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Psychological Testing and Assessment Book Cover
Psychological Testing and Assessment: An Introduction To Tests and Measurement, 5/e
Ronald Jay Cohen
Mark Swerdlik

Assessment, Careers, and Business

Discussion Questions


Share your experiences with any of the tests discussed in this chapter, such as vocational interest and aptitude tests used as part of the vocational guidance process.


Has any class member been in an employment situation that has used portfolio, performance, or physical tests in the selection process? The instructor can share personal experiences relating to these assessment approaches and if they are used in the selection or evaluation process for college professors in their department.


As a follow-up to the discussion on the use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, inquire if any members of the class has ever been administered this test. For what purposes, and how were the results used?


Have any class members had experience with an assessment center? If so, ask them to describe their experiences.


What method was used to construct the Strong Interest Inventory? Has it "kept up with the times"? Have any students had experience with this test? If so, ask them to share their reactions and how the test results were used.


As a follow-up to the chapter Close-Up on Validity Generalization and the GATB, discuss the concept of "validity generalization" and how it relates to personnel selection. What are its implications for personnel directors? The implications for society at large?


Differentiate the terms selection, classification, and placement. What types of measurement instruments are used as part of each of these functions? Give specific examples of each term.


Have any students had any experience with application forms? Did they meet the criteria specified in the chapter?


Discuss the advantages and limitations of letters of recommendation. Discuss how they have been used in employee selection for jobs students have applied for. What screening approaches have been combined with letters of recommendation?


Divide students into smaller discussion groups and ask them to develop performance samples for jobs other than those discussed in the chapter–for example, college instructor, clerk at the student bookstore, food service worker, and department office secretary. Students can select jobs in which they are currently employed. What approaches would they recommend for screening, classification, and placement of workers for these positions? Would they make use of drug testing and integrity tests? If so, based on the cases presented in the text, would their use be legal?


How can personality tests complement the use of aptitude and interest inventories (in personnel and career decision making)?


Why are measures of aptitude (e.g., GATB) important in career and personnel decisions? How are they used? How can they be most effective and useful?


What types of gender differences have been found in large-scale studies of particular vocational interest and aptitude inventories/tests? Do these differences challenge the reliability and validity of the tests? Do they raise the issue of whether or not the tests are biased? Encourage students to refer back to previous discussions of test bias in the course.


Discuss the relationship between productivity, motivation, attitude, and culture. Why are I/O psychologists interested in these constructs? Describe assessment approaches for job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational culture.


What is the reliability and validity evidence for "integrity tests"? Have any students taken a drug test and/or integrity tests? How were the tests conducted? Discuss reactions to this practice. Discuss issues related to the reliability and validity of this practice.


What are the different approaches to managerial selection? What does the research suggest about factors that influence the decision to employ an individual at the managerial level?


Discuss the concept of "race norming." What are the advantages and limitations of this concept?


Discuss the mandates relating to the application process that are included in the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Discuss the concept of "burnout" and its measurement. Why is it important to assess this syndrome?


As a means of entering the world of consumer psychology, why not try your hand at conducting a "mini" focus group. Videotape a television commercial, or simply clip a print ad and bring it to a class session. Now you are the moderator and your class is the group of respondents; you'll want to probe what the group is thinking and feeling about the ad and exactly what effect the ad appears to be having. For example, if it's a television commercial for a soft drink, are the people pictured in the commercial the kind of people the students would like to have a soft drink with? If it's a radio commercial, do the students think it would have the "stopping power" to break through the clutter of commercials on the radio and make them stop and listen? What about a print ad; if they saw it in the newspaper or magazine, would they attend to it or just keep turning pages? And most important, this exercise should stimulate some class discussion as to (1) why advertising works or fails to work, and (2) the methods by which the success or failure of advertising can best be assessed.


How does the measurement of attitudes in consumer psychology compare/contrast with the measurement of attitudes in clinical, counseling, educational, and personnel psychology? How are they similar, and how are they different? Students should cite specific examples of each.


What tools are used in research on consumer behavior? What measurement principles/issues must be kept in mind?


Discuss any personal experiences you've had with any of the tools of marketing research discussed in the chapter (e.g., mall intercept, mail or telephone interviews, focus groups, in-depth interviews). What were your impressions of the methods from a psychometric point of view (e.g., was it a good or poor survey)? How might it have been improved?


What is a focus group? Discuss its advantages and disadvantages for consumer assessment.


Compare and contrast the three different types of survey techniques: face-to-face, telephone, and mail. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? What specific factors might make one technique more appropriate than another? Cite examples.


As a part-time job, has any student had any experience with consumer assessments by conducting telephone surveys or face-to-face interviews? If so, ask them to share their experiences.