompersonality data. However, even where only test results and an interview are combined, decisions need to beAppropriate norms should always be used in made about, for instance, whether goodinterpreting scores. Where no suitable norm performance in one sphere can compensate forgroups are provided with a test, further guidance poor performance in the other, or whether someshould be sought from the publisher. Large-scale minimum standard needs to be reached on alltest users should produce their own local norms elements. Similarly, in the use of personalityfor ability and aptitude tests. SHL will provide questionnaires, users need to decide whether aclients with their own norm groups, if data is criterion referenced, “danger zone” or integrativesubmitted for analysis1. approach is to be used.Tests should always be interpreted by properly Exampletrained individuals in the context of clearlydefined criteria. Both quantitative and qualitative Test scores must be interpreted on the basisinterpretation can be used. The former should be of relevant norm groups. Fixed cut-offs mayrestricted to cases where there is sufficient only be imposed where specific evidence ofsupporting evidence. test relevance is available, e.g. job analysis, validation study.The use of fixed cut-offs with personalitymeasures can be particularly misleading, without The interpretation of test scores is inrelevant evidence of validity. Qualitativeinterpretation may be more appropriate in these accordance with the formula, which will becases. Decision rules and their rationale should be amended from time to time on the basis ofproperly documented. ongoing validation results.1This service is currently being offered free of charge provided that permission is given to publish the results anonymously. Best Practice Series > 9
  12. 12. 4.8 Confidentiality and storage of The Data Protection Act (1998) covers the storage results of any information about an individual, whether on computer or in another form. Test resultsTest results, like all personal information, should should not be stored or used without candidates’be stored with due regard to confidentiality. permission and they have a right to seeAccess should be restricted to those with a need information stored or used, or a meaningfulto know and in accordance with what has been interpretation of it.agreed with the respondent during administrationand feedback. Persons who are untrained shouldnot be allowed access to raw data from tests, butonly to clearly described interpretations.Individuals do change and develop and sopsychometric data can become less accurate overtime. Test scores should therefore not be kept onfile indefinitely. The time period for which scoresare valid will differ depending on the nature ofthe measures and the particular use made ofthem. Care should be taken with results over 6-12months old for selection purposes. Little relianceshould be put on results over three years old forany purpose. Example Test results should be kept by test users in locked files. A written interpretation of results should be kept in personnel files and provided to relevant individuals. Results over 12 months old are invalid for selection or promotion decisions. All results are to be destroyed after three years or when the respondent ceases to be employed, whichever is the sooner.10 > Best Practice Series
  13. 13. 4.9 Responsibility to test takers After the test session Arrangements should be made to provideTesters should be honest and open with candidates with feedback on their results as sooncandidates about why the tests are being used after testing as possible. Personality andand what will happen to the results. Candidates motivation questionnaire feedback is critical andshould be offered feedback of their results. will often enhance the interpreter’s ownBefore the test session understanding of test results.Whenever tests or questionnaires are used it is Feedback does not need to be lengthy, indeed withimportant that respondents are given clear a large number of applicants this might be veryinformation about the nature of the instruments time consuming. A face to face interview isand the reason for using them. preferred, but computer generated reports supported by telephone feedback may beCandidates should be given examples of the types appropiate in some circumstances.of tests to be used as well as general informationabout the skills to be tested and practical Feedback should be given by qualified users andinformation about the testing session. This helps should be accurate and open. Profile charts mayto reduce anxiety and allows the candidate to be shown to respondents, but they should not beprepare constructively for the session. It also given copies to take away. A short narrativeallows candidates with disabilities to recognise if summary may be provided if desired. This isthey will need any special arrangements. particularly useful where testing is for counselling and development purposes.SHL produces a series of practice leaflets as wellas complete practice tests, which organisations Computer generated expert system or narrative report writers can support the feedback interview.can supply to individuals before testing, so that Some may be suitable to give to respondents, butthey can familiarise themselves with what is many are intended as aids to interpretation forrequired and prepare accordingly. The use of the trained test user and could easily bepractice tests is particularly recommended for misinterpreted by others. Users should follow theolder candidates, those with less educational guidelines provided by the author or publisher ofexperience and others likely to be unfamiliar with such systems.formal testing procedures. The offer of a practicetest session is highly desirable, and may be aparticularly useful way of supporting internal Examplecandidates applying for promotion. This organisation is committed to dealing fairly with all candidates to be tested. We will beAt the test session open and honest about the use of tests,Make sure all candidates know why and how test provide suitable practice materials and relevantscores are going to be used and who will have feedback whenever tests are used.access to the results. Test administrators shouldpromote a serious but sympathetic atmosphere.It is important to remember that the testingsession will be an extremely important event forthe candidate, even if it is a routine one for theadministrator. Instructions should be clear and notrushed. Administrators should ensure candidatesknow what they have to do before each testbegins and that appropriate accommodation hasbeen made for candidates with disabilities. Best Practice Series > 11
