What is a psychometric test or assessment?
A psychometric test or assessment measure psychological characteristics such as personality traits, behavioural styles, cognitive abilities, motivations etc. The word psychometric literally means psychological measurement. Thomas assessments measure a wide range of different characteristics, learn more about our psychometric assessment tools here.
The definition of 'psychometric' combines the words 'psyche', meaning 'mind', as well as the word 'meter', meaning 'measure'. Therefore, a psychometric test or assessment is a tool that measures a person's psychological characteristics. For example, psychometric tests and assessments can measure characteristics such as personality traits, cognitive abilities, behavioural styles and more.
There is a distinction between a psychometric test and a psychometric assessment. The main difference is that a test measures your maximum performance using tasks that have right or wrong answers. An assessment will typically use a questionnaire-format, asking you to rate your agreement levels with certain statements, or perhaps indicate how frequently you feel a certain way.
Examples of psychometric tests include cognitive ability tests, aptitude tests, logic tests and reasoning tests. Examples of psychometric assessments include personality assessments, emotional intelligence assessments and behavioural preference assessments. Psychometric tests and assessments aim to put your scores or responses into context, for example comparing you to other people. A test or assessment that compares you to others is known as a norm-referenced (normative) test; how did your performance or responses compare to a comparative group of people, like the working population of your country. A self-referencing (Ipsative) test or assessment will compare your performance or responses to your individual performance or response patterns. A test or assessment that focuses on a very specific set of skills or knowledge is called domain-referencing. An example would be a driving test as you have to achieve a pre-established level of performance and knowledge to meet set criteria.
Best practice when using psychometrics
There are best practice guidelines for using psychometric tests and assessments in an occupational context. Guidelines for the best practice use of psychometric assessments are developed and published by regulatory bodies such as the British Psychological Society (BPS), the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA), the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and so on.