Prof Sumaya Laher

The PsySSA Psychometrics Committee hosted a stimulating roundtable discussion on the need to have effective and responsible test evaluation processes in South Africa. Panellists represented the HPCSA, PsySSA, SIOPSA and the ATP. The panel provided interesting historical background to psychological assessment in South Africa together with an explanation of Section 8 of the Employment Equity Act which talks to the need for psychological assessments to be reliable, valid and fair.

The introduction and subsequent removal of Clause D from the Employment Equity Act was discussed. Despite the premature inclusion of Clause D in the Employment Equity Act, its brief appearance in the Act gave further impetus to the need for examination of assessment evaluation criteria for psychological assessments in South Africa panellists argued. Panellists highlighted that the non-regulatory landscape for non-psychological assessments as also a cause for concern. Together with the floor, the panel discussed possible ways forward for assessment evaluation in the country.

There was consensus that the country would benefit from an independent body to assist with test evaluation processes. The responsibility for this currently rests with an overburdened Psychometrics Committee at the Professional Board for Psychology. A body possibly affiliated to the Professional Board to oversee assessment quality would be useful according to the panellists and audience but the mechanisms by which this could be achieved were debated. The audience emphasised that inclusion and representivity of all stakeholders was core to this process. Further that the process should ideally be digitised and streamlined in much the same way as journal processes are. The Psychometrics Committee hopes to continue the conversation over the coming months.

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