Course Details

Course TitleSPCP 2020 - Session 7 - Psychometric Screening and Testing
Date 11/6/2020
ProviderSociety for Police and Criminal Psychology
LocationVirtual Conference
Credit Hours1
Instructor(s)Recia G. Gomez; Kyana D. Beckles; Nathan Thompson; Joel P. Wiesen
Method of InstructionWorkshop/Seminar
Approving AgencyAPA
Course Syllabus

Course Description

This three part session includes: Part 1: Police Psychological Testing: Removing Barriers and Improving its' Effectiveness; Part 2: The LEO Preemployment Interview: A Survey Including Questions Asked to Length of Reports; Part 3: The 3 Best Psychometric Approaches to Maximize Diversity in Hiring

Course Objectives

Part 1:
It is estimated that more than 90% of police departments require a psychological evaluation as part of their selection and hiring process. While many of the larger police departments have implemented psychological assessments, in some instances the screening process has functioned to decrease diversity in departments. Studies of large departments show a considerable disparity between the candidates who pass the psychological evaluation and the populations of the municipalities that they represent. Implementing psychological assessments as part of the hiring and selection process is essential, however ensuring their effectiveness is a critical goal of its own. Based on empirical research, best practices, and guidelines outlined by professional associations - this presentation will offer recommendations to improve the effectiveness of psychological evaluations. From the selection of psychopathological and personality tests, the competence of clinical psychologists conducting the evaluation, the criticality of the job analysis, alignment of competencies, the development of the final evaluative report, and legal defensibility of the process.

Part 2:
Thousands of preemployment psychological evaluations of police officers are completed every year.  There is ample research on appropriate psychological assessments used in these evaluations but there is a wide variety of processes on how interviews are conducted.  Each psychologist approaches evaluations differently, from questions asked, to length of the interview, to the length of the report.  This presentation looks at a survey that was conducted nationally among police psychologists to answer these questions.  The hope is to increase awareness of what psychologists throughout the country are doing leading to an increase in effectiveness in conducting PEPEs.

Part 3:
Police Officer selection tests often are a barrier to hiring a diverse academy class.  There are three psychometrically sound approaches to both increase ethnic/racial diversity in hiring and improve expected job performance: (1) use tests of general cognitive ability (g) on a pass/fail basis, (2) select tests based on utility, not validity, and (3) test specific job related cognitive abilities and other characteristics that show small ethnic group differences.  There are two sound psychometric reasons to use tests of g on a pass-fail basis: general cognitive ability tests have low validity and low utility.  Selecting tests based on utility will result in a different and better test battery than selecting tests based on validity.  There are specific cognitive abilities that are job related and have low or even reverse adverse impact, such as face memory/recognition, creative problem solving, conscientiousness, and implicit bias.  Structuring selection systems in this way will both increase diversity in hiring and increase the expected level of job performance. A real-life example will be presented (Bridgeport, CT, 2015).