CHILD SAFETY IN SCHOOLS: Proper psychometric tests most effective way of predicting behaviour

As the vociferous debate over school and child safety continues following the distressing murder of a 7-year old young boy (Pradyuman Thakur) in his school (Ryan International School, Gurgaon), CBSE in a circular has asked its affiliated schools to administer psychometric tests to their employees. As such lakhs of school employees prepare to take a psychometric test,

Autar Nehru spoke with Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-founder,Mettl, an online skills assessment platform offering coding and psychometric tests, to know about these tests.

What is a psychometric test? Where is it useful? 

Psychometrics is the science of measuring psychological factors such as preference, aptitude, and personality. Psychometrics is designed to do measurement; in fact, the term is an abbreviation for ‘psychological measurement’. It forms a branch of a wider field referred to as psychological assessment, which seeks to understand the psychology of the individual, whatever the circumstances, whether in clinical, forensic, educational, counseling, health, coaching or occupational settings.

Psychometric tests are commonly employed as aids in occupational decisions, including the selection and classification of human resources. From the assembly line operator, filing clerk, teachers or top management executives, there is scarcely a type of job for which psychometric test has not proved helpful in such matters as hiring, job assignment, transfer, promotion, or termination. Psychometrics is also used extensively in the study of childhood development. Psychometric tests help teachers, parents, and psychologists identify learning deficiencies and giftedness in preschool and elementary school-aged children.

 Is it a standard test or can be customized for a specific need? 

Like our company, Mettl has capabilities of customizing the test and reports based on client requirements, the test can be customized. But in customization, we ensure that all customized tools are based on the standard principles of psychometrics – reliability, validity, and norms. In the tool standardization process, we take a diverse and representative sample which includes respondents from all age groups and from various industries. We all take care of gender representation and respondents from public and private sector both in tool development. In sum, the standard, as well as the customized tool both, are based on a rigorous process of psychometric principles.

What about your own psychometric test portfolio?

Mettl’s Psychometric test portfolio consists of more than 50 assessments which can be used for recruitment, training & development, high potential identification and succession planning. We have assessments in five different languages – English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and German. The assessments for recruitment are available for various job roles, which includes Sales job roles, Customer support roles, Operations, Finance, Pilots and much more. We have assessments specific to HR processes which include Employee Engagement, Exit Interview assessment, Stress Management assessment and few others.

How competent are you in terms of offering a recognized psychometric test to a government body like CBSE and second, how many people (max) can take your test on your platform and how? 

Mettl conducts over 1 Lac assessments on its platform daily. We can easily handle any additional requirement comfortably. Our technical and operational capabilities enable us to conduct these assessments with zero error. The psychometric test developed by Mettl is as per global standards. The development and validation of our assessments is in line with stringent guidelines of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures and The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing developed jointly by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education.

What would be the fee for such a test for individuals or a small group?

The fee depends on the extent of customization required by the client and the manpower requirement.

Have you ever administered a psychometric test to teachers or people from education sector? 

Yes, we have conducted Psychometric tests assessing various domains right from teaching methodology to conduct in class with efficient management techniques on teachers. These tests were aimed at identifying the training and professional development requirements of teachers. These tests are also used for conducting pre-hiring assessments.

And finally, do you think it is good to conduct psychometric tests on employees. Should it be made mandatory? 

Psychometric tests are designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude in an objective manner. It helps in reducing the risks of errors in recruitment and selection. Psychometric tests are an aid in the selection process and if used properly, supply invaluable information which is not easily gleaned in interviews. If any psychometric tests handle with insight and sensitivity, they remain the most effective way of predicting behavior.