The role of the Psychometrist in unsupervised online assessments

Over the past 15 years, the use of online unsupervised occupational assessments have become the norm. This growth has been mostly due to advances in testing technology and the benefits of convenience and choice that this brings for organisations and individuals. Despite this growth, the training of psychometrists is still largely based on procedures and best practice guidelines written for supervised testing. 

This lack of training often leaves psychometrists unprepared to deal with the practical and ethical challenges of online assessments.

For most part, the role of the psychometrist in supervised contexts has been to ensure best practice through the control of assessments and the communication of related information such as the reading of test instructions, providing information about confidentiality, facilitating the signing of informed consent, ensuring the security of test materials, as well as ensuring standardisation and fairness. In addition, most of the focus has been on the assessment methods itself, while the larger role of the assessments in the talent decision process has been less relevant.

The technological advancement of online assessments have brought about a shift in the role of the psychometrist as the assessment environment does not require control and communication in the same way. Where psychometrists provided this during the pre-assessment stage and during the test session, these processes are now driven by technology. The management and control of the assessment process for the psychometrist now sits with ensuring good upfront communication with the candidate such as informing them of what to expect during testing; providing orientation to the nature of the assessment such as that it is completed on the computer; ensuring that the technology being used such as test links work efficiently; ensuring that test links sent to candidates are secure links to ensure test security; providing a support service in the case that a candidate is unable to login to the system; developing strategies to encourage completion of all tests that form part of the test battery as well as monitoring progress on test completion, amongst others. This valuable role that the psychometrist occupies in unsupervised online assessments is often unknown and requires further unpacking in order to ensure that occupational assessments are used ethically in technology driven contexts.

For a full discussion and opportunity to contribute to this conversation we invite you to attend a master class by Mr. Fred Guest, Managing Director from TTS-talent at the 2015 SIOPSA conference. This session aims to provide practical, day-to-day guidelines that psychometrists can use to enhance the ethical and efficient implementation of online unsupervised assessment practices. The session additionally aims to highlight the differences between supervised and unsupervised assessment contexts; explore the ethics and practical implications of these differences; and provide practical guidelines and solutions to ensure psychometrists manage the assessment process more effectively.

July 22, 2015