We receive a lot of queries on which tests can be accessed and used once you have obtained Test User qualifications. Recently I came across a new and valuable reference for identifying and locating accessible tests: the newly published British Psychological Society (BPS) “Tests available to RQTU members.” You can find this on their Psychological Testing Centre here.
Whether you’re an experienced psychometrician or just beginning to work with assessments, this is an extraordinarily useful source of information. A summary of tests that may be used with each of the 3 occupational Test User qualifications is presented, including Assistant Test User, Test User Ability and Test User Personality. A brief synopsis of what each test measures is included, along with publisher details. If you know which attributes you need to measure, options are clearly and concisely listed for you.
More details on the background, uses and psychometric qualities of the tests can be found in the BPS Test Reviews. Full Test Reviews are free to RQTU members. The “Tests available to RQTU members” resource includes direct links to available, instrument-specific BPS Test Reviews. It’s a very easy and efficient system for exploring qualities of any measures you’re considering using.
It is well worth having a look through this test listing. I think you’ll find it a great addition to your psychometric testing resources.
Dr. Barbara Caska
If you’ve yet to complete the training required to obtain BPS/EFPA Test User qualifications, check out our recent blog series on the benefits of doing so, beyond access to psychometric tests. Part 1 addresses lesser know benefits of Test User ability training, while Part 2 covers Test User personality. Selection by Design offers Test User training throughout the year. You can find our training schedule and prices (including discounts for students) here.
Selection by Design’s Test User Personality training leads to specialization in the 16pf®. This is a well-known, defining feature of the course. Our trainees learn to score, interpret and use this test to assist with talent management, employee development and career decisions.
Just as with our Test User Ability training, though, there are gains in knowledge and skills—benefits—that aren’t always obvious. This second in our two part series on the lesser known benefits of obtaining the BPS/EFPA Test User qualifications focuses on Test User Personality training.
Perspective on personality stability and change: Implications for testing
Academic and clinical approaches to explaining personality vary in their views on whether personality remains constant from an early age, or dynamically evolves over the course of life. In the Test User Personality course, we look closely at these perspectives and consider the implications of stability vs. change for predicting behaviour. Deciding how to use the results of personality tests in work decisions depends on which viewpoint is taken. Stability implies that the person hired today can be expected to retain their valued characteristics throughout their tenure. This means that identifying candidates’ personality traits can help in making good hiring decisions. If growth is possible, however, it makes sense to use personality testing in coaching, leadership and team development. For anyone working in these areas, understanding the potential nature and depth of change is essential.
Knowing when to use trait or type measures
Selection by Design trainees have the chance to work with and learn about trait and type personality measures. Type tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® classify persons as belonging to one of several categories. As an alternative, tests such as the 16pf® measure characteristics as falling on a continuum. This means that the strength of a trait is indicted. You can be slightly extraverted, for example, or definitely introverted. As another possibility, persons might fall in the middle and behave as either introverts or extraverts depending on the situation.
Traits scales offer more in-depth assessment than type scales. Trait scores may be justifiably included in selection decisions. Type categories may be effectively used in team building or career guidance. Understanding how these tests vary, and when to use each, ensures that the nature of test results suit their intended use.
How to apply psychology to testing and feedback
The content of the Test User Personality course draws upon the field of psychology when considering individual reactions to testing and result feedback. Knowing how candidates are likely to react to being tested and to feedback on their test scores is an asset when preparing to test. Anticipating and addressing potential problems means a smooth-running testing campaign. Here are a couple of examples of how psychology can be applied to testing:
Example 1. Taking a test: “I’ll make a great impression!” Socially, persons present themselves to make a positive impression on others. Similar efforts may influence responses to personality test questions. Learning about the kinds of biases that may affect test responses, how to detect these and how to prevent them from having an impact is necessary for an accurate interpretation of results.
The 16pf® includes scales and statistics that can be used to detect forms of self-presentation. Test User Personality trainees learn how to use these tools to see if candidates are honestly portraying themselves, and if they are not, how to deal with faking.
Example 2. Receiving feedback: “This is so me!” Adopting a phrase from PT Barnum, personality interpretations can offer “something for everyone.” We are all susceptible to believing vague information about ourselves if it is presented convincingly. Phenologists, tarot card readers and astrologers might take advantage of this, but what about Test Users?
An important part of feedback is verifying test results. This may be done by seeking confirming or disconfirming evidence from candidates with probing questions. Trainees practice using these methods to establish whether test scores really are what they seem to be. The Barnum effect can be avoided, as candidates are encouraged to question their apparent test scores. An accurate and realistic portrayal of personality results.
Advanced feedback skills
Being able to effectively draw together and communicate test results is a must-have skill for those working with psychometric measures. Test User Personality trainees gain this skill through extensive practice in both face-to-face and written feedback, for purposes of selection as well as personal development.
Trainees hone their feedback skills through working with the 16pf®. This test offers many options for evaluating trait and profile patterns. Interpreting and communicating its results can be both intriguing and challenging. Effective feedback requires knowing what information to share with candidates, and how to phrase it accurately, sensitively and appropriately. Learning to do this as part of a two-way communication process is key for effective feedback discussions to take place.
The high level of skill acquired through 16pf® feedback practice has both immediate and long-term benefits. In the short run, trainees emerge from the course ready to start incorporating the 16pf® in their work-related assessments. In the long term, experience in developing and providing feedback for such an in-depth measure effectively prepares trainees for future work with additional, complex personality tests.
If you missed Part I in this two part series on the Veiled Benefits of BPS/EFPA Test User Qualifications, you can find it here.
