Information about psychological tests
A psychological test is designed to gather information from a candidate to help predict their capability and suitability for a particular job and/or organisation. Psychological tests have been developed by statistical means to ensure their accuracy, reliability and validity. Psychological or psychometric tests aim to maximise objectivity by standardising test conditions, instructions, time, content, scoring and interpretation. There are three main types of psychological tests that SHK uses for executive recruitment and selection. These are
1. Ability tests: a test of maximum ability.
There are different types of ability tests:
• Attainment tests: designed to assess the results of formal education and training. For example, verbal reasoning and verbal critical reasoning.
Also referred to as behaviour style questionnaires, personality questionnaires aim to understand an individual’s typical way of responding to their environment. In employment and career based testing, we tend to restrict the line of questioning as well as the interpretation to how the individual is likely to respond to their work environment in terms of how they relate with others, their approach to key tasks, motivators, their thinking style and problem solving style.
Norms are data that will inform us of how other people have performed in a test. In a norm-referenced test, a score of say, 20 out of a possible 40 does not have a lot of meaning. This result could be very good if the test was very difficult or quite poor if the test was relatively easy.
To help provide more meaningful information, we compare a candidate’s raw score of 20 against those obtained from an appropriate reference group. This group is known as a norm group, and test norms refer to the data representing the norm group’s performance on test. This way, we can interpret results by saying “this candidate’s verbal skills are better than expected from the average Australian adult or Australian Manager”, or “this candidate’s conceptual reasoning ability is lower than what we would expect from the average Australian Manager”.
All ability tests recommended by SHK are norm-referenced. Scores are judged against the scores gained from a relevant comparison group. Using a normal distribution curve, most people in a norm group will return results in the average range, and fewer will return results on either side of the curve.
Percentiles are used to express a candidate’s result after it has been compared against a norm group. A percentile rank represents the percentage of the norm group a raw score comes above. For example, the 90th percentile is better than 90% of the people in the norm group or can be described as a result that falls in the top 10% of the norm group.
Percentiles are an example of ordinal measurement. This means that they provide an indication of rank order. The key advantage of using percentiles in psychological testing is that they are easily obtained and understood. They are probably the most common norm system used to evaluate ability test results and make sense when used in a career coaching and management scenario.