Maintaining best practice psychometric testing in the age of technology

The last 10 years have seen a steady increase in the use of online assessments. With this growth comes unique questions in how best practice can be maintained in psychometric testing. A key issue around technology and online assessments relates to the impact that various technologies have on accessibility, standardisation, fairness and consistency. For instance, when one takes into consideration the use of mobile technology, how do factors such as screen size, page orientation, download time and input devices, amongst others, impact standardisation, fairness and the reliability of the assessment data.

While benefits associated with online assessments such as increased effectiveness and efficiency, enhanced test security, and cost reduction due to decreased travel time are undeniable; it is vital that questions surrounding these issues are considered to leverage the power of technology while simultaneously maintaining best practice testing.

There are a number of variables in the people assessment domain that are directly influenced by technology. Where assessment tools for years were bound by the restrictions of a fixed format, in most cases presented as a paper and pencil assessment, is it now possible to use the computer to interactively present items to candidates based on the way they answered or responded to items. Computer Adapted Testing is one example of this new trend.

For years it was the responsibility of Psychologists to use their insights to write integrated reports based on their professional judgement and insights. More recent studies, however, demonstrate that the use of algorithms and mechanical data integration is superior than that of judgement data integration (Kuncel, N. R., Klieger, D. M., Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. ,2013).

The integration of data is not the only contribution that technology is making to IO Psychology. It is now also possible to create highly flexible and user friendly reports that describe results in such a way that it can best be understood and interpreted by the targeted end user.

For more about the contribution and interaction between IO Psychology and Technology as well as a discussion and opportunity to contribute to this conversation, we invite you to attend a discussion by Mr. R. Lewis, CIO, from TTS-talent at the 2015 SIOPSA conference. The session aims to explore the implications of various technology related factors that might affect the way online assessment processes are managed. The session further aims to demonstrate how technology, when applied correctly, can make a significant contribution towards accessibility, standardisation, fairness and consistency in online assessment.

June 25, 2015