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Psychometric tests for student selection and support

15 Jun 2015

Psychometric tests for student selection and support

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Psychometric tests are widely used in business schools, in engineering institutions, and in some universities. On top of that, they are also frequently used to select students for short-term programmes for technical diplomas. "Due to the increase in interest for such tools, their use will strongly grow in the years to come," foresees Céline Jouffray. "In the US, for example, there is not a single university that does not use them."
 
Most of the French institutions use them as a part of their entrance examination, but more and more, schools are also using them for the purpose of curriculum support.

Tools for selection

Psychometric tests are mainly used by institutions to select students. "The types of tests used vary," observes Céline Jouffray." IQ tests, English language tests, and general knowledge tests are the most commonly used. But some institutions also administer personality tests, emotional intelligence tests, career orientation tests or even critical thinking tests. Some schools also order tests on demand depending on their area of specialisation."

As for aptitude tests, every school can have its own cut-off score, below which a student is not admitted. On the other hand, personality tests and orientation tests are used as supporting tools during the interview. The results are then discussed with the candidate and are eventually helpful for making the final decision.

Tools for curriculum support

Some schools administer language tests, Emotional Intelligence tests or personality tests at different stages over the course of the programme. "This allows students and their professors to supervise the student's progress and to better identify areas that need improvement", explains Céline Jouffray.

Another useful method for youngsters is to conduct personality tests at the end of the program in order to prepare them for the corporate world. Some big business schools in fact administer tests like the Professional Profile-R to help their students identify their strong points and their areas of interests. Therefore, these young graduates acquire a better understanding of their objectives and of their worth. As a result, they will appear structured and confident and will be better equipped to convince a recruiters of their abilities.

Key observations and suggestions

Undermining of EQ and critical thinking tests

"The schools that train future managers have a tendency to give more importance to English language tests or IQ tests, especially in engineering schools," observes Céline Jouffray. "But now critical thinking and emotional intelligence are as important as IQ tests for these profiles."

 
The critical thinking test, in fact, allows one to evaluate the aptitude for analysing and judgment. As for the emotional intelligence test, it measures the capacity to understand and manage one's own emotions and those of others. "I advise institutions that groom future executives not to neglect these two aspects, since not only do employers value them during recruitment but these are also skills that are necessary to succeed in managerial positions."

Evaluate the English language level

Knowledge and communication of proper English is an essential requirement in the corporate world. This is especially true now, since in the SMS generation the level of written English is deteriorating, with more prominence been given to "SMS LINGO". "I recommend this test to institutions that have problems with their students' level of English, be it for selection or evaluation during a course," advises Céline Jouffray.

Use a proctored setting in the case of a selection process

The question of cheating does not arise in the case of personality tests, since there are no right or wrong answers, but this is not the case with IQ tests or general knowledge tests. In fact, it is always possible to cheat if the student takes the test from home: "All our tests can be taken online, and it is possible to get automated results immediately. However, for better efficiency, we recommend that you supervise your students during these tests, since when a student takes the test from home they can easily ask people nearby for their suggestions on how to complete these skills-based tests."

Reported by Laure Marcus, NaoPresse