“Well constructed Psychometric tests must be used to measure individuals’ mental capability and behaviour. These are designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a job role based on the required personality characteristics, aptitude and cognitive abilities,” said Mr. Varun Aggarwal, Co-founder and CTO of Aspiring Minds when asked about the significance of psychometric tests in today’s world. Aspiring Minds is an AI-powered talent evaluation and a global job skills credentialing leader set up with a vision to create a merit driven talent ecosystem. It has designed credible and intelligent assessments to enable efficient job skills matching.
To know more about the intelligent assessments, Team NSN interacted with Mr. Varun Aggarwal who explained the modern assessment process and their significance. Read on to know more.
Q: Please tell us in brief about Aspiring Minds and how it is contributing towards ensuring a professionally certified, quality skilled workforce at various levels – entry-level, mid-level and senior leadership level.
A: We try to understand all the job profiles in the market to decide the skills that are required for the job roles based on research. Currently, there is a skills gap that needs to be addressed. And we have to make sure that the right person gets the right job.
We have assessments specially designed for different job roles to address the skils gap. Our assessment is called AMCAT (Aspiring Mind’s Computer Adaptive Test). It is based on the skills that the candidates can demonstrate and they will be certified after the successful completion of the assessment. Along with the certificate, we also give them feedback on the skills that they should improve on. We have assessments for various industries like IT, Banking, Retail, Hospitality and Automotive.
Candidates can apply for the test individually by visiting our website called myamcat.com. After the test and based on their scores their profiles are made available to multiple companies for hiring. We also connect with colleges based on the number of applications from their students.
Q: What are the psychometric tests? What is the importance of psychometrics in conducting assessments for different job roles?
A: Psychometric tests are the standards used to measure individuals’ mental capability and behaviour. These are designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a job role based on the required personality characteristics, aptitude, and cognitive abilities. These tests ensure that the right candidates are selected for a certain job role without any error. The person who doesn’t have the skills should not get hired and the person who has the required skills should not get rejected. That is how the psychometrics test predicts the requirements and helps maintain consistency. It is a foundation of assessment and measurement.
The four fundamental principles for psychometric tests are reliability, validity, standardisation, and freedom from bias. Following these principles, the test questions should be developed. At Aspiring Minds, we have dedicated teams who work closely to develop the best assessments for the candidates.
Q: How would you differentiate between a test and an assessment?
A: I would say that every test should be a good assessment. Tests are for getting feedback and measure a particular behaviour, while assessments assess the skills with utmost reliability. A test becomes an assessment when it has validity. We don’t have to interpret the test results, while for assessments it is a must.
A well-designed test might not meet all the standards of an assessment. A good assessment is a must for all the skills like cognitive skills. Creating a good assessment needs a lot of investment, time, and expertise.
Q: Please give examples of how different types of tests are required for testing different skills and how the latest technologies are enabling them?
A: There are mainly three categories of tests, MCQs, QnA, and AI-based tests. MCQs are multiple-choice questions designed with four or five options and the students have to pick the right option. This test is used to assess the cognitive or aptitude skills of the candidates. Then comes the second category which is QnA. The QnA format of testing is an open response assessment where the students can write their answers to the questions. This format of assessment is useful to test the students’ language competency.
Then, the third kind of assessment is AI-based assessments that are used for testing skills such as students’ Spoken English and Coding skills. We have started using simulation-based tests that use AI. This is a very useful format to assess the students’ job skills. We have designed game-based tests using simulation technology for vocational workers.
Q: From your international experience, please tell us about how/what we can adopt or learn from other countries in terms of efficiency in assessments in certification?
A: We have adopted various testing technologies from the USA as pioneers. Adopting the technologies that people are using abroad requires a lot of verification and modifications as per our country’s requirements. The personality traits in India are different and the behaviour that is considered polite in the USA may not be considered the same here. So, before adopting their test patterns we need to modify it accordingly.
The cheating patterns are different in India too. Cheating is a crucial area that should be taken care of. As India is densely populated, it requires an automated screening process to avoid any form of cheating in any assessment.
A lot of tests in India don’t adhere to the standards of reliability and validity principle which need to be addressed quickly. Here, people think that psychometrics tests can only be used for personality tests. However, psychometrics can be used to test the mathematical and logical abilities of a student. The question for these tests should follow the psychometric principles. Indian assessment system should get the much required international exposure and inculcate these principles.
Q: What is the “shelf life or expiry date” of an average certificate today, how often one has to take tests and assessments to remain employable?
A: There are indeed some factors and some skills that change with time and candidates need to be aware of these changes. However, the skills related to personality, language skills, and cognitive skills don’t change. Only domain skills change every two to three years as per the industry requirements, the fundamentals remain the same.
The students might need to learn some new concepts to cope with the changes and upgrade their skills accordingly. They should always be ready to learn new things and there should be an openness to feedback. The candidates should possess the 21st-century skills which have become important. The workforce that we are building should be able to adapt to changes.
The students should not worry much about all these changes and should focus on building the right fundamentals. The fundamentals of skills will never change and strong fundamental skills will help them acquire new skills in the future.