Yes, just like a sandwich can be made up of many delicious meats, cheeses, vegetables and condiments to suit your taste, assessments are often customized using different item scales that work together to measure job relevant competencies in the best way possible. Generally you will start with at least the basic ingredients when making a sandwich (e.g. ham, pickles, mustard), rather than creating each ingredient from scratch. You’ve had the ham before; it’s quality ham, no need to start raising heritage pigs in your back yard. Much the same way, we often use a variety of item scales (test questions that are grouped together based on a number of characteristics) that have proven to work in the past. So instead of creating a whole new set of questions each time a test is needed, we often use these gold standard item scales to create an assessment that is reliable, predictive, job relevant and suitable for the level of testing needed.
It is possible to create new item scales, and entirely new assessments, but there is a lot of leg work that goes into making sure the assessment is functioning the way that it should. Work must be done to make sure the overall assessment results are predictive of performance, that the test items are not too easy or difficult, that the pass rates are acceptable and that the assessment is measuring what it intends to measure and not something else (imagine biting into your Reuben and finding only bologna!). This is most commonly accomplished through an investigation of how the assessment relates to actual job performance, otherwise known as a criterion related validation study.
Criterion validation isn’t always feasible in every situation, and in those cases it is a best practice to use tried and true item scales and assessments rather than starting from scratch. But even with established scales and assessments you should still worry about the quality of the instrument. Much like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides guidance and auditing around the quality of your deli meat, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission monitors how employers use tests to make selection decisions and they’ve established guidelines that must be followed. At Select we have a research and development team devoted to making sure that our assessments are best in class and meet professional testing guidelines. Our consulting team works with each client to make sure each assessment is set up and used in the most efficient, job relevant and legally defensible way possible. To learn more about how Select International can help you customize employee assessments to best fit your appetite, please (action item).
Author Bio: Amber Thomas is a Consultant at Select International. In her role, Amber provides custom solutions to a variety of industries. Her contributions include project oversight, day-to-day client support, and on-going consultation. Amber can be reached via here.