Best Practice Standards: IPMA-HR Resources

Today, I would like to discuss how IPMA-HR’s assessment resources can be used to ensure your organization’s practices adhere to professional standards of practice.

Adverse impact is at the center of an increasing number of news stories written about selection practices. Unfortunately, a large number of departments and agencies don’t do enough to protect themselves. Over time, HR and assessment professionals have learned that it nearly impossible to eliminate adverse impact within cognitive testing. More than ever, it is important that your organization protect itself in situations where adverse impact may surface, opening the door to possible litigation.

In order to receive our test materials and publications, your organization must have a Test Security Agreement (TSA) on file, designating specific individuals who have direct access to our materials. With your TSA approved, here’s a few places to start:

Free Publications: Do you need to refresh your knowledge of score banding or setting cut scores? Considerations in Implementing Selection Procedures has these and other topics covered. Our Test Administration Handbook is a huge resource that covers the breadth of topics that make up the field of public safety selection and it’s absolutely free to all TSA signers.

These resources are provided digitally, so you can keep copies in a resource folder on a shared drive in your organization or print physical copies for your office, giving you quick access to our material when you’re stumped in the middle of a project. You can even use these free publications as required reading for your junior HR staff when they join your organization.

Free Inspection Copies: All of our tests can be reviewed in full before you decide to utilize them as part of your department’s hiring or promotional process. We offer multiple tests for many positions. You can always request a review copy of each version to see where they differ and how we present the content areas across different series of tests.

Free Technical Reports: Available for review with your inspection copies, the technical report is by far is the most important document that accompanies any testing product. It’s an in-depth look at the creation of each test, including information on the job analysis for the target position and the test development and validation process. When appropriate, fairness analysis information is included in the technical report, as well.

It is important that you review the job analysis described in each technical report. You should compare the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics (KSAPs) that we found to be necessary for effective job performance to those at your own department. While many entry-level positions are relatively similar across a majority of organizations, making this comparison is an essential step in deciding whether our promotional tests are right for your organization’s needs. These positions often differ from one department to the next and you need to make sure that the test you select is assessing the KSAPs your candidates will need in order to successfully perform in their new position.

The best way to review this information is by assembling a group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). These experts might include:

  • Personnel who are currently employed in the target position.
  • Upper level personnel within the department.
  • HR professionals involved in the assessment process.

It is important that the SME group include a diverse sample of employees. More specific descriptions of SMEs can be found in Considerations in Implementing Selection Procedures.

The Subject Matter Expert review is especially important with promotional tests. When examining promotional tests, the SME group should focus on making sure the content of each test question assesses a KSAP that has been identified as important for the target position. Reasoning behind any decisions that were made during the SME review process should be closely documented along with the results of the group’s job comparison.

IPMA-HR’s website also has help videos to assist you in choosing a test, comparing job analysis information and the test review process.  The two videos under “General Topics” contain information on the steps to take to ensure that the test you choose is right for your agency and to ensure that you collect the information you need to backup your decision should the test be challenged in court.

This is just one look into the topic of establishing “Best Practices”. We will be discussing other Best Practice topics over the coming months to help you kick 2012 off on the right foot. We want to make sure that your assessment process is not plagued by litigation and employee malcontent.

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