Discussion 2: Interviewing vs. Testing

Fair and accurate decision-making has long been a goal of psychological testing. The earliest known uses of psychological tests were civil service exams, established in China 2000 years ago. These tests helped to assess individual ability, establishing an arguably fairer way to select capable employees and de-emphasize rank and personal connections.

Nevertheless, decisions about people are not always made by using psychological tests. Decisions are often made by using subjective procedures, such as interviews. Examine the following scenario and consider whether, for this situation, interviewing or psychological testing might be a more effective evaluative method.

The warden at a prison where you work has discovered that parole decisions made by a panel of interviewers often turn out to be wrong, with released prisoners often committing crimes and retained prisoners often demonstrating model behavior. The warden asks the prison psychologist to make a recommendation regarding whether parole decisions should be made on specific test batteries or interviews. Assuming that you need to choose one or the other, what would you recommend as a method for deciding parole—a test battery or the panel interview?

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief explanation of differences between objective (testing) and subjective (interviewing) methods. Then provide your position, based on the scenario provided, on whether interviewing or psychological testing is a more effective evaluative method. Support your response using the Learning Resources and the current literature.

Answer:

Objective methods, such as psychological testing, involve the use of standardized tests to evaluate individuals. These tests often have clear criteria for scoring and interpretation, which helps to reduce bias and increase objectivity. Subjective methods, such as interviews, rely on the evaluator’s personal judgment and perceptions of the individual being evaluated.

In the scenario provided, where the current method of using panel interviews for parole decisions has led to incorrect decisions, psychological testing is likely to be a more effective evaluative method. This is because psychological tests have been shown to have higher predictive validity in identifying individuals who are likely to reoffend compared to interviews (Vrieze, Grove, & Gu, 2018). Moreover, psychological tests provide a standardized method of evaluation that can help to reduce subjectivity and increase the reliability of parole decisions.

One potential downside of using psychological tests for parole decisions is the possibility of test bias. Test bias can occur when tests are not culturally sensitive or are developed based on certain demographic groups, leading to inaccurate evaluations for individuals from different backgrounds (Suzuki & Ponterotto, 2006). However, this issue can be mitigated by using tests that have been developed and validated for diverse populations.

Overall, given the current issues with panel interviews, the use of psychological testing may be a more effective and objective method for making parole decisions in the scenario provided.

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