Ethical Considerations in Competency based Assessments

Assessments of any kind have a bearing on the careers of the individuals hence when assessments are carried out certain ethical considerations should be taken care of:

  1. Assessments are conducted for several purposes in the organization, whatever the purpose is, it needs to be communicated clearly to all participating members, assessors and administrators

  2. The assessment should happen only on the pre-defined criteria, no new aspects should be added later nor any aspect however profound should be measured or referred to, which might not be in the list of pre-defined criteria for assessment. These dimensions and aspects are to be clearly defined to the participants

  3. It is also highly recommended that any competency or dimension is measured more than once to clearly establish its presence or absence in the participants

  4. The selection of participants for assessments should be a standardized process so that people of similar level, knowledge and skills are put together for assessment. Also it is avoidable to put senior and subordinate together in the same assessment

  5. The assessor selection should be done keeping in mind the level of the participants, cultural context and sensitivity for e.g. For senior managers, junior level of assessors should not be involved

  6. It is also important to clearly establish the management of assessment data within the organization

    • How would the collection and coalition of data happen
    • The people who would handle data and write reports
    • How would the reports be used
    • With whom would the reports be shared
    • How long the reports will be stored and for what purposes shall they be used

  7. The simulation exercises should be developed by well qualified and trained professionals which would be used during assessments

  8. The reliability and validity of the assessment tools have to be established prior to use

  9. The internal assessors from within the organization participating in assessment need to be adequately trained

  10. Integrating the feedback with the assessment process

  11. There should be careful considerations regarding the different cultural context in which assessments will take place. There are some assessment techniques which work well in some cultures while they fail to bring out the desired behaviors in certain others. For e.g. Individual exercises work well in Western culture but Asians prefer team exercises

  12. While video recording or writing verbatim for roe plays or other exercises, the consent of the participants should be sought so that they do not feel threatened. If they refuse, the assessors should convince them of the necessity and only then use such recording methods

  13. The assessors need to sometime play the role of facilitator for the participants especially in assessments done for developmental purposes so that participants can display behaviors

  14. A review mechanism to track developments post assessment could also be considered

These are some ethical considerations for assessment. Some of these points may not be applicable when assessments are done for selection and hiring purposes however transparent and open communication regarding results and feedback on performance goes a long way in creating credibility of the assessments conducted. For internal processes it also helps create a culture of objective potential and performance evaluation.


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