[IPAC-List] Michael McDaniel's Reference to the so-called Validity-Diversity Dilemma

Patrick McCoy Patrick.McCoy at cfp-psc.gc.ca
Fri Jun 3 10:09:04 EDT 2016

Interesting discussion!
A question, if I might. Has anyone seen convincing research that
differences in group test performance are reduced when a test has
minimal time press (i.e., when the time to do the test is generous).
That assumption is often made, but is it warranted?
Pat McCoy
Ottawa, Canada	 

>>> Dan Putka <dputka at humrro.org> 2016/06/03 9:04 AM >>>
Hi Richard, 

I think decisions regarding this matter will vary from organizations,
and hinge on what they value and the resources they can offer to deal
with potential inefficiencies in their selection process. 

For example, let’s say an organization in question places high value on
diversity.  The organization may be willing to sacrifice some level of
criterion-related validity with their selection measure if it results in
bringing a more diverse workforce in the door.  A critic may rightly
argue that using a test with lower criterion-related validity would
lower the expected mean performance of individuals hired.  While that
would be true, the organization could potentially offset the loss of
validity through more rigorous training and performance management
(i.e., a post selection intervention designed to ensure a greater
proportion of the workforce meet performance standards). Of course
adding that rigor may require more investment on the part of the
organization, which they may or may not see as worth it. 

The other thing to consider here is the magnitude of the difference. 
For example, using Mike’s quote as an example, if increasing the time
limit of the test has only a small negative impact on validity, but
makes a more sizable reduction in subgroup differences, then it would
arguably be harder to justify not sacrificing validity in that case.  In
that situation, one might construe the situation as the organization
having a reasonable alternative to their assumed current approach (i.e.,
the reduced time limit) that has minimal impact on validity, but is
better from a subgroup difference perspective. Of course, a challenge in
practice is drawing the line between how much of a drop in validity is
too much, and how much of a drop in subgroup differences is enough to
warrant deviating from the “maximize validity” philosophy.  Though
statistical inference can help here (e.g., non-sig. change in validity,
sig. change in subgroup diffs), I think this is a judgment that will
also vary from organization to organization. 

Personally, I think one of our key roles as scientist-practitioners in
the selection arena is to help the organizations we work with understand
the implications of potential decisions they make regarding their
selection processes.  We can do our best to explain potential options
and likely outcomes based on data, theory, literature, past precedent,
experience, and offer a reasoned, logical opinion, but the final
decision may often not rest in our hands.   


Dan J. Putka, Ph.D. 
Principal Staff Scientist 
Office: 703.706.5640 
dputka at humrro.org | www.linkedin.com/in/dputka 
66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 700 
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1578 

From:    	"Richard Joines" <mpscorp at value.net> 
To:    	"IPAC List" <ipac-list at ipacweb.org> 
Date:    	06/02/2016 08:15 PM 
Subject:    	[IPAC-List] Michael McDaniel's Reference to the
so-called    	Validity-Diversity Dilemma 
Sent by:    	"IPAC-List" <ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org> 

You make the statement that "if job-related reading speed has
undesirable consequences such as group differences, one may wish to
sacrifice merit hiring for diversity hiring and increase the time limit
of the exam." 
I guess the question for those who think I/O Psychology is a science
is... how does one reach the decision to throw the science out and go
another route?  If the result is lowering validity, I'm certainly not
about to increase the time limit of any of my empirically validated
tests.  There would be no scientific basis for doing that. 
I would be interested in what people think about this and how they view
their role and what limitations they think they should observe, but my
view has always been to try to maximize validity while ensuring
compliance with federal guidelines.  Since the 1978 Uniform Guidelines
we've been compelled to look for alternative selection methods, the idea
being that if we can find or develop a test that has the same or higher
validity but lower adverse impact, we should do that. 
However, the idea that we should sacrifice validity in order to
increase diversity strikes me as going too far.  Who are we to make such
decisions?  We're supposed to be scientists, not social engineers, yes?

Thoughts anyone? 
Rich Joines 
Mgt & Personnel Systems, Inc. 
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

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