[IPAC-List] Measurement education

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Fri Oct 26 11:50:53 EDT 2012

1) You're right about that, Jeff. Nice to see some chatter for a

2) Great comments all round. I like David's examples.

3) When people are promoted, they move to a different role, not simply
a higher standard of behaviour. When supervisors think they see
appropriate potential in certain candidates that goes "under-endorsed"
by test results, their working assumption is that the test is the
problem, their focus being on false positives, which they treat as false
alarms (pardon the firefighting pun). But that assumption is based on
what they believe they have already seen from some candidates, and have
not seen YET from others.

Not to suggest that the tests lack validity, but people can surprise
you. They can rise to the occasion, when placed in a role they may not
have had before. Do the particular tests predict that well? I don't
know, but the managers in this instance may well be treating the
surprising ranking of some individuals on the selection tests as false
*positives*, neglecting that their informal observation of those same
candidates may well be a false *negative*.

It may well be that the tests are inappropriately chosen or weighted,
that the conceptual space being considered for the job is much larger
than what the assessment tools measure, that there is bias in managers'
beliefs or perceptions of some candidates. It could be a lot of things.
All should be considered, including the possibility that the tests are
able to identify things that managers have not yet seen.

Mark Hammer


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