Cognadev

The importance of informing candidates of their rights and responsibilities when undergoing psychometric assessments

By Lauren Davies on February 16, 2016

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In the world of psychometric assessments one of the major issues we face is that of ethical assessment practice. There are many aspects to consider when taking ethics into account including how to apply them with regards to assessments. However, our focus in this blog is about the rights and responsibilities of candidates during the assessment process.

So why is it so imperative to inform candidates of their rights and responsibilities when doing assessments?

  • It is considered good ethical practice
  • It creates an awareness of the fact that the candidate also has a part to play in the process
  • It can make the process a lot more interactive and at times more beneficial for both parties.

In South Africa, these rights and responsibilities are set out by the Health Professions Council (HPCSA). From a global benchmarking point of view it is evident that Professional Psychological institutions worldwide have similar practices. Let us consider the below excerpt of rights and responsibilities for candidates that we should be sharing with our candidates.

Candidate’s rights when testing:

  • To be informed of rights and responsibilities.
  • Treated with courtesy, respect, and impartiality, regardless of your age, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics.
  • Be assessed on measures that meet professional standards and that are appropriate for the reason of assessment.
  • Receive a brief explanation prior to testing about the purpose(s) for testing, the type(s) of tests, how the results will be communicated and to whom. If you have a disability, you have the right to inquire about needed or specific testing accommodations.
  • Know in advance when the test will be administered, if and when test results will be available to you, and if there is a fee for testing services that you are expected to pay.
  • Have your test administered and your test results interpreted by appropriately trained individuals who follow professional codes of ethics.
  • Know if a test is optional and learn of the consequences of taking or not taking the test, fully completing the test, or canceling the scores. You may need to ask questions to learn these consequences.
  • Receive a written or oral explanation of your test results within a reasonable amount of time after testing and in commonly understood terms.
  • Have your test results kept confidential to the extent allowed by law.
  • Present concerns about the testing process or your results and receive information about procedures that will be used to address such concerns.

As a candidate, you have the responsibility to:

  • Read and/or listen to your rights and responsibilities.
  • Treat others with courtesy and respect during the testing process.
  • Ask questions prior to testing if you are uncertain about why the test is
    being given, how it will be given, what you will be asked to do, and what will be done with the results.
  • Read or listen to descriptive information in advance of testing and listen carefully to all test instructions. You should inform an examiner in advance of testing if you wish to receive a testing accommodation or if you have a physical condition or illness that may interfere with your performance on the test. If you have difficulty comprehending the language of the test, it is your responsibility to inform an examiner.
  • Follow the test instructions you are given and represent yourself honestly during the testing.
  • Be familiar with and accept the consequences of not taking the test, should you choose not to take the test.
  • Inform appropriate person(s), as specified to you by the organisation responsible for testing, if you believe that testing conditions affected your results.
  • Ask about the confidentiality of your test results, if this aspect concerns you.
  • Present concerns about the testing process or results in a timely, respectful way, if you have any.

While the above points are the main aspects candidates should be informed about, by applying these in everyday assessment practice the practitioner is not only keeping to their ethical code, but also putting the candidate’s interests first. After all, the reason we are all most likely in the field of Psychology or Psychometry is because we have a general concern for the well-being of others, engagement and interactions with others. With this in mind, let us ensure we act as true professionals when assisting individuals with whom we engage during assessments. Contact Cognadev if you need assistance in reviewing your assessment practices and methodologies in your organisation.

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