Chapter 5: How to Select Tests-Standards for Evaluating Tests

Previous chapters described a number of types of personnel tests and procedures and use of assessment tools to identify good workers and improve organizational performance. Technical and legal issues that have to be considered in using tests were also discussed. In this chapter, information and procedures for evaluating tests will be presented.

Chapter Highlights

  1. Sources of information about tests
  2. Standards for evaluating a test-information to consider to determine suitability of a test for your use
  3. Checklist for evaluating a test.
Principle of Assessment: Use assessment instruments for which understandable and comprehensive documentation is available.

Sources of information about tests

Many assessment instruments are available for use in employment contexts. Sources that can help you determine which tests are appropriate for your situation are described below.The MMY series covers nearly all commercially available psychological, educational, and vocational tests published for use with English-speaking people. There is a detailed review of each test by an expert in the field. A brief description of the test covering areas such as purpose, scoring, prices, and publisher is also provided.

The MMY is published by the Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. The Buros Institute also makes test reviews available through a computer database. This database is updated monthly via an on-line computer service. This service is administered by the Bibliographic Retrieval Services (BRS).

If you are considering hiring a consultant, it is important to evaluate his or her qualifications and experience beforehand. Professionals working in this field generally have a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology or a related field. Look for an individual with hands-on experience in the areas in which you need assistance. Consultants may be found in psychology or business departments at universities and colleges. Others serve as full-time consultants, either working independently, or as members of consulting organizations. Typically, professional consultants will hold memberships in APA, SIOP, or other professional organizations.

Reference libraries should contain the publications discussed above as well as others that will provide information about personnel tests and procedures. The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures can also help you evaluate a test in terms of its development and use. In addition, these publications indicate the kinds of information a good test manual should contain. Carefully evaluate the quality and the suitability of a test before deciding to use it. Avoid using tests for which only unclear or incomplete documentation is available, and tests that you are unable to thoroughly evaluate. This is the next principle of assessment.

Standards for evaluating a test-information to consider to determine suitability of a test for your use

The following basic descriptive and technical information should be evaluated before you select a test for your use. In order to evaluate a test, you should obtain a copy of the test and test manual. Consult independent reviews of the test for professional opinions on the technical adequacy of the test and the suitability of the test for your purposes.

Checklist for evaluating a test

A document by the:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration