Free Online Testing – is it Really all that Bad?

Free Online Testing – is it Really all that Bad?

I feel really passionately about this topic probably because as a a) career psychologist in Sydney, I am admittedly biased and apply my evidence /scientific based reasoning to everything and b) I get really concerned when clients rely on the results of such tests to make important life changing decisions.

I have worked with many clients, who prior to seeing me as a career psychologist in Sydney, jumped online and did a barrage of online personality tests. Their pursuits are never in vain and they genuinely hope to get a better understanding about themselves, some even hope to find the ‘answer’ to what they should do (career wise).

I often have to spend a fair amount of time educating clients on what a good psychometric test is and isn’t and strongly cautioning them against online testing. I always start by telling them that any good test should never be free. Simple. Then, depending on how much is charged (plus a number of other factors), the quality increases gradually across a spectrum.

So what makes a Quality Psychometric Test?

Price – to be fair, good tests are ‘owned’ and published by test publishers who charge for each test, the manual and score sheets. Yes, many of these tests are available online but that isn’t without a fee.

Reliability metrics – Technical stuff like test-retest, internal validity and reliability coefficients are all indicators of how good a test is and whether it measures what is says it measures. Most online tests (especially the free ones) do not have such data to back them. When a career psychologist or other professionals purchases such tests and associated manuals, they have data which tells them how good the test is. There is also loads of peer reviewed journal articles which also attest to a tests quality. Online tests are void of this.

Accreditation – For some tests, test administrators need to undergo training in test administration, scoring and interpretation. For a select few tests, you cannot undertake such training unless you are a psychologist. For online tests (even the good ones), tests can be emailed to clients via a link and although there is no ‘in person’ administration that happens, the results are interpreted and fed back to the client by a trained professional. With online testing that is questionable, you get fed the results directly and that’s it. You are left to your own devices to make sense of the results and figure out how they apply to your particular situation and to develop actionable steps from them.

So next time you find yourself doing a personality test on Facebook, although they are ‘fun’, think about the quality of that test before you put any weighting on the results.

If you need help with your career decision-making, contact Career Focus today to speak with a career psychologist in Sydney!

Categories : Career Focus Posted by Melinda No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *