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Chapter 4

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Psychology 2660A/B
Natalie J Allen

Chapter 4: Predictors – Psychological Assessments  Predictor – any variable used to forecast a criterion Assessing the quality of predictors  Psychometric – literally, the measurement (“metric”) of properties of the mind (“psychic”) – it is the standard used to measure the quality of psychological assessments  If a predictor is not both reliable and valid, it is useless  Reliability o Refers to consistency and stability o Reliability – the consistency, stability, or equivalence of a measure o A measure should yield the same estimate on repeated use if the measured trait hasn’t been changed o Test-retest reliability  Reveals the stability of test scores upon repeated applications of the test  Simplest assessment of a measuring device’s reliability  Measure something at 2 different times and compare scores  Coefficient of stability: the higher, the more reliable the scores (~.70 = acceptable)  The shorter the interval between two tests, the higher the test-retest reliability coefficient o Equivalent-form reliability  Reveals the equivalence of test scores between two versions or forms of the test  Two forms of a test which measure the same attribute given to an individual – researcher correlates the two  Correlation of equivalence  Least popular – it’s hard to make two different tests for the same thing o Internal-consistency reliability  Reveals the homogeneity of the items comprising a test  Split-half reliability – test is given and then scored twice, once for the odd numbers and once for the even – correlate the two  The longer the test, the greater its reliability  Cronbach’s alpha or Kuder-Richardson 20 (KR20) – each test item is a minitest – the response to each item is correlated with the response to every other item  Homogeneous test = similar item content = high internal consistency reliability coefficient  Used frequently o Inner-rater reliability  Reveals the degree of agreement among the assessments of two or more raters  Conspect reliability  Used frequently  Validity o Refers to accuracy o Reliability is inherent in a measuring device; validity depends on the use of a test o Validity – a standard for evaluating tests that refers to the accuracy or appropriateness of drawing inferences from test scores o It’s not “valid/not valid” – it can range from “not valid” to “highly valid” o Construct validity  Construct validity – the degree to which a test is an accurate and faithful measure of the construct it purports to measure  Convergent validity coefficients – reflect the degree to which the scores from our new test of intelligence (for ex.) and the existing measures of intelligence converge in assessing intelligence  Divergent validity coefficients – reflect the degree to which scores from two tests that shouldn’t correlate diverge from each other in assessing unrelated concepts  Tests with high construct validity = most freq used, most widely accepted  Only linkage tested: measure of construct 1  measure of construct 2 o Criterion-related validity  Criterion-related validity – degree to which a test forecasts or is statistically related to a criterion  Concurrent validity – used to diagnose the existing status of some criterion  No time interval between collecting the predictor and criterion data  Predictive validity – used to forecast future status  Determines whether there is a relationship between predictor scores and criterion scores based on a sample of employees for whom we have both set of scores  Validity coefficient – reveals the degree of association between two variables  Desired range: .30 - .40 o Content validity  Content validity – degree to which subject matter experts agree that the items in a test are a representative sample of the domain of knowledge the test purports to measure  Degree to which a predictor covers a representative sample of the behavior being assessed  More scientifically relevant  No correlation coefficient, but uses subject matter experts test questions and is revised until it has a high content validity  Face validity – the appearance that items in a test are appropriate for the intended use of the test by the individuals who take the test  More practically relevant  Content validity > face validity  Content matched tests did not result in higher criterion-related validity coefficients than did tests that did not match the content of the job Predictor development  I/O psychologists have developed a broad array of predictor measures designed to help us make decisions (e.g. hire or not hire) about individuals – these predictor measures are classified on two dimensions: 1. Whether the predictor seeks to measure directly the underlying psychological construct in question OR whether it seeks to measure a sample of the same behavior to be exhibited on the job  Behavioral sampling: samples the types of behavior exhibited on the job – lacks the breadth of coverage of a paper-and-pencil test – doesn’t measure if they could eventually learn this task with proper training 2. Whether they seeks to measure something about the individual currently or something about the individual in the past  Job interviews, letters of recommendation  Measure past, current, and predict future behaviors Psychological tests and inventories  Inventory – method of assessment in which the responses to questions are recorded and interpreted but are not evaluated in terms of their correctness, and in a vocational interest inventory o No right or wrong answer (as compared to tests where there are right or wrong answers) Types of tests  Speed versus power tests o Speed tests – a type of test that has a precise time limit; a person’s score on the test is the number of items attempted in the time period  Large number of easy questions; always will get them right  Total score is the number of items answered  Reflects speed of work o Power tests – a type of test that usually does not have a precise time limit; a person’s score on the