Have you benefited in other ways from our Test User training? We would love to hear about it in your comments below.
For those yet to complete these courses, last chances for 2017 are offered in November. Enrol soon to secure your place!
We work with many people who undertake Occupational Test User Ability and Personality courses to become qualified to access psychometric tests. This is a clear benefit of Test User training, but it is not the only one. The Test User courses provide a much broader array of knowledge and skills than may be apparent initially. In this two part blog series, I’ll discuss some of these lesser realised benefits of Test User training. In Part 1, the veiled benefits of Test User Ability training are presented. Part 2 will examine the hidden payoffs of Test User Personality training.
Test User Ability (TUA) training provides skills needed to test work-related aptitudes, abilities and career interests. In addition to directly working with these kinds of tests, our trainees gain the following knowledge and practical abilities:
1. Determining if and how psychometric tests should be used in occupational decisions
Workplace assessments should provide appropriate, relevant and cost-effective information about employees. While psychometric tests are often a good choice for this, alternative ways of measuring attributes might also be useful. Our TUA trainees examine various kinds of measurement, and consider advantages and disadvantages of each. Examples include work sample tests, 360° feedback and measures of physical capacity. The potential benefits of combining data from several sources are explored. As a result, trainees know whether and how to include psychometric tests in an assessment campaign.
2. Critically evaluating psychometric instruments
To determine which test is best suited to a particular purpose, evidence for psychometric qualities must be evaluated. For example, if a test has to provide consistent results, reliability needs to be present. Specific types of validity must be taken into account if the goal of testing is to predict job success, or to assess understanding of certain skills. On the Test User Ability course, persons practice identifying and analysing evidence for such psychometric qualities. The result is better informed test choices.
3. Ensuring fairness in testing
Fair testing provides each candidate with an opportunity to have their abilities assessed in a way that is objective and unbiased. For example, a fair test of computation skills should measure only the ability to solve mathematical problems. Performance should not be influenced by testing conditions, language skills, personal disabilities or unjust comparisons with other test taker’s scores. Our Test User Ability training addresses issues of fairness in the contexts of administering, interpreting and incorporating test results.
Related to administration, means of establishing consistent test conditions for all candidates is considered. We also cover how to ensure candidates’ special needs are identified and appropriately addressed.
Towards interpreting scores, trainees find out how to choose appropriate comparison groups to assess candidates’ performance. Without a clear understanding of this process, there’s a risk for discrimination against protected group members. Test scores must differ sufficiently to justify selecting one candidate over another, too. Determining how to establish this is another key issue we cover. Finally, trainees learn how to guarantee test takers rights related to informed consent, data access and protection. Being able to assure clients of fair assessment means testing is likely to be legally justified and favourably received.
4. Best practice in high-stakes testing
High-stakes testing is used to make crucial decisions about individuals. In occupational contexts, this includes candidate short-listing. Best practice ranges from selecting an appropriately secure mode of administration to verifying scores through re-testing. Test User Ability training gives trainees the skills needed to ensure the best candidate decisions are made in these high-pressure contexts.
5. When and how to optimally share test results
Either client organisations or individual persons may require test feedback. Results might be presented through interactive discussion or in written format. Key skills include how to sensitively and accurately communicate test results, at a level of understanding matched to the audience. Trainees also learn how to verify tentative test results during feedback discussions. Cautions surrounding use of computer generated feedback reports are considered as well.
Trainees gain initial experience in developing and providing feedback during the Test User Ability course. More extensive practice is a key aspect of our second occupational course, Test User Personality.
In this blog I’ve highlighted a few of the lesser realised gains from Selection by Design’s Test User Ability training. If you would like to add these assets to your own set of skills, consider enrolling in our next course.
See you next time!
Accurately predicting the future would be a great asset to an organisation. Which new products will be the most marketable? How much should we invest in a new advertising campaign? Is now the time to expand our workforce?
More focused workplace decisions might include: Who will make the most effective leader or supervisor? Is an employee likely to stay with the company on a long term basis? Who can I really count on to help get the work done under pressure?
While a reliable and carefully chosen method of evaluation can be a huge advantage, decisions are often made with an element of “gut reaction”. Sometimes instincts or hunches work out, but humans generally aren’t very good at predicting the future.
An exception to this is found with an unusual few “superforecasters,” as discovered by Phil Tetlock and colleagues. These are individuals who do far better than most of us at making accurate predictions. Why are some of us better at predicting outcomes than others? Can we all become better at forecasting? Are there special techniques or tricks that superforecasters use to better their odds?
In this intriguing National Public Radio (NPR) Hidden Brain podcast, Dr. Tetlock considers these issues as he discusses his research into forecasting the future. Among the secrets to their success, overlooking “gut instincts” in favour of reassessing and narrowing predictions with updated and evolving knowledge is key. Being open to possibilities of “maybe” helps, rather than drawing distinct yes or no conclusions. Application of this research to businesses is specifically addressed in this Harvard Business Review article.
This research has some interesting implications for employee-related decisions. What forecasting traps do we tend to fall into when hiring, promoting or more generally managing employees? How may psychometric measures contribute to effectively predicting workplace behaviour?
You can find out more about using psychometric tests to make decisions through our training for BPS/EFPA Occupational Test User qualifications. We are enrolling now for our September courses.
Additional related resources:
Association for Psychological Science https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/degrees-of-maybe-how-we-can-all-make-better-predictions.html
Tetlock, P.E. & Gardner, D. (2016). Superforecasting: The art and science of prediction. Penguin Random House.