Development of Non-cognitive Ability Tests

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Industrial psychology has played a vital contribution with regards to providing a framework for human resource assessment. Moreover, the assessments were developed with the aim of ensuring that the psychology of the candidates is understood. As a result, in the current age, the assessments have been streamlined and developed into cognitive and non-cognitive assessment methods. The cognitive assessment methods focus on assessing the technical abilities of the individual while the non-cognitive measures the personality of the individual. As a result, the essay will focus on the development history, functionality together with the validity and reliability of these assessment methods and how they are applied in the human resource practice. Moreover, the second part of the essay has focused on the analysis of the performance results of a potential candidate. The study of the results has been correlated to the human resource concepts of employee placement, career path and training needs.


1: Cognitive Ability Tests

The field of psychology has been critical in aiding the assessment needs of the organisations. Cognitive tests have been utilised by most of the human resource departments to assess the technical abilities of the potential candidates (Outtz, 2011). Moreover, these tests can be linked to the specific tasks related to a job. Scholastic Aptitude Test is one of the most effective cognitive ability tests that organisations conduct when hiring for technical positions such as engineering, technology and even accounting.

Development History of the SAT

The history of the SAT test goes way back to the First World War when one of the leading recruiters persuaded the U.S Army to implement the intelligence test for all the new recruits (Outtz, 2011). Carl Brigham, who was a psychologist administered the test which was later named the Army Alpha. After the war, he decided to implement the test in 1926 to the new college applicants (Outtz, 2011). Moreover, when the president of Harvard appointed Henry Chauncey as the dean in 1933, he was tasked with finding a test which would assess gifted students as a way of enrolling them into the university. As a result, when he had an opportunity to interact with Carl, he adopted the SAT since he was convinced that the test was a measure of pure intelligence. As a result, in 1938, the SAT was implemented by the College Board and was to be applied by all the member schools. Moreover, after the World War II, the Navy and the Army adopted the SAT and it was administered to more than 300,000 people in a single day. The test has developed over the years by improving to even factor in technology. It is one of the most common cognitive criteria used by the human resource departments during the recruitment process.

The Functionality of the SAT

The functionality framework of the SAT is built on three building blocks which include the reasoning questions, mathematical questions and the verbal reasoning questions. Hence the test is meant to be a test of the educational principles that were learnt in both high school and campus. Moreover, the test is one of the simplest and fastest methods that admission committees and even employers have sought to use because it is easy to administer, and it tests different functionalities with less time. The reasoning questions mainly test logic which is a critical attribute that most employers usually assess since the employee will be required in most cases to make logical decisions. Mathematical problems are commonly evaluating the individual’s technical ability. As a result, SAT is typically applied when the employers are looking for technically gifted employees. Hence the questions generally are both qualitative and quantitative which are usually in a high number, but the assessment only has a short period to be completed. The verbal reasoning skill tests the communication functionality. Communication is vital in the organisations hence it is critical that the oral proficiency of the potential employees is assessed to determine whether they will be able to communicate effectively within the organisation.

Validity and Reliability of the SAT

The tests are valid and reliable that’s why they have proven the test of time. Also, the tests have been used to assess the ability of employees before hiring (Outtz, 2011). Also, the corporate environment has been very competitive, as a result, the test has been beneficial for of the organisations to shortlist the candidates as they prepare them for the next stage. Also, some of the organisations have used the test to assess the gaps that the potential employees have in the market to enable them to identify the training needs that they employees have to efficiently train them during onboarding.

Non-cognitive Ability Test

Non-cognitive ability tests have been developed by psychologists to assess an individual’s social skills (Zhou, 2017). The tests are a compliment of the cognitive analysis, and their focus is more on the social skills. The most common non-cognitive ability test is the personality test. The scope of the personality test is to determine the social and emotional development maturity of an individual which is very critical especially in the work environment.

The development history of Personality Assessment test

The history of the personality assessment and testing can be traced back to the World War One. Robert Woodworth developed the first form of the analysis in 1919 which was commonly referred to as the Woodworth Personal Data sheet which mainly comprised of “YES” “NO” questions (Zhou, 2017). Based on the development of the personal data sheet, the Germans found a benchmark which used to further the work of Woodworth by developing a more comprehensive personality test which they applied during the Army recruitments. The following massive development on the personality tests was the Thurstone Personality Schedule which focused on four metrics of personality mainly dominance-submission, introversion-extroversion, self-sufficiency and neurotic tendency.