  14. 14. 4.10 Retesting 4.11 MonitoringAn issue that arises where positions regularly Use of tests and other psychometric instrumentsbecome vacant and unsuccessful applicants should be continually monitored to ensurereapply is whether they should (be allowed to) continued appropriateness and effectiveness. Inretake tests. There is no hard and fast rule but an small scale applications, this may amount toorganisation should have a consistent policy. ensuring that the techniques remain relevant toResults can be allowed to stand for up to 12 the job and that up-to-date test versions andmonths. It is not desirable to allow candidates to norms are used. Where larger scale use occurs,be retested regularly unless alternate forms of scores should be monitored at regular intervals tothe test are available. update norms.However, it is reasonable to allow an applicant to Monitoring by ethnic group, age and gender isbe retested where there is evidence that he/she required to identify any adverse impact.might have under-performed the first time, e.g.due to illness. Otherwise, a suitable interval should A validation study should be carried out everygenerally elapse before retesting is allowed. five years or so, or whenever changes in the job or applicant group are such that initial validity could have been affected. Example For selection purposes a candidate’s test Monitoring might be the responsibility of local results are valid for any similar position for 12 test users, or could be centrally co-ordinated. The months from the date of testing. Candidates performance of a validation study requires detailed knowledge beyond that generally gained may be retested after six months at their in basic level training courses. Advice should be request. Candidates may be retested within sought from a competent chartered psychologist. a shorter period only at the discretion of the relevant personnel manager and should supply details in writing supporting Example their application. Test monitoring forms should be completed for each exercise involving test use and sent to the Central Testing Unit for processing. Whenever more that 100 people are employed in a job category for which tests are used in selection, a validation study must be performed within three years from the commencement of the use of tests.12 > Best Practice Series
  15. 15. 4.12 Access to materials 4.13 CopyrightThis element of a policy should cover who can buy Test materials are extremely vulnerable tomaterials, where they are stored and who has copyright infringement. In most countries, theaccess. The security of materials is paramount. reproduction of test materials by any meansFree circulation leads to over familiarity and (including computer installations) without thedevalues psychometric instruments. Responsible permission of the author is a criminal offence,test publishers only supply materials to trained whether or not the reproduced materials are to beusers, who, in turn, must ensure untrained users sold. Illegal copying of materials leads to lack ofdo not gain access to them. standardisation and poor control of materials, and gives respondents a bad impression. Ultimately,Within an organisation decisions should be taken the resulting loss of income will contribute to lessabout who should hold test materials and who new test development, poorer updating services,should have access. It may not be desirable for all or higher prices.users to have access to all materials. Centralstorage can help prevent unnecessary duplication The responsibility for obtaining the publisher’sof materials but may not be practical in permission to install a particular test on a genericdecentralised organisations. computer “shell system” rests with the user, not the supplier, of such a system. The user will be inAn organisation must supply test users with breach of copyright if permission from theappropriate storage space where tests can be kept publisher has not been obtained.under lock and key. It is highly desirable that allmaterials are logged in and out of a test store. All SHL materials, including profile charts andThis helps ensure materials are not carelessly left software supplied on computer installations, arelying around and prevents them going astray. subject to copyright. SHL has in the past actively pursued potential breaches of copyright whereFailure to keep track of materials can be these are discovered and will continue to do so inexpensive where replacements have to be the future.purchased or annual lease fees paid on missingbooklets. Access to computer-based testing Exampleshould be controlled by restricted passwords orother appropriate means. Under no circumstances should any test materials be photocopied or installed on computer without the test publisher’s Example express permission. Computer-generated reports should be used to standardise and support interpretations. Only trained users can authorise the use of computer-generated reports in a testing process. Appropriate reports can be passed to candidates or line managers, but only with the provision of a named contact in case of questions. Best Practice Series > 13
  16. 16. 4.14 Computers in testing Where tests are administered remotely via the internet, test takers should be provided withComputers can provide great benefits to testing appropriate information about the process andprocesses, in standardising administration, help should be available if required. Where testingdeveloping interpretation as well as managing is not fully controlled, interpretation of scores andscoring and handling data. In general, the policy decision-making, e.g. final decisions, should beconsiderations for using computerised tests are supported by supervised testing.the same as for any other assessment medium. Remote Internet-based testing should only beThe test must be appropriate for its purpose. used for development purposes or whenComputer-based administration must still be supported by selected supervised retesting.controlled by a trained administrator. Use of theInternet for remote administration can lead touncontrolled conditions without care.Computer-generated interpretation can aidtrained test users, but cannot replace them. Evenwhen a computer system takes over much of thetesting procedure, its use should always besupervised by a fully trained user. Example Test users must ensure that all test materials are securely stored. An accurate log should be kept of all test materials held. The log should be updated whenever materials are removed, replaced or added to the store.14 > Best Practice Series
