Validate Tests and Standards
Clearly there are important personnel decisions which are informed by the results of a test. Unfortunately, when presented with a proposed test and standards, many decision-makers immediately ask "What happens if people fail the test?" When in fact, the first question may more appropriately be "What happens if people pass the test?" The goal of testing is to properly and with a high degree of certainty identify those who can and who those who cannot do the essential physical tasks required of the job. One might even ask “What makes a test, a good test?”
A good test:
Measures what it claims to measure;
Measures consistently or reliably;
Measures a characteristic that is important to training or to the job;
Allows the agency to make effective decisions about an individual’s status, e.g. hiring, training, or retention.
In order to make the best human capital decisions (and defend them), an employer must start with a valid test. Test validity refers to the characteristic that the test measures and how well it measures the characteristic. In an occupational setting, a characteristic is related to the job. Scores on the test have meaning, i.e. there is a link between test performance and the characteristic (also called a construct). Therefore, an employer can make certain conclusions or predictions based on the test score. Finally, validity also describes the degree to which one can make certain conclusions or predictions.