[IPAC-List] Data Entry Testing

Richard N. Landers lists at rlanders.net
Tue May 18 15:54:57 EDT 2021

Any interest from the hiring managers to build 1:1 work sample tests for these positions instead? Might not be possible depending on the specifics, but if the hiring managers believe key KSAOs are not captured in their hiring process, that is a problem that they may try to solve one way or another (and some ways are much worse). The fact that they are asking means they have already considered asking such questions or perhaps a few managers are already are doing so, and disagreement between managers is what triggered the question.

Assuming you trust your hiring manager insights about the jobs they are interviewing for, what about asking them to build work samples for each of these positions? Asking job candidates to complete a work sample during an interview is less risky than "let a hiring manager write their own math test" or, what I suspect would be more likely to happen, "add math-related content randomly to interviews without telling HR."

The concern that there would be adverse impact is not necessarily a concern as long as the work sample test is truly a work sample test. But if you wouldn't be "checking their work" at all, i.e., without any oversight whatsoever, there's definitely still risk in this plan. I'd just hazard that there's less risk than letting them write a math test.  :) 

(Side note, this is more of a private industry perspective; not sure what would change in public sector, but my impression is that there are a lot more rules! If public sector hiring managers are all strict rule-followers, and you don't need to worry about them going off-script, my calculus here would change a bit...)

On 5/18/2021 1:55:30 PM, Reed, Elizabeth via IPAC-List <ipac-list at ipacweb.org> wrote:
Hi Denise,
Yikes! Just as Dennis and Michael stated, this idea is ripe with potential pitfalls. If the tests are used to make selection decisions and they have adverse impact; problems could arise without validation. Dennis and Michael point out the likelihood of adverse impact with math tests, but I’ve also seen many data entry tests that result in adverse effects on minority candidates.
Too bad you don’t have funding to do at least minimal levels of validation work so that you can offer competency-based valid exams outside of safety forces. I like to give stakeholders alternatives. It’s sounds like the best alternative is to encourage managers to advocate for your team to be funded appropriately. It’s a long-term solution, but at least it’s a solution. The agency may be thinking about the pennies they are saving by not funding you at appropriate levels, but at what cost?
From: Courtney, Denise (DHR) [mailto:denise.courtney at delaware.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 2:23 PM
To: Reed, Elizabeth <EReed1 at Columbus.gov>; 'ipac-list at ipacweb.org' <ipac-list at ipacweb.org>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] RE: Data Entry Testing
Hi Elizabeth!
Our professionally-developed, validated tests are currently only used for enforcement-type positions and for promotional exams. These tests are 100 questions or so, administered by HR staff and reviewed for reliability, adverse impact, etc. The hiring managers in question are requesting to create their own, quick ad-hoc tests to ensure the applicants they are interviewing are truly qualified. These tests would not be developed by HR and no analysis would be performed to see if the test is discriminatory (for example). We don’t plan on validating this test as we don’t have the means or funds to do so. The hiring managers don’t see this as comparable to a correctional officer exam or police officer exam since in their eyes, it’s just a quick test to see if someone knows addition, subtraction, basic algebra, etc.
I hope that clarifies further!
Thank you again.
From: Reed, Elizabeth <EReed1 at Columbus.gov [mailto:EReed1 at Columbus.gov]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 1:51 PM
To: Courtney, Denise (DHR) <denise.courtney at delaware.gov [mailto:denise.courtney at delaware.gov]>; 'ipac-list at ipacweb.org' <ipac-list at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list at ipacweb.org]>
Subject: RE: Data Entry Testing
Is there a reason these tests can’t be validated for the job(s)?
From: IPAC-List [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org]] On Behalf Of Courtney, Denise (DHR)
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 1:39 PM
To: 'ipac-list at ipacweb.org' <ipac-list at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list at ipacweb.org]>
Subject: [IPAC-List] Data Entry Testing
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,
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