Liam Healy & Associates
chartered occupational psychologists
Psychometric Assessment for Selection and Development
Our expertise lies in being able to carry out an in depth psychological assessment of an individual, and not simply a psychometric assessment. As part of this we provide direct face to face psychometric assessment, either as an integral part of recruitment, or to fulfil a specific client need. A proven part of successful recruitment, psychometric assessment is also recognised as a vital component in improving organisational effectiveness thorough the development of both teams and individuals.
We only use qualified occupational psychologists who, in addition to their professional training, are also trained and qualified to carry out psychometric testing. This ensures that only the highest quality ethical practise prevails.
We use psychometric assessment as an integral part of:
We use psychometric tests to produce in-depth psychological profiles of individuals covering both personality and intellectual ability, from the most senior managerial and executive level positions, to graduate and more junior roles. In addition to being qualified psychologists all of our assessment specialists hold the British Psychological Society's Level A and Level B qualifications in psychometric testing.
How are Tests Constructed?
In its simplest form a test will have a set of questions or tasks for the subject to complete, these are known as test items. Unfortunately, people tend to associate the everyday use of the word 'test' with an examination which you either pass or fail. In the context of psychological testing the tools used are not generally viewed in this way, usually they are more concerned with describing rather than judging a person's abilities or aptitudes.
It is the case however that most lay-people will view the word 'test' with some trepidation and it is difficult to convince them that their abilities or aptitudes are not 'on trial'. For this reason it is important that you avoid the use of the word test wherever possible; use the term assessment instead and describe the tests themselves as instruments. This becomes especially important in the case of personality assessment which is purely descriptive, and where any implication of a 'good' or 'bad' personality, or a pass/fail mark on a test, can prove seriously damaging to the individual. When we use the word test here it is in the technical sense, and not the everyday sense.
All tests should come with information on how to carry out a standardised administration of the instrument as well as its technical specifications. These should always be carefully and thoroughly scrutinised before a decision is made on whether or not to use a particular test. This should include information about the test's reliability i.e. how stable or consistent a measure the test is, and the strength of its validity i.e. how well it actually measures what it claims to measure. The manual should also say something about the nature of the group of people on whom the test was standardised, which will allow us to see how a person's performance on a particular test compares with that of other people. Sometimes information is presented on the performance of more than one type of group - this is because while it would be unfair to compare the performance of a school leaver on a particular test with that of a group of graduates, it would not be unfair to compare their performance with that of a group of other school leavers. Information about the groups with whom the test has been standardised is known as normative information.
The reason we need all of this information, is because the type of thing a psychological test measures, such as numerical ability, cannot be directly observed and therefore cannot be directly measured. Something like numerical ability can only be inferred from the behaviour of the individual and as such is a hypothetical construct.
What is important is that you go beyond the simple appearance of the test items into the technical details of the test construction and rationale. It is unacceptable to simply make a superficial inspection of an instrument's surface characteristics - many of the questionnaires we see in newspapers and magazines with titles such as 'test your word power' or 'how attractive are you to women' (!) seem plausible enough, and if presented in an attractively packaged set complete with manual, might seem to be highly sophisticated and well designed instruments when in fact they are not and only look as though they are.