[IPAC-List] How leery should I be?

Jason Bowling jbowling at ssvec.com
Thu Feb 17 18:28:35 EST 2011


Kevin's question regarding the delineation between tests needing validation and other instruments perhaps not needing it reminded me of an issue that has me a bit concerned.

So, the question would be: when does a test become a selection pressure?

An engineering manager has a team of 5 field staking technicians. All perform nearly identical work with any significant variation only a side-effect of the geographic areas they serve.

The engineering manager is considering the need for a "lead" field staking technician to provide closer oversight to the group.

As part of the decision making process for this, the manager would like to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities of his current staff of technicians. His plan to accomplish this is to develop a test (paper? Practical? Unknown currently). He *SAYS* the test is only to assess current skill, and if all field technicians have superb skill, then he will be less inclined to push for a "lead" position... (note: only less inclined; he may still want it.)

So, I suppose my concerns with this are:

1. If we do open a "lead" position, then I am certain he will want to use the test results to help determine to whom the job should be awarded. (I know I certainly would.) However, he is not necessarily looking for a validated instrument to assess their skill at this point. In fact he doesn't really want me to go through the process of ensuring the validity of the test he develops.
2. I also have a hard time with the question: Why are we not assessing KSAs at the employee performance appraisal? That is, shouldn't we already know employee KSAs (arguably better) based on their work performance than based on the results of an artificially created test environment?
3. The department already suffers a bit of a morale issue. I don't imagine a bit of surprise test anxiety would be helpful in that regard.

Am I overly concerned or right to point out the potential for red flags?

I appreciate any input.

Best regards,


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