[IPAC-List] differential validity?

Eric Palmer epalmer613 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 16 12:06:15 EDT 2009

I would say that education as a selection tool is problematic for all groups.  Once you begin mapping out the nexus between essential duties, required KSAs/competencies, and educational background, it quickly becomes difficult to say with any specificity what KSAs/competencies we think a BA or MA provides.  Critical thinking? Reading comprehension?  So much depends on the exact program of study and the individual student.  And of course those same skills can be acquired outside of a formal setting.  If the BA is in accounting, then we might expect graduates to have a firm foundation in accounting theory.  But again, some programs emphasize that more than others.
Where one has to use education as a selection tool (for political reasons?), a best practice might be to use it as an initial screening tool and set the bar very low (even then I would allow a waiver where one can demonstrate how one would have aquired the KSAs).  But an ideal practice would be to simply screen based on demonstrated skills as identified in a controlled testing environment.  If you can find an acceptable way of testing large numbers of applicants for essential skills, then just skip the minimum standards screening step.  minimum employment standards, especially where education is involved, is probably the least valid step in the process, and introduces the most adverse impact.
Eric Palmer
City of Fort Worth

--- On Mon, 3/16/09, Joel Wiesen <wiesen at personnelselection.com> wrote:

From: Joel Wiesen <wiesen at personnelselection.com>
Subject: [IPAC-List] differential validity?
To: IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
Date: Monday, March 16, 2009, 5:26 AM

What do you think of this apparent support for differential validity (from a
recent Personnel Psych article)?

Might it imply that education is problematic as selection tool when the
applicant group includes minorities and/or women? Would it imply that an
education requirement may be unfair to minorities and/or women?


"Finally, Hypothesis 6 predicted that the education-performance
relationship will be stronger for men (vs. women; Hypothesis 6a) and for
Caucasians (vs. non-Caucasians; Hypothesis 6b). With respect to the relationship
between education level and task performance, we found that the relationship was
more positive for Caucasians than for other racial groups and for men than for
women. Further, we found that the relationship between education and OCB was
more positive for Caucasians than for other racial groups. These results provide
some support for Hypothesis 6a and Hypothesis 6b."

PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY, 2009, 62, 89–134
THOMAS W. H. NG; University of Hong Kong
DANIEL C. FELDMAN; University of Georgia

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