Assessment Centers An Assessment Center can be defined as "a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized

conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job" (Coleman, 1987), it consists of a standardized evaluation of behavior based on multiple evaluations including oral exercises, counseling simulations, problem analysis exercises, interview simulations, role play exercises, written report/analysis exercises, and leaderless group exercises. These centers allow the candidates to make proofs of their knowledge through a number of job and special situations (Joiner, 1984). Assessment centers are varying concerning the number and type of exercises which are included. The most common exercises are the in-basket and the oral exercise. In the in-basket exercise, the candidates are given time to review the material and initiate in writing whatever actions they believe to be most appropriate in relation to each in-basket item. When time is called for the exercise, the in-basket materials and any notes, letters, memos, or other correspondence written by the candidate are collected for review by one or more assessors. Often the candidates are then interviewed to ensure that the assessor(s) understand actions taken by the candidate. If an interview is not possible, it is also quite common to have the candidate complete a summary sheet. Recently, the in-basket has become a focus of interest because of it's usefulness in selection across a wide variety of jobs (Schippmann, Prien, & Katz, 1990). A variety of techniques have been used to develop in-baskets. Quite often information on an in-basket's development is not available for review because the reports do not contain the critical information. A recent review indicated that nearly 50% of the studies do not describe how the in-basket was constructed (Schippmann, et al., 1990). There is also a great deal of variation among the ways in which the in-basket is scored. There is a range of objectivity in scoring with some scoring systems utilize almost entirely human judgment, while others utilize a purely objective approach. The in-basket exercise may be thought of as an approach which assesses a candidate's "practical thinking" ability by having a candidate engage in implicit problem solving for a jobrelevant task. It is now well recognized that a content valid approach to constructing an in-basket is one which is professionally accepted as a technique which has passed legal examination. However, despite the acceptance by the courts and practitioners, the reporting basis for content validity is often deficient. Schippmann et al. (1990) point out that all the studies they reviewed failed to establish a link between the task portion, and the knowledge, skill, and ability portion of the job analysis in order to provide a firm foundation for the construction of the in-basket. Often there has been no procedure for translating the job analysis information into development or choice of the test. Like all assessment center exercises, oral exercises can take many forms depending on the work behaviors or factors of the job being simulated. Common forms of oral exercises include press conference exercises, formal presentations, and informal presentations (briefing exercise). In oral presentation exercises, candidates are given a brief period of time in which to plan/organize their thoughts, make notes, etc., for the presentation/briefing. Traditionally, the audience is played by the

It can be costly to set up an assessment center. or advice given. Assessment centers are most widely used for managerial and high level positions to assess managerial potential. ability and personality measures. sales. Candidates are evaluated on the behavior displayed. technical. because it is becoming a more time and cost effective method. Candidates may also be asked a series of questions following their briefing/presentation.assessor(s) who observes the presentation and makes ratings. solutions provided. or management positions. problemsolving skills. prioritize them. memos. Today. In-basket tests ask the candidates to sort through a manager's "in-basket" of letters. the use of audio taping. These assessment centers vary in length. the assessment center method is utilized in a variety of settings including industry and business. In role-play exercises. Typical of these activities and exercises are in-basket tests. . and respond appropriately with memos. or suggesting some course of action regarding a hypothetical situation. time. The current trend is in the development of assessment centers open to mass testing. or their leadership skills. candidates are generally assessed with a wide variety of instruments and procedures. and selection of exercises. leaderless group discussions. and reports describing problems and scenarios. The exercise may involve providing a solution to a problem that the employee presents. and role-play exercises. educational institutions. Today. and safety forces to select individuals for supervisory. Large companies may have their own assessment centers. Assessment centers apply the whole-person approach to personnel assessment. Candidates are evaluated on their behavior in the group discussions. Leaderless group discussions are group exercises in which a group of candidates is asked to respond to various kinds of problems and scenarios. directives. Candidates are asked to examine them. without a designated group leader. Assessors must be appropriately trained. Trained assessors then evaluate the candidates' responses. their interaction with others. This allows a more widespread use of the assessment center technique. These could include interviews. armed forces. They can be very good predictors of job performance and behavior when the tests and procedures making up the assessment center are constructed and used appropriately. and the use of objectively scored in-basket exercises permits the assessment of a much larger number of candidates per day. This might include their teamwork skills. In the assessment center approach. action plans. The other employee is usually a trained assessor. Their skills and experience are essential to the quality of the evaluations they provide. government. The questions may or may not relate directly to the topic of the presentation. and a range of standardized management activities and problem-solving exercises. and problem-solving strategies. mid-size and smaller firms sometimes send candidates to private consulting firms for evaluation. candidates are asked to pretend that they already have the job and must interact with another employee to solve a problem. and decision-making skills. because the rating of the exercise takes place at a later date.

