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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Recruiting, Retaining and Honoring a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People

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Section V: Glossary

Section V: Glossary

Adverse impact

A substantially different rate of selection in hiring which works to the disadvantage of members of any race, sex, or ethnic group.

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Behavioral consistency method

Based on the principle that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. In practice, the method involves describing previous accomplishments gained through work, training, or other experience (e.g., school, community service, hobbies) and matching those accomplishments to the competencies required by the job.

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Concurrent validity

In a concurrent study, job incumbents (i.e., current employees) are tested and their job performance is evaluated at the same time. The relation between current performance on the assessment and on the job can then be examined. Evidence of concurrent validity is often substituted for predictive validity. Whether this is appropriate will depend on the type of measure and how similar the incumbent sample is to the applicant population.

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Construct validity

A construct refers to the underlying trait (e.g., intelligence, sociability) assumed to be measured by an assessment. Construct validation involves collecting evidence to determine whether the assessment does indeed measure the trait it was intended to measure.

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Content validity

Evidence (based on job analysis and expert judgment) the choice of items or tasks included in the assessment logically match or represent those tasks or competencies required by the job.

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Criterion-related validity

The degree to which performance on an assessment procedure predicts (or is statistically related to) an important criterion such as job performance, training success, or productivity.

There are two major types of criterion-related validity, concurrent and predictive .

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Face validity

An applicant's perception of how valid a measure is based on simple visual inspection. Though face validity alone cannot be used to support the use of an assessment, it is important because it promotes cooperation and acceptance of the assessment process on the part of applicants.

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Incremental validity

The extent to which a new assessment adds to the prediction of job success above and beyond the forecasting powers of an existing assessment.

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Job analysis

A systematic examination of the tasks performed in a job and the competencies required to perform them.

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Predictive validity

In a predictive study, job applicants are tested and their performance evaluated at a later time, usually after being on the job for 6 months or more. The relation between performance on the assessment and on the job can then be examined.

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The extent to which assessment scores are related to current or future job performance (or some other work-related outcome such as training success, productivity, absenteeism, turnover). For types of validity evidence, see content validity, construct validity, and criterion-related validity.

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