[IPAC-List] Data Entry Testing

Blair, Michael Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov
Tue May 18 14:16:56 EDT 2021

Denise –

Building on Dennis’s response, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (https://www.uniformguidelines.com/) do not require validated selection procedures to be used. The user (in this case, most likely the agency, the state, or both) is only required to produce evidence of validity if the selection procedure has adverse impact and, by corollary,  the procedure is challenged. This is the stick approach – use validated tests as a measure of protection, in the event the test is challenged. However, from the business side, there is another very good reason to use validated selection procedures – these procedures predict things like job performance, retention, etc.

Basically, I agree with Dennis. My added caveat is that validated tests may end up solving the problem the managers are trying to address. Picking a test of the shelf because it sounds good is just as likely to cause more harm than good in terms of prediction, while also resulting in adverse impact and subsequent challenges.

Michael D. Blair
Lead Personnel Research Psychologist
United States Office of Personnel Management

P: 202-957-5427 | M: 202-957-5427
Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov<mailto:Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov> | www.opm.gov/HRS<http://www.opm.gov/HRS>

From: IPAC-List <ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org> On Behalf Of Dennis Doverspike
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 12:49 PM
To: Courtney, Denise (DHR) <denise.courtney at delaware.gov>
Cc: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Data Entry Testing

Greetings Denise,

Technically, Yes, if the test does not result in adverse impact.

Given at least a math test is likely to result in adverse impact, and also is not a clear work sample, NO. If I was advising you, I would say, NO, that is a bad idea. HR needs to keep control of and validate all tests.

You appear to be at a government agency, so there you may have additional issues related to how merit is defined and what is allowable under civil service rules.

But, summary, Yes if the test does not result in adverse impact, but given at least the math test is likely to result in adverse impact, No. And for practical purposes, HR should always maintain control over all testing in an organization, making sure it is reliable, valid, free of bias, consistent with government and professional guidelines, and for the public sector, union contracts and civil service rules.


On Tue, May 18, 2021 at 1:39 PM Courtney, Denise (DHR) <denise.courtney at delaware.gov<mailto:denise.courtney at delaware.gov>> wrote:

New here so thank you in advance for your patience and assistance!

My question is regarding data entry tests. Can an employer test for skills like data entry or math without using a validated test? We have managers that want to give a data entry test for positions that key in tax forms and another manger that wants to give a math test for Engineering Technician candidates where knowledge of basic math is a job requirement. These tests are not administered/proctored by HR, rather they wish to provide them at the time of interview (almost like a writing exercise).

Please advise,

IPAC-List at ipacweb.org<mailto:IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>

Dennis Doverspike, PhD., ABPP
dennisdoverspike at gmail.com<mailto:dennisdoverspike at gmail.com>
Principled Progress Through People Science

Doverspike Consulting LLC:
HR Litehouse (DBA)
Chief People Scientist
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Stow, OH 44224-0788
Email: dennisdoverspike at gmail.com<mailto:dennisdoverspike at gmail.com>

Dennis Doverspike
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