Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

made for possible inter-respondent differences in validity. (This will be the subject of a later paper.) Consequently, these findings do not reject the possibility of developing empirically a more effective ERQ built around other types of items.


7. The Validation of Tests*

Edward N. Hay

LET US BEGIN with an understanding of what validity is. A test is valid if it will actually measure the thing which it is supposed to measure. An arithmetic test is a measure of how much you know about arithmetic. In this case the validity is quite obvious. This is because the test contains exactly the same kinds of items that were in your course in arithmetic. When you come to tests of mechanical or clerical "aptitude," however, the situation is not so clear. To begin with, you need to be sure you know what "aptitude" is and what relation it bears to success in your business.

After all, the only purpose of testing job applicants is to try to improve your chances of getting the best ones. "Best ones" means those who, after employment, prove to be the best workers. In other words, the test should predict which applicants will become the best workers after a period of training and experience. Consequently, a test is valid if it is efficient in prediction. Or, it is more accurate to say that a test is valid to the extent that it will predict who will be the better workers.

It is essential that any test which you use eventually be validated in the situation in which you use it. It may well be that a test will be valid for another employer but not for you, perhaps because of differences in the type of work you do. This article is based on the assumption that you wish to validate tests which you are using in order to make certain that they are actually "doing the job" in your employment office. This is, of course, a very practical problem. While there is some assurance that the test will be valid for you if your conditions are like those of the employment office in which the test was first developed, you can never be sure. Consequently, sooner or later, you must face the problem of whether the test is in fact valid for you.


SUGGESTIONS FOR TESTING

Before getting more deeply into our subject of validation it might be well to review briefly some of the considerations that should be kept in

____________________
*
From Personnel, Vol. 29, 1953, pp. 500-507.

-44-

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