decisions, but testing can also lead to negative consequences

  • decisions, but testing can also lead to negative consequences, including incorrect selection, overemphasis of tested characteristics, and an undesirable level of employee uniformity.

Many of the unintended consequences of testing occur because tests are less than perfect instruments. Test use can produce both false positives and false negatives. For instance, test results might lead to selection of an unqualified applicant or rejection of someone who would perform well at a job.

Tests also can have biases, with at least part of the score attributable to factors that have little to do with the prediction of job performance. Some people may be good at figuring out the “right” answers on a test, but their skill at test taking may not translate into superior job performance. Cultural differences, language differences, and disabilities may negatively affect test scores without representing actual job-related deficits.

Even if it were possible to find a test that selects individuals perfectly, overuse of a test for personnel selection could lead to homogeneity in the workforce and reduce the diversity and balance that potentially generates creativity and enhances the organizational culture.

Finally, there is a possibility for tests to take on a life of their own, with favorable test performance becoming a more important goal than work performance. This overemphasis on testing can lead to cheating, faking, and a focus on factors measured by tests to the exclusion of other more relevant job goals.

Taking these considerations into account, think about how you would evaluate the outcomes of test use in organizations.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4  how the unintended consequences might be evaluated. Think test bias, its consequences, and how it can be examined.

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