  17. 17. 5. Policy managementThought should be given to the implementation A review procedure should form part of the policyprocedure for the policy, to ensure that test users to ensure it remains relevant to the needs of theare aware of the requirements and are committed organisation. This should specify when and howto working within them. Communication is the workings of the policy will be examined andessential in this process. Test users should how changes are to be made.understand the function of the policy in preservinghigh standards.Commitment from the top is essential inimplementing a policy successfully. Managersshould ensure that they promote a supportiveatmosphere towards the policy and activelyimplement it themselves. Example It is the responsibility of all test users to ensure that this policy is applied at all times. All deviations should be reported to the personnel manager who will take appropriate action. The personnel manager will formally review the functioning of the policy after six months initially and then every two years. Suggestions for changes and amendments should be addressed directly to the personnel manager. Best Practice Series > 15
  18. 18. GlossaryAbility test: A test designed to measure a specific Personality questionnaire: A questionnaire whichcompetence such as verbal reasoning or clerical looks at the typical behaviour, interpersonal style,checking. thoughts and/or feelings of an individual.Aptitude test: A test designed to measure Practice leaflet: A leaflet provided to a test takerpotential performance in a given area - usually before a testing session, providing a shortthrough existing abilities. description of the tests to be administered and a few example items.Cut-off: The score on a test that separates thoseselected from those rejected (the ‘pass’ mark). Practice test: Test provided to a test taker before a testing session that are similar to those to beDisparate impact: A selection criterion has used in the session, to allow the test taker todisparate (or adverse) impact when proportionately become familiar with test demands and testfewer members of one ethnic, age or gender group procedures.can meet the criterion. Practice test session: A session where (practice)Feedback: The process of reporting back to test tests are administered under standard testtakers their results. At its best, this is an conditions in order to help a test taker becomeinteractive process that enhances the familiar with test demands, conditions andunderstanding of both the test taker and the test procedures.interpreter about the individual. Profile chart: A display of a number of test resultsInterest inventory: A questionnaire designed to from the same individual showing relative high andreveal the preferences of an individual for different low scores in the different areas and job areas. They are most often used incareer counselling. Psychometric test: A standardised measure of a psychological construct that produces scores whichJob analysis: A structured examination of the are accurate and valid.tasks inherent in a job and the skills required toperform them. Qualitative interpretation: Interpretation based on an integration of the content of a series ofJob description: A structured report of the tasks, results. The meaning of an individual score willfunctions and responsibilities required in a job. differ according to the constellation of all the other scores.Local norms: A norm group (see norms) based ona representative sample of people from the Quantitative interpretation: Interpretation basedorganisation in question, e.g. previous applicants on fixed rules applied to numerical scores.for the same job. Standard error of measurement: A measure ofNorms: Standard distributions of test scores based the accuracy of test scores.on the performance of a representative sample ofa given group. Psychometric test scores are Validation: The process of investigating the extentinterpreted through comparison with relevant to which an instrument measures what it isnorm groups. designed to measure. Often the extent to which test scores can predict current or future jobPerson specification: A structured description of performance or some other relevant criterion.skills, abilities, characteristics and circumstancesrequired to optimally perform a job.16 > Best Practice Series
  19. 19. Useful publicationsAvoiding Sex Bias in Selection Testing: Guidance For Employers. Equal Opportunities Commission, 1988.Code of Good Practice in Psychological Testing. Steering Committee for Test Standards, BritishPsychological Society, 2002.Essentials of Psychological Testing. Cronback, L. Harper and Row, 1990.Guidelines for Best Practice in the Use of Personnel Selection Tests. SHL, 2005.Guidelines for Best Practice in Testing People with Disabilities. SHL, 2000.Guidelines for The Development and Use of Computer Based Assessments. British PsychologicalSociety, 2002.International Guidelines on Test Use. International Test Commission, 2000.Occupational Testing Course Notes. SHL, 2004.Psychological Testing: A Manager’s Guide. Toplis, J., Dulewicz, V. and Fletcher, C. Chartered Institute ofPersonnel and Development (4th edition), 2005.Psychological Testing: A Test User’s Guide. Steering Committee on Test Standards. The BritishPsychological Society, 2002.Psychometric Tests and Racial Equality: A Guide for Employers. Commission for Racial Equality, 1992.Psychometric Testing and Visual Impairment: An Employer’s Guide. RNIB, 2000.Selection Tests and Sex Bias. Pearn, M.A., Kandola, R.S. and Mottram, R.D. HMSO, London, 1987.Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. AERA, NCME, APA, 1999.Towards Fair Selection: A Survey of Test Practice and Thirteen Case Studies. Commission for RacialEquality, London, Home of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Home of the British Psychological Society’s Psychological Testing Home of British Psychological Home of the Commission for Racial Home of the Disability Rights Home of the Equal Opportunities Home of the International Testing Commission. Best Practice Series > 17
  20. 20. Guidelines for Best Practice in the Management of Psychometric TestsWhilst SHL has used every effort to ensure thatthese guidelines reflect best practice, SHL does not accept liability for any loss of whatsoever nature suffered by any person or entity as a result of placing reliance on these guidelines. Users who have concerns are urged to seek professional advice before implementing tests. The reproduction of these guidelines by duplicating machine, photocopying process or any other method, including computer installations, is breaking the copyright law.SHL is a registered trademark of SHL Group plc, which is registered in the United Kingdom and other countries © SHL Group plc, 2005 United Kingdom The Pavilion 1 Atwell Place Thames Ditton Surrey KT7 0NE Client Support Centre: 0870 070 8000 UK BP6 V1 UKE 3208 Fax: (020) 8335 7000