Tailored testing for selection and allocation
The view is proposed that where conditions for psychological testing are favourable the nature of the conventional pencil-and paper group test sets a limit on the quality of assessment achievable. This is so because it insists on standardisation through uniformity. This procrustean template is a handicap to the assessment of the non-modal man. Selection and. allocation in the Army is a favourable testing situation - centralised, stable and with high volume, Tailored testing is an alternative to conventional testing that allows variation to suit the ability of the person being assessed. The present thesis proposes and tries out a tailored testing procedure aimed at selection and allocation in the Army and other like circumstances. The research review shows tailored testing to be a post-war interest with statistical antecedents in many ncn-psychological areas. In the last five years research has grown rapidly, stimulated by the increasing possibilities of online computer-assisted testing. A tailored testing procedure is proposed that makes few assump¬ tions, makes full use of prior information, conducts a test item by item, and reports its outcome in decision risk terms. The aim is for a coping procedure without critical item requirements. Real-data simulations are carried out using a large sample of recruits' answers to vocabulary items. An independent conventional verbal test provides a basis for item calibration. The procedure uses two novel indices of item performance con¬ cerned with the tails of the empirical item characteristic curves and their interaction with the normative recruit distribution of verbal attainment. These indices ai'e held to be more relevant to effective convergence of the tailoring process. Good accuracy of convergence is demonstrated by the procedure, and savings in test length for the average recruit as well as greater savings for the non-average. Empirical studies are needed to investigate the temporal dimension of tailored testing.