test is the number of items answered correctly  Difficult questions; cannot get them all right  No time limit (unless for the convenience of tester)  Total score is number of q’s answered correctly  Individual versus group tests o Individual tests – a type of test that is administered to one individual test taker at a time  Uncommon because time consuming  Administrator must play an active role (asking q’s, demonstrations, etc) o Group tests – type of test that is administered to more than one test taker at a time  Most common  No active participation by administrator is required  Ex. Army alpha and army beta tests  Time and cost efficient  Paper-and-pencil versus performance tests o Paper-and-pencil tests – a method of assessment in which the responses to questions are recorded on a piece of paper  Most common in business and education  Answers in MC or essay form  Doesn’t test physical ability o Performance test – type of test that requires the test taker to exhibit physical skill in the manipulation of objects  Manipulate objects/equipment  Ex. Typing test, or test of finger dexterity o Driving license needs both written and performance test Sources of information about testing  Mental measurements yearbooks (MMY) – a classic set of reference books in psychology that provide reviews and critiques of published tests in the public domain o Most important source of info about testing Test content  Intelligence tests o Intelligence or cognitive ability = most heavily researched construct in all of psychology o General mental ability (g) – predictive of success in most jobs  General level of intellectual ability o Criterion-related validity of g is impressive – range: .40 - .60 o g is to psychology what carbon is to chemistry o g is a ubiquitous predictor of a wide variety of performance criteria o But this is oversimplification of the complexity of intelligence o The controversy regarding the assessment of intelligence rests primarily on the adequacy of measuring g only or assessing multiple cognitive abilities in forecasting job behavior  Current research: measuring g = superior predictive accuracy in future job performance o Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence:  Academic intelligence – what intelligence tests typically measure; fluency with words and numbers  Practical intelligence – everyday world competence; not highly related to academic intelligence  Creative intelligence – ability to create novel and appropriate/useful work; writing, art, advertising o Concept of practical intelligence is intended to complement, rather than to contradict, the narrower views of g-based theories of intelligence  Mechanical aptitude tests o Require a person to recognize which mechanical principle is suggested by a test item o Highly predictive of performance in manufacturing/production jobs o Women generally perform worse  Personality inventories o Do not have right or wrong answers o Items are scores according to a predetermined key such that responding one way or another to an item results in a higher or lower score on a particular scale o Big 5 theory of personality – defines personality in terms of five major factors: 1. Neuroticism – the person’s characteristic level of stability vs instability 2. Extraversion – tendency to be sociable, assertive, active, talkative, energetic, and outgoing 3. Openness to experience – the disposition to be curious, imaginative, and unconventional 4. Agreeableness – disposition to be cooperative, helpful, and easy to get along with others 5. Conscientiousness – disposition to be purposeful, determined, organized, and controlled o Extraversion is a valid predictor of performance in jobs that involve social interactions o Conscientiousness shows consistently high correlations with job performance criteria for all jobs and across cultures o Intelligence reflects the “can do”; personality reflects the “will do” o P factor – a general personality factor reflecting the ability to cope o Faking  Socially desirable responses  The behavior of job applicants to falsify or fake their responses to items on personality inventories to create a favorable impression  Unavoidable because job candidates will try to project highly positive images of themselves to hiring organizations  Higher when competition is high and the test is transparent  How to minimize distortion – design tests to reveal distortion, then: o Eliminate those candidates from consideration o Use statistical corrections on the test scores o No q’s that reveal distortion, but the organization strongly warns against giving fake responses  Integrity tests o Integrity tests – type of test that purports to assess a candidate’s honesty or character o To identify people who won’t steal from employer or engage in deviant behavior on the job o Paper-and-pencil tests o Overt integrity test – applicant knows the intent of the test is to assess integrity – distorted responses o Personality-based measure test – no reference to theft is made – personality assessment items predictive of theft o Valid tests o Study of offenders convicted of white-collar crimes: offenders had greater tendencies toward irresponsibility, lack of dependability, and disregard of rules and social norms o Integrity tests effectively predict the broad criterion of deviant behaviors like theft, disciplinary problems, and absenteeism o Self-reported measures of counterproductive behavior were found to be more predictable than objective measures  Physical abilities testing o Increases in productivity and reductions in lost work time and injuries can be achieved through physical ability testing in jobs that are physically demanding o Set of abilities relevant to work performance:  Static strength  Explosive strength  Gross body coordination – whole body in motion  Stamina o Endurance is sometimes the most important factor (performance over time) – ability to lift something heavy and move it around maybe 30 times per hour  Situational judgment tests o Situational judgment test – type of test
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