Our experience: 11th International Test Commission Conference

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Thomas International are always seeking opportunities to share the extensive work involved in validating the tests and assessments we publish.

Early this month, our global psychology team joined Thomas North America to deliver a symposium at the 11th International Test Commission conference in Montreal. Hear about their experience and learnings here… 

What is the International Test Commission (ITC)?

The ITC is an association of national psychological associations, test commissions, publishers and other organisations, committed to promoting effective testing and assessment policies and to the proper development, evaluation and uses of educational and psychological instruments.

The biennial conference is a premier event in the world of psychological and educational testing where members come together to discuss important international, regional and national developments in testing and assessment, to share ideas and to contribute to the evolutions of tomorrow.

The Thomas Symposium: Unifying research and practice: Validating the High Potential Traits Indicator (HPTI)

Representing Thomas International was our Head of Psychology, Jayson Darby, Senior Psychologist, Stephen Cuppello and President of Thomas USA Inc. Merle Ballaigues. The team were also joined by Ian MacRae, co-author of the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI) and Director at High Potential Psychology Ltd and Carina Fiedeldey-Van Dijk, President at ePsy Consultancy.

The symposium focused on 5 key studies and papers that demonstrated the validity of the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI) for use in the USA and Canada, including optimisations for French-Canadian (Quebecois) speakers.

  • Study 1 – Ian opened the symposium by summarising the construction and original validation of the HPTI before sharing the results of thousands of HPTI assessments across leadership levels, demonstrating that the traits of the HPTI clearly differentiate between leaders and non-leaders.
  • Study 2 – Jayson discussed the process Thomas International followed to optimised the HPTI for use in the North American context, sharing the similarities and differences between UK and US/CA leaders.
  • Study 3 – Carina provided a linking paper, outlining how the efforts to validate the HPTI met the criteria of the Unified Validation Framework (UVF) and how the following studies would address validity in practice.
  • Study 4 – Stephen walked through the rigorous process involved in optimising the HPTI in to Quebecois French and demonstrating its equivalence to the US and CA-English translations.
  • Study 5 – Merle closed the symposium by discussing consequential validity and the critical importance of getting the application of tests and assessments right for organisations to experience the full benefits.

Key messages and observations from the conference

Our conference experience started with the opening ceremony. ITC president, Dragos Illiescu delivered a keynote address and raised a critical point; Ethics sets Psychology apart from other industries that are utilising psychological and psychometric technologies outside of the auspices of established industry regulators.

Dragos Illiescu, ITC President 2018

Another excellent keynote was delivered by Irini Moustaki of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) who summarised the contributions of women to Psychometrics and Statistics, especially during times where the contribution of these women was often overlooked in favour of their male peers.

Irini Moustaki; The Contributions of Women in Psychometric-Statistics: Past and Present.

The topic of big data and what we can be predicted from our personal data and/or online activity was a hot topic too. James Parker, of Trent University, Ontario discussed recent applications of big data, with examples ranging from the well-known Cambridge Analytica scandal though to applications in the education sector to predict teacher performance. The theme of ethics and the role of Psychologists was raised once again. Psychologists are in 25th place in terms of the number of papers published on the use of big data – something that we must change as a priority if we are to retain a positive influence on the use of psychometric data to predict outcomes that can be personally and/or socially-sensitive.

James Parker, Big Data Applications​

The conference team from Thomas attended numerous talks across the week and would highly recommend anyone with a technical interest in psychological testing and assessment to attend in the future, should they have the chance.

Looking forward to ITC 2020 in Luxembourg

The ITC 2020 conference will focus on diversity in the workplace, an extremely important topic that Thomas International’s research division aligns to strongly [access our diversity whitepaper here]. At present, the team at Thomas are partnering with Women in Business to explore whether personality differences exist between senior male and female leaders. We hope to publish our results at the start of 2019 and perhaps we will be able to share those findings at the 12th International Test Commission conference!

Jayson Darby

Jayson Darby

Jayson is the Psychology Manager at Thomas International. Working with a team of international consultants and analysts, Jayson is responsible for delivering client solutions that are grounded in psychological methods and hard data. Jayson works with our global partners, ensuring that the Thomas experience and standards are consistent around the world.