Types of Tests

We can conveniently classify test according to whether they measure cognitive (mental) abilities, motor and physical abilities, personality and interest or achievement.

Tests of Cognitive abilities:

Cognitive tests include tests of general reasoning ability (intelligence) and tests of specific mental abilities like memory and inductive reasoning.

Intelligence tests: Intelligence (IQ) tests are tests of general intellectual abilities. They measure not a single trait but rather a range of abilities, including memory, vocabulary, verbal fluency and numerical ability.

Originally, IQ (intelligence quotient) was literally a quotient. The procedure was to divide a child’s mental age (as measured by the intelligence test) by his or her chronological age, and then multiply the results by 100. If an 8 year old child answered questions as a 10 year old might his or her IQ would be 10 divided by 8 toms 100, or 125.

For adults, of course the notion of mental age divided by chronological age wouldn’t make sense. Therefore an adult’s IQ score is actually a derived score. It reflects the extent to which the person is above or below the average adult’s intelligence score.

Intelligence is often measured with individuality administered tests like the Stanford Binet Test or the Wechsler Test. Employers can administer other IQ tests such as the Wonderlic to groups of people. Other intelligence tests include the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test, the Slosson Intelligence Test, the Wide Range Intelligence Test, and the Comprehension Test of Non-verbal Intelligence.

Specific Cognitive abilities: There are also measures of specific mental abilities, such as inductive and deductive reasoning, verbal comprehensions, memory and numerical ability.

Psychologists often call such tests aptitude tests since they purport to measure aptitude for the job in question. Consider the Test of Mechanical Comprehension which tests the applicants understanding of basic mechanical principles. It may reflect a person’s aptitude for jobs – like that of machinist or engineer – that require mechanical comprehensive. Other tests of mechanical aptitude include the Mechanical reasoning Test and the SRA test of Mechanical aptitude. The revised Minnesota Paper Form board test consists of 64 two dimensional diagrams cut into separate pieces. It provides insights into an applicant’s mechanical spatial ability: you’d use it for screening applicants for jobs such as designer’s draft people or engineers.

Test or Motor and Physical Abilities:

You might also want to measure motor abilities, such as finger dexterity manual dexterity, and (if hiring pilots) reaching time. The Crawford Small Parts Dexterity Test is an example. It measures the speed and accuracy of simple judgment as well as the speed of finger hand and arm movements. Other tests here include the Stromberg Dexterity test, the Minnesota rate of Manipulation test and the Purdue Peg Board. The Roeder Manipulative aptitude test screens individuals for jobs where dexterity is a main requirement.

Tests of physical abilities may also be required. These include static strength (such as lifting weights), dynamic strength (like pull ups) body coordination (as in jumping rope) and stamina Lifeguards for example they must swim a course before they’re hired.

Measuring Personality and Interest:

A person’s cognitive and physical abilities alone seldom explain his or her job performance. Other factors, like motivation and interpersonal skills, are very important. As one consultant put it, most people hired based on qualifications but most are hired for non performance. And nonperformance (or performance) is usually the result of personal characteristics such as attitude motivation and especially, temperament. Today even some online dating services, like e-Harmony.com have prospective members take online personality tests, and reject those whose software judges are unmatchable.

Employers use personality tests to measure and predict such intangible. For example, choice, Carleton Fiorina and other finalists through a two hour, 900 question personality test. Candidates had to indicate whether statements like ‘When I bump into a piece of furniture, I usually get angry’ were true or false (A few years later, the board of directors asked Fiorina to resign).

  • These tests are used when the jobs are administrative or clerical in nature. For selection to managerial level posts though, candidates would need to score well in power tests; in such a test, the questions are smaller in number but more complex.