Dr Vanessa Scherman

The phrase ‘time is money’ is often heard in the world of business, and this is true for psychologists as well. As a field, we are always trying to find ways to do things better, with the emphasis on efficiency. The internet provided a platform for taking psychometric testing into new directions but with this comes the need for the ethical and professional use of the tests and the results generated from the tests (Naglieri et al., 2004).

Online assessments are one way that practitioners regular explore as a possible addition to their repertoire. There are, after all, several advantages namely the cost involved in maintaining testing systems, in addition to standardisation where cut scores can be adjusted (Tippins, 2009). However, there are several challenges as well (Batram, 2009; Mcqueen, 2012).

The challenges seem to relate to measurement and construct equivalence where the question of what is being measured has to be addressed. Furthermore, there are considerations regarding internet reliability that may affect timed tests. Line lag can affect timed tests because loading times are prolonged which may affect tests of power. While the online assessments can be quickly updated, there is still variability in the testing environment such as the sometimes limited literacy levels to make use of e-assessments.

The weight placed on the results of psychological assessments cannot be underestimated. It is thus vitally important that current psychometric standards, namely test reliability and validity, are rigorously interrogated.  The evaluation of the assessments is essential, as would be for traditional assessments, due the number of psychological assessments available online and the sparse information made available by developers. The vital issue of validity must be weighed against the ease of availability, cost, and convenience of the psychological test under consideration (Naglieri et al.,  2004).

References

Bartram, D. (2009). The International Test Commission Guidelines on Computer-Based and Internet-Delivered Testing. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on science and practice, 2(1), 11-13.

Mcqueen, P. (2012). The rapid rise of online psychological testing in selection. Retrieved 31 January, from https://www.psychology.org.au/Content.aspx?ID=4925.

Naglieri, J.A.,  Drasgow, F., Schmit, M., Handler, L., Prifitera., A ., Margolis, A., & Velasquez, R. (2004). Psychological testing on the internet: New problems, old issues. American Psychologist, 59 (3), 150–162. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.3.150

Tippins, N.T. (2009). Internet alternatives to traditional proctored testing: Where are we now?  Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on science and practice, 2(1), 2-10.

Tips for Researchers: Using online assessment in your practice

  • Ensure that the technical aspects of online testing are considered
  • Assure the quality of testing and test materials and ensure good practice throughout the testing process
  • Understand the level of control about delivery of tests, test-taker authentication, and prior practice
  • Ensure the security of the testing materials, privacy, data protection, and confidentiality

Reference

Bartram, D. (2009). The International Test Commission Guidelines on Computer-Based and Internet-Delivered Testing. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on science and practice, 2(1), 11-13.

Share This