This company has its own assessment center called BDDP (Bilan de Développement Professionnel). both in measuring job-relevant characteristics and in predicting job performance. The inappropriate use of the assessment. Qualified individuals must be chosen to administer and score tests and interpret test results. the company is conducting the assessment through several principles. The company uses assessment tools in a purposeful manner. It refers to the characteristic the assessment instrument . However. and use those tools in an effective manner. Employment decisions based on tests that are biased are likely to lead to unfair and illegal discrimination against members of the lower scoring groups. The usefulness of test results depends on proper administration. In its strategy. Test manuals will usually specify the qualifications and training needed to administer and score the tests and interpret results. I choose the multinational ACCOR that is implemented in tourism sector in Morocco. and other job-relevant characteristics provides with a solid basis upon which to make important career and employment-related decisions and minimizes adverse impact. The company uses the whole-person approach to assessment. Employers can effectively use personnel assessment instruments to measure job-relevant skills and capabilities of applicants and employees. Moreover. no assessment tool is 100% reliable or valid. employers must be aware of the inherent limitations of any assessment procedure. The assessor must first be clear about what he/she wants to accomplish with the assessment program in order to select the proper tools to achieve those goals. An assessment instrument may provide the assessor with important employment-related information about an individual. The assessment strategies should be based on both an understanding of the kind of employment decisions to be made and the population to be assessed. Assessment procedures and instruments that have been demonstrated to be valid for the specific purpose for which they are being used. These individuals must be trained appropriately. In the example that will illustrate the assessment center of a company. Using unbiased and fair tests will help to select a qualified and diverse workforce. or if the results are not interpreted appropriately. The assessor should review the fairness evidence associated with assessment instruments before selecting tools by examining the test manual and independent test reviews. These tools can help to identify and select better workers and can help improve the quality of an organization's overall performance. Validity is the most important issue in selecting assessment tools. abilities. To use these tools properly. all are subject to errors. scoring and interpretation. Using a variety of tools to measure skills. Once the assessor is clear on his/her purpose. a single assessment instrument only provides with a limited view of a person's qualifications. he/she will be better able to select appropriate assessment tools. The company uses only assessment instruments that are unbiased and fair to all groups. results from not having a clear understanding of what the assessor wants to measure and why he/she wants to measure it. as well as the legal issues involved in assessment.Test results may not be accurate if the tests have not been administered and scored properly. is also a principle that the company utilizes. Only use tests that are appropriate for the particular purpose.

All materials used in the assessment process. Staff should ensure that the testing environment is suitable and that administration procedures are standardized for all test takers." The assessor must be sure that the instrument is valid for the purpose for which it is to be used. Validity is not a property of the assessment instrument itself. Assessment instruments must be administered properly to obtain valid results. A test's validity is established in reference to a specific purpose. the assessor runs the risk of selecting inappropriate instruments. The assessor has to know if the instructions for administration and interpretation are understandable. Ensure that the administration staffs are properly trained. Development of assessment tools that are appropriate for the target population by the company. Maintain confidentiality of assessment results.measures. accommodations in the assessment process may be necessary. must be kept secure. Maintain assessment instrument security." may not be valid for predicting his or her "leadership skills. keep testing materials in locked rooms or cabinets and limit access to those materials to staff involved in the assessment process. Use assessment instruments for which understandable and comprehensive documentation is available. and how well the instrument measures the characteristic. a test that may be valid for predicting someone's "job knowledge. also if the information is sufficiently comprehensive to evaluate the suitability of the instrument. To protect security. Assessment results are highly personal. it may not be valid for different purposes. For example. Employers must respect the test taker's right to confidentiality. poor lighting. test developers periodically introduce new forms of tests. To ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities have an equal chance to demonstrate their potential. For example. There are various extraneous influences that may affect the reliability and validity of an assessment procedure. Administration staff should also be trained to handle special situations with sensitivity. Security is also the responsibility of test developers. inaccurate timing and damaged test equipment may negatively affect test takers. An assessment tool is usually developed for use with a specific group. whether paperand-pencil or computer-based. for example. it relates to how the instrument is being used. The skills and abilities required for the two positions may be different. For example. the company uses a test designed to predict the performance of office managers in her hotels may not be valid for clerical workers. test users should. Assessment results should only be shared with those who . Ensuring that testing conditions are suitable for all test takers. it may not be valid for other groups. Provide reasonable accommodation in the assessment process for people with disabilities. Lack of security may result in some test takers having access to test questions beforehand. The security of a test may become compromised over time. thus invalidating their scores. If the documentation is not understandable or complete. or the reading level of the test may not be suitable for clerical workers. To prevent this. noise in the testing room. Administrators should be given plenty time to learn their responsibilities and should practice by administering tests to other staff before administering tests to applicants. Only suitable staff should be selected.

Tests are used to make inferences about people's characteristics. and not based upon stereotypes. (1987). Jakson. printed in the United States of America. Ensure that there is solid evidence to justify your test score interpretations and the employment decisions you make based on those scores. 43. Fourth Generation Management: The new business consciousness..Mathis. Third edition. Police Assessment Testing: An assessment center handbook for law enforcement personnel. New York. .. Mc Graw Hill. Joiner. J. The test manual should provide instructions on how to properly interpret test results. Schippmann. the conclusions drawn from them are likely to be invalid. L. E. (1990). Reliability and Validity of In-Basket performance measures. (1984). J.Thomas pub ltd.have a legitimate need to know. & Katz.. Ensure that scores are interpreted properly. 837-859. 2002. . and future performance. If test scores are not interpreted properly. References Coleman. This would include staff involved in interpreting assessment results and making employment decisions. Brian L. capabilities. Personnel Psychology. John H. thus leading to poor decision making. C. tenth edition. John L. Human Resource Management. Personal information should not be released to other organizations or individuals without the informed consent of the test taker. The inferences should be reasonable. Robert. Prien. wellfounded..