[IPAC-List] differential sex norms on physical ability test

Reed, Elizabeth EReed1 at Columbus.gov
Thu Apr 29 14:51:40 EDT 2010

When it comes to physical exams one needs to consider whether you are testing for physical fitness or physical capability. If the job analysis demonstrates a need for physical fitness, then measure of fitness for a women is different than for a man, the same is true of age. As an example, a "fit" woman may only need to do 30 push-ups to be fit for her age, while a "fit" man of the same age may need to do 45 push-ups to meet the same standard of fitness. When testing for physical fitness, the test should be age and gender modified.

By contrast, a physical capability exam, measures whether a person is capable of performing some physical aspect of the job. For example, the job requires the ability to lift a 50 lb object, the need to perform that function is the same regardless of gender. If one determines that this requirement should be tested prior to entry into the job, then the standard to pass should be the same for all. Age and gender modifications would be inappropriate.

I believe the original question was posed as a physical fitness test, rather than a physical ability/capability exam. If this is so, age and gender modifications would be appropriate--assuming of course, that the validation has been properly conducted and demonstrates that the level of physical fitness is job related. For those who may think this would let you off the hook in terms of validation, please think again. If you assume that once you make age and gender modifications there will not be adverse impact, you may find that you are wrong. Note, that I did not suggest norming by gender or age, but rather a comparison to a standard level of fitness for each. Therefore, it does not guarantee the groups women and men who apply and take the exam will equally compare to standard. You may still have an exam that exhibits adverse impact.

Liz Reed
Elizabeth A. Reed
Police and Fire Assessment Supervisor
Columbus Civil Service Commission
750 Piedmont Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43224
Office: (614) 645-6032 Fax: (614) 645-0866
Email: Ereed1 at columbus.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Winfred Arthur, Jr.
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:11 PM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] differential sex norms on physical ability test

i inadvertently deleted the original post but if my recollection of the
query is correct, it pertained to using different male and female norms
for a physical ability test, and the appropriateness of such? if so,
then would that not be subgroup norming, which i believe, is still
legally prohibited, no?

- winfred _______________________________________________________
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