Understanding Discrimination

There are many issues that must be factored in when creating and administering psychometric tests, such as biases of age, gender, different ethnicities, disability, learning disability (dyslexia), etc.  A test must first be valid so as to ensure all the qualities assessed and information gained can be credible in a real-life setting. It must also be clear that there is no discrimination within the test. For example, someone with dyslexia might be given longer to complete an assessment, to ensure that that characteristic does not distort a like-for-like comparison of ability with someone without dyslexia.  Likewise, adding too much time would unfairly discriminate against candidates not given extra time. The test administrator is best suited to advising what adjustments are suitable for different candidate.

There must also not be issues that would penalise those of different genders or age. There have been accusations of discrimination in psychometric testing in the past concerning disability and race; for example, blind applicants taking the test have suggested that the braille used does not give a fair comparison of how a sighted person would take the test. Similarly, people of different races may find some questions or tasks culturally biased, and not have a fair footing to be assessed in the same way. The validation process for the tests should help to stop this discrimination, and as long as the test scores significantly predict the later outcomes in work for the individual, they can be considered objective.

What Is the Aim In Terms of Psychometric Testing?

It is crucial, for any company using psychometric testing in their recruitment process, that there is no discrimination in the tests they are supplying to candidates, as this could result in unfair bias and the best people not being found for the job. For the individual taking the test it is important that they know they have the same opportunity as anyone else of being selected for the role, and are not hindered before they have begun.

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