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Fixed Form Employee Assessments A Thing Of The Past

If you google your employee assessment brand name, chances are you’ll be shocked to find an answer key. Just blame it on the Russians! No not really, truth is, if it’s hackable or someone wants to beat an employee assessment, they more than likely created an answer key.

So what can you do to combat the problem of googling for answer keys? You can’t. This happens due to the very nature of how most of the assessments in the industry are constructed.

There are two fundamental designs in the assessment industry: Fixed Form and Adaptive. In a fixed form assessment, all participants are offered the same questions, in the same order, regardless of skills, abilities or behaviors. In a fixed form assessment a set number of questions must be completed in order to be scored. Fixed form assessments are highly cheatable with answer keys coming up on many searches. Additionally, it goes without saying that fixed form or conventional assessments offer participants a less than engaging assessment experience.

Technology is a powerful tool for improving the employee assessment experience for both the candidate and the organization. Recently, many organizations are moving from antiquated conventional or fixed form assessments to adaptive assessments. In adaptive assessments, the computer algorithm scores each item as the participant answers it. Then, based on the score of that item or cluster of items, the computer algorithm adjusts the level of the next item or cluster of items to the next “challenge” level.

Instead of presenting the same set of questions or items to every applicant, Adaptive Assessments are customized to each. The basic idea is simple, human, and smart. Avoid asking questions that are much too difficult or much too easy for the participant being assessed. Questions that challenge, but don’t overwhelm, will provide the greatest insights into a participant’s abilities and behaviors resulting in increased assessment engagement.

Innovations in the area of adaptive assessment offer increased accuracy, are more enjoyable for the participant, provide improved information for management, and yield higher returns for the organizations. Technology can enhance individual assessment questions and improve the entire measurement process through adaptive assessment methods. While no assessment is perfect, and certainly you can't prevent someone from googling specific individual questions on any assessment, the fact is, answers keys are very difficult to create with adaptive assessment technology.

Bottom line, fixed form assessments are based on older and less sophisticated technology and have a number of shortcomings, some of which I have mentioned already. In order to assess a wide range of abilities or behaviors, it is necessary to have items that cover the entire range of ability levels. This means fixed assessments become very long and some participants will be faced with items that will overwhelm them, while other participants will be bored or not challenged by the content.

Fixed form or conventional assessments are a thing of the past and I am now strongly recommending all my clients move to the adaptive assessment design for employee selection, training and development. I strongly believe in its power to deliver accurate results and create an enjoyable assessment experience for participants.

For more information on the power of adaptive assessments, contact The Assessment Company at 800.434.2630.

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