Definition & Overview


A psychometric assessment is conducted to evaluate a person’s skills, personality, behavior, and ability. Its goal is to determine whether an individual meets certain requirements or standards, such as whether he is the right fit for a specific job or position. It involves the use of questionnaires, conducting personality tests, and assessing the person’s educational achievements.

A psychometric assessment test is currently being widely used in a diverse range of industries and settings. It is most commonly used for educational assessment purposes in the academic field as well as for recruitment purposes in the commercial field. For the latter, the test evaluates not only the potential applicant’s psychological capability, but also his psychological compatibility with the position he is applying for.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results


A psychometric assessment is beneficial, and is usually required, for people who need to be evaluated in terms of their mental capabilities, behavior, and compatibility with certain conditions. The test is often used in human resource management, but is also carried out to evaluate psychological well-being especially among those who are suffering from chronic disease or who have experienced stressful and traumatic events.

Some psychometric tests are readily available in a general format that may apply to various situations. However, physicians and companies that require a custom psychometric assessment process can also have one specifically designed based on their unique requirements. The test, therefore, has to be able to extract the most important types of information and to provide relevant information regarding the subject. When used for medical purposes, such information may play a key role in determining the next best steps toward treatment.

All psychometric assessment tests performed are based on theories and principles in organizational behavior to ensure accuracy. Thus, they can help companies evaluate their human capital, build the right team with the right people, and identify weaknesses and areas for improvement. In other words, the said tests can help them find the most capable and qualified people.

How is the Procedure Performed?


During a psychometric assessment, the individual is asked several key questions that are specifically designed to measure specific factors, namely cognitive ability and personality. These questions can be broken down into those that measure:

  • Cognitive ability or aptitude tests
  • Personality traits
  • Diagrammatic reasoning
  • Error checking
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning

Most general psychometric assessment tests involve numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, critical thinking, and diagrammatic reasoning tests. Many commercial recruiters also use tests or questionnaires that measure a person’s ability to work in a team, his leadership potential, his values, and his competency. A lot of commercial recruiters, however, especially those who belong to large corporations, use bespoke psychometric assessment tests that are made specifically for each position that has to be filled. This helps ensure that only the most capable and the most appropriate candidate is chosen for the position.

Several test instruments and techniques are used during psychometric assessment. These include:

  • Stanford-Binet IQ test – Developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet, this is one of the oldest IQ tests used in psychometric testing.
  • Classical Test theory – This refers to a psychometric theory that aims to predict the outcome of psychological tests.
  • Item Response theory – This theory plays a key role in the design and analysis of tests and other psychometric measuring instruments.
  • Rasch Measurement Model – Widely used nowadays as a reliable measurement tool to evaluate a person’s latent traits, such as attitude and ability.

The assessment may also involve any one of the 5 most widely used personality tests, namely the:

  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – This is the most widely used among all standard psychometric tests in measuring various aspects of personality among adults.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – This test classifies each person according to Carl Jung’s different psychological types. It assesses a person’s perception of the world and his ability to make decisions.
  • Five Factor Model – This test is founded on the big five personality traits that make up a person’s psyche. These five factors are conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, neuroticism, and extraversion.
  • Personality and Preference Inventory – This is a psychometric questionnaire that tests a person’s behavior and preferences by asking him to rate up to what extent he agrees with the statements listed on the questionnaire.
  • Likert Scale – This refers to an attitude measurement method developed by Rensis Likert. It scales a person’s responses based on how much he agrees or disagrees with the statements listed on the test.
  • Hyperbolic Cosine Model – This is a psychometric evaluation test that measures and elaborates a person’s responses to individual stimuli.

After the test, the results are compiled and translated into actionable data. For example, when used in the recruitment process, the results of the assessment can sum up the applicant’s job potential, competence, and ability to learn during training. In summary, the testing can predict the person’s ability and potential to deliver and perform. On the other hand, when used for medical purposes, the test results are used as a basis for diagnosis as they can help distinguish problem areas and the appropriate treatment methods to employ.

Possible Risks and Complications

As a type of routine psychological testing, psychometric assessments are completely safe for all individuals who undergo it. Perhaps the only risk that comes with it is the possibility that the results will be inaccurate or will fail to give an accurate evaluation of the subject’s attitude, behavior, skills, and abilities.

In order to ensure that psychometric tests yield accurate results, individuals should be given a quiet and comfortable environment when taking the test.

References:

  • Prigerson H., Horowitz M., Jacobs S. et al. (2004). “Prolonged grief disorder: psychometric validation of criteria proposed for DSM-V and ICD-11.” http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000121

  • Cook D., Beckman T. “Current concepts in validity and reliability for psychometric instruments: theory and application.” http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(05)01037-5/abstract

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