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Adjusting Medical School Admission: Assessing Interpersonal Skills