Due to the significant modifications that were applied on the assessment, the test was standard mainly in the 1940’s and the 1950’s until the 1970’s where the usage of the tests declined, and in some instances, there was even a ban due to misuse of the tests (Zhou, 2017). However, the field of industrial psychology revived the use of the tests through the changes that were implemented to make it relevant to recruitment agencies and even the prospective employers.

The functionality of the Personality Assessment Test

The essential feature of the personality test is to figure out the disposition of an individual partaking in the assessment. Moreover, the evaluation is not based on correct answers, but it seeks to determine the traits that the individual has. Also, the test focuses on how the individual reacts to different situations such a when they were happy, sad or even how they respond to stressful situations (Zhou, 2017). As a result, the test is a measure of the maturity and emotional intelligence of a candidate. However, in as much as there are no correct answers, the level of accuracy is generally measured by checking the consistency of the candidate’s response. As a result, the same questions are typically paraphrased differently, but they seek the same answer. Also, the problems are always a test and a measure of character. Hence from the responses, the recruitment team is still at the discretion of hiring the candidate or not based on the responses.

Validity and Reliability of Personality Assessment Test

The efficacy and response of the personality assessment cannot be underestimated since it plays a critical role in ensuring that organisations hire the right people who can easily blend in the company. One of the essential applications of the test is during job placements (Zhou, 2017). The personality test provides insights on which group of people the potential candidate can work within the organisation. Moreover, with the knowledge that the company has on the existing group, the test can be used to determine whether the potential candidate would be the best fit. Furthermore, the assessment can be used to get the best out of group interactions and teams.

Usually, in an organisation when new teams are formed, their chances of success are low since the members do not know each other. Hence by taking part in the tests, the members will be able to understand better their personalities and that of their team members who will then foster unity and cohesion for them to work together as a team. Additionally, personality tests are very relevant since it gives employees a chance for self-reflection. By taking part in the tests, the employees can measure and determine whether they have grown regarding their emotional intelligence skills and whether their character has improved.

Part 2: Analysis of the Assessment

The CCAT test provides insights on a candidate’s cognitive ability about their capacity for solving problems, thinking critically and learning new skills (Cappelli & Conyon, 2017). Hence, Jane who was applying for the position of the administrative assistant went through the test to determine whether she could handle the responsibilities for the job. Her overall score was 29, and she managed to defeat 58 people who took part in the test. However, the analysis of her results based on the three components of the test revealed her strengths and weaknesses. She scored 85% on the spatial reasoning which published her powerful visualisation, intelligence and spatial judgement skills.

The knowledge would help her handle some of the roles that were outlined in her job description. She performed averagely on her verbal skills by scoring 40% signifying that she had an average technical ability with regards to attention to detail, comprehension and constructive thinking. As a result, she would need to improve in the area since some of her responsibilities will require practical communication skills and critical thinking. Her most significant weakness was in her math and logic skills where she failed by scoring 26%. Considering that part of her scope will deal with handling computer software, there is the opportunity for her to be trained for her to improve and be effective in her role.

Employee Placement

The concept of employee placement refers to allocating new employee roles and responsibilities which are within their scope and capability at the time of appointment (Khan, 1991). Hence, when a candidate is accepted and confirmed, they should be assigned roles which relate to their strengths and abilities as they also learn about the company and the requirements of the position (Khan, 1991). Moreover, when placement is done correctly, the chances of the employee succeeding are high compared to when the deployment is done wrong. Furthermore, for implementation to be effective, it needs to be accompanied by induction. The induction programs will ensure that the employee is integrated into the organization’s culture and understand how their role fits the more significant objective of the organisation.

Hence for the case of Jane, based on her excellent spatial reasoning skills, there are roles she can take up for the place while there are roles she will not be able to take up. Hence some of the duties she will be able to do efficiently based on the tasks under her job description include receiving and directing visitors, word processing together with assisting with trade show and event planning. As a result, she will only be able to accomplish 30% of the tasks listed out in her job description. Hence while doing the placement, it is crucial for the human resource department to ensure that Jane works under supervision since she has some skill and knowledge gap on some of the areas that her new role requires. Moreover, in the first couple of months, she should only restrict herself to the regions of her specialisation and skill to ensure that she gets the best out of the tasks. By starting with the jobs, she is good at, her confidence level with growing and with better mentorship she will be able to gain traction as she grows in her career.

Career Path

The concept of career path refers to how an individual grows within the organisation. The career path can take different trajectories and directions. Some professionals prefer to remain in a similar career path. However, there are those who choose to change their career paths due to opportunities that may arise or even turn in their interests (Biron, 2016). Jane applied for the position of an administrative assistant within the marketing department. The marketing department offers a lot of growth opportunity. Currently, she is at the lowest level of her career.

However, she can choose to pursue a career path within the marketing department by growing to become a marketing executive, a project leader within the marketing department, marketing manager and even later become the head of the marketing department depending on how she will be able to progress in her career. Additionally, she also has the opportunity to pursue a career path within the administrative department since some of her roles overlap with the department. Hence, if Jane develops an interest in organisational activities, she can then grow to become an administrative executive then transition to a project leader within the administration department. Later on, she can be promoted to become the head of the department.

Thus, for an employee to be competent in their career path, they need to continuously work towards improving their skills (Biron, 2016). Moreover, the organisation has a role to play with regards to ensuring that the employee grows especially by providing structures such as performance reviews and even mentorship (Biron, 2016). The feedback received from the studies will give her the opportunity to identify the areas she can improve while she also maximises her strength. Furthermore, mentorship from her supervisor will be critical especially with regards to ensuring that she learns some of the skills required with regards to handling the job.

Training needs

Employee training is one of the most critical human resources functions. Training plays a central role especially in ensuring that any gaps in the skillset of the employee are covered and addressed (Clarke, 2003). Moreover, training provides that the performance of the employee is improved especially by upgrading the strengths that the employee has (Clarke, 2003). For the case of Jane, the CCAT test revealed her areas of weaknesses which needed training. The two key areas that needed training were her verbal ability and her math and logic skills. The gaps that Jane had in these areas have prevented her from taking all the responsibilities of her new role. As a result, the areas which need training include fielding telephone calls, creating and updating presentation software files, tracking budgets and expenses together with communicating with the external service providers.

However, it is vital that the training is categorised to address the gaps in her verbal skills together with the differences in her math skills (Clarke, 2003). Also, the training should be spread out over the months for it to be effective. Hence, the different types and modes of practice should be applied for it to be effective. Both on the job training and off the job training methods should be involved. Furthermore, an active feedback system should also be instituted such that Jane will be able to give feedback on whether her skills in the areas are growing. Also, the training process should also incorporate performance assessment measures to determine whether Jane is learning the new skills and developing. Furthermore, the training should also be attached to a compensation framework for Jane to be motivated to go through the process. For example, upon successful completion of the training process, she can be rewarded with a promotion.


In conclusion, the research paper has critically analysed the role that industrial psychology plays in the human resource practice especially with regards to assessment. The cognitive method of evaluation that has been explained is the SAT. The assessment method was developed many years ago and has revolutionised the human resource industry as being one of the most common ways of assessment. Moreover, the tests focus mainly on measuring the individual’s technical ability through mathematical, reasoning and verbal questions.

The personality assessment test is the most common form of non-cognitive assessment, and it focuses on the individual’s emotional and character. Furthermore, the research project has analysed how the assessment results can be synthesised especially with regards to its application to the human resource concepts. As a result, the analysis of Jane’s findings revealed that she could be currently placed and given roles that match her strength. Also, there are areas that she needs to improve on such as her verbal and mathematical skills which can be addressed through training. Hence, as she grows in her knowledge and skill set, she will be able to chat a career path which will enable her to achieve her career goals.


Biron, M. (2016). Gaps between actual and preferred career paths among professional employees. Sage Journals, 44(3), 6-14. Retrieved from

Cappelli, P., & Conyon, M. (2017). What do performance appraisals do?. Sage Journals, 71(1), 11-21. Retrieved from

Clarke, N. (2003). The politics of training needs analysis. Journal Of Workplace Learning, 15(4), 141-153. Retrieved from

Khan, S. (1991). Selection and placement, managing service quality. An International Journal, 1(4), 201-208. doi:

Outtz, J. (2011). The role of cognitive ability tests in employment selection. Human Perfomance, 15(2), 161-171. Retrieved from

Zhou, K. (2017). Non-cognitive skills: Potential candidates for global measurement. European Journal of Education, Research, Development and Policy, 52(4), 487-497. Retrieved from

January 19, 2024

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