PSYC39H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Assessment Centre, Lewis Terman, Sparwood

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20 Apr 2012
PSYC39 Chapter 2
Police selection procedures: A set of procedures used by the police to either screen
out undesirable candidates or select in desirable candidates
- ie. fitness, cogn abilities, personality, and performance on job related tasks
History of Police Selection
- psych involved since early 20th century in selection
- Lewis Terman [1917] > used Stanford-Binet IQ test to assist California select
- personality tests used in mid-20th century > [1940] recruits in LAPD tested
w/ Humm-Wadsworth Temperament Scale
- by mid 1950s psych/psychiatric screening became standard
- 1960/70s major changes to selection procedures in US
o [1] 1967 US presidents commission on Law Enforcement and
Administration of Justice > recommended higher educational req
o [2] 1973, National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice and Goals
> recommended establishing formal selection processes [including
tests of cognitive abilities and personality features]
- slection procedures similar in Canada as US [background, medical,
cogn/personality tests ie. RCMP police aptitude test/6 factor personality Q]
The Police Selection Process
- whether screening in/out approach stages to develop valid process > same
1. Job analysis stage: A procedure for indentifying the knowledge, skills, and
abilities that make up a good police officer [KSAs]
o conducted by organizational psychologist
o formal > use survey/observational techniques
o informal > asking mem of agency to list the range of qualities needed
o ISSUES: KSA may not be stable over time
diff types of popo or policing jobs characterized by diff KSAs
individuals may disagree over which KSAs are important
street-level vs administrative officers
o essential KSAs > honesty, reliability, sensitivity to others, good comm.
skills, motivation, problem-solving skills and team player
2. Construction and validation stage: [1] develop a selection instrument for
measuring the extent that this instrument relates to measures of police
applicants posses relevant KSAs [construction] AND [2] ensure that this
instrument relates to measures of police performance [validity]
o most important is predictive validity > predict future performance
- most serious problem in validation research is how we measure the
performance of police officers > direct effect on the validity of instrument
- no answer for above issue but researchers identify > freq of tardiness, freq of
complaints, freq of commendation, graduation form training academy,
academy exam scores performance ratings [NO consensus on is one better]
- diff pictures of performance can emerge depending on the measures used
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The Validity of Police Selection Instruments
the Selection Interview
- In the recruiting of police officers, an interview used by the police to
determine the extent to which the applicant possess the knowledge, skills.
and abilities deemed important for the job [common instrument]
- semi-strucutred interview > to ensure a more objective basis fro comparison
- qualities may differ from agency to agency
- mixed research on the [predictive] validity of the selection interview
o ie. diff interviewers disagreeing on the same person on one attribute
o low inter-rate reliability
Psychological Tests
- many unanswered questions but generally view that psychological tests are
useful in deciding whether a person possess certain attributes and this can
be used to help select applicants to become police officers
Cognitive Ability Tests
- procedure for measuring verbal, mathematical, memory and reasoning
ability [better at predicting performance during academy than future perf]
- ie. RCMP Police Aptitude test, RPAT > 114 mc Q
o core skills > written composition, comprehension, memory, judgment,
observation, logic and computation
- supported by empirical research
- reason for low validity coefficients may be due to personality factors
Personality Tests
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory > An assessment
instrument for indentifying people w/ psychopathological problems [71%
most often used]
o consists of 567 t/f questions to find > depression, paranoia, schizo
o evidence > significant but moderate levels of predictive accuracy
academy performance/supervisor ratings/freq of disciplinary
- Inwald Personality inventory > An assessment instrument used to identify
police applicants who are suitable for police work by measuring their
personality attributes and behavior patterns
o 310 t/f that measure > stress reactions, interpersonal difficulties, drug
o more predictive than the MMPI
- IPI predicted 3/7, MMPI and SILS only 1/7 > combing both did not improve
over IPI
Assessment Centers
- A facility in which the behavior of police applicants can be observed in a
number of situations by multiple observers
- primary selection instrument used w/I an assessment center is a situational
test, a simulation of real-world policing task , to tap KSAs
- some research suggest that assessment centers do have moderate levels of
predictive validity
- work-simulation exercise >[50mins] 5mins watch instructional video >
exercise has 10 units > each of 1min animation of illegal activity > given
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