Forum Student Responses

PSYC 502

Reliability and Validity 

Respond to the 3 perspective below with a minimum of 250 words for each response. MUST list references used.

Response 1 (Keaira): According to our assigned text psychological tests exist in order to help us draw inferences about people and their behavior and the validity of these tests hinges on the evidence that can be brought to bear support to any inference that is to be made on the basis of those test results (Urbina, 2014). However, the validity and reliability of these tests, which is the consistency of measure along with accuracy of measures of various aspects of these tests have been quite the fundamental issue. While most assume that pre-employment tests  increases a company’s legal issues, however, in federal court cases involving employee selection pre-employment tests are only responsible for 18% while interviews are 63% of the cases. In regards to the concepts of reliability and validity, validity is arguably the most important criteria for the quality of a test that refers to whether or not the test measures what it claims to measure (Professional Testing Inc., 2006).

While reliability is considered one of the most important elements of test quality that ensures the test measures are consistent, able to be reproduced, and covers the users performance. As a consultant for a company that utilizes psychological tests that are being challenged in court, in order to defend these I would utilize of course would be dependent upon the tests that are given. However, as the consultant I would ensure that company is utilizing the most accurate, reliable, and valid tests that studies along with research are backing. I would ensure that studies had been conducted regarding the tests degrees of reliability, fairness, and validity.

Additionally, along with having a well-conducted job analysis and strong content validity (that is, the items need to have a high degree of “job relatedness”) with good documentation of the design, development, and analysis of the exam to present to the court (Professional Testing Inc., 2006). Also, as the consultant I would ensure that the testing procedures were in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP), along with American Psychological Association (APA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other laws (Professional Testing Inc., 2006). Moreover, I would also be more inclined to utilizing content using evidence based content tests and that would be another principal source of validation along with being used to defend the testing.

References

Professional Testing Inc. (2006). How do you Determine if a Test has Validity, Reliability, Fairness,. Retrieved from Professional Testing Inc.: http://www.proftesting.com/test_topics/pdfs/test_quality.pdf

Urbina, S. (2014). Essentials of Psychological Testing,. Hoboken: ohn Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=1727717.

Response 2 (Cameron): This week’s topic discusses the use of various types of tests for employment purposes, which is often a very important aspect of the hiring process for many companies and businesses.  Testing potential employee candidates is a common practice that can provide employers with tremendous insight into whether the candidate has the knowledge, skills, and other attributes that would make him or her a suitable employee for a specific position.  However, it is essential that the tests that are conducted for employment purposes, are appropriate and abide by the established laws and guideline, as to not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, etc, and which also prove to be valid and reliable measures for the situation at hand.

In acting as a consultant for a company that uses psychological testing to predict the performance and suitability of potential employees, as presented in this week’s scenario, there are some relevant aspects I would use to support and defend the use of testing practices for the company.  First, it would be important to point out the reasons for using tests for the decision making process, and why our company feels that it is a necessary strategy.  I would also discuss the types of tests and tools the company utilizes, the specific reasons why we use those particular tests, and the specific aspects we assess in our testing process.  I would further emphasize that all of our tests comply with all laws and guidelines pertaining to employment testing, and that all of our tests are administered, and assessed by properly trained professionals.  I would also point out that our company’s tests have been proven to meet all reliability and validity guidelines, as the consistently measure the characteristics specific to the job.

Since our company’s goal is to determine which applicants will likely perform the best and fulfill the complex requirements specific to the job presented, administering a cognitive ability test for example, may help us gain important insight into whether or not the applicant has the logic and reasoning abilities necessary for that occupational role.  It is also important to ensure that the tests given have strong validation support, in that the methods utilized have the ability to demonstrate content, criterion, and construct validity, depending on, or specific to the traits and skills required for the job itself, and that the tests used have acceptable reliability estimates.  This helps us to identify the applicants that demonstrate the characteristics necessary to fulfill a particular position, as well as a reliable indication of their future performance.

Response 3 (Remington): If I was charged with defended a psychological test for a private company I would refer to the tests reliability and validity in court. Reliability refers to the stability of the test. For example, if a person is given a psychological test within a reasonable timeframe, the results of the test would be consistent. Validity within a psychological test refers to the accuracy of the measurement or measures what the test intends to measure. For example, if a test measures psychological fitness to be a law enforcement officer, then it should measure just that. I would also attempt to show that variables were being narrowly measured and confounding variables were not at play at the time the test was administered.

Psychological testing is not perfect. Any test dealing with something as complex as the human mind cannot fully measure or even consider all variables within human thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. Human beings are always changing. Life is continuous change. Knowing this, psychological tests are an imperfect snapshot of an individual at the time the test is administered. I would acknowledge this limitation of any psychological test before continuing my testimony during a deposition or while on the witness stand in the courtroom.

If I were to defend a psychological test in court, I would also attempt to articulate that the test is not discriminatory. If an individual brought a lawsuit against the company, it could be based on a violation of the equal protection amendment or a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or some other federal protection against discrimination in the workplace. It would be my responsibility to protect the company by showing favorable history of the test results. For example, I would show how the test results were aligned with high performers within the company. I may also display how someone may have not scored high on the test and has had a history of low performance within the company. This would display the test’s validity. I would attempt, with laser focus, on the results of the test and why the company believed the individual would not be a good fit for the company on professional grounds.

Furthermore, I would emphasize that this test has been established for a private company and not as a tool for the government. As such, the private company has the right and duty to protect its financial interests. It is not a right for any individual to be hired by the company. It is the right of the company to administer a reliable and valid psychological test that does not discriminate against any person because of their characteristics (i.e. race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation et al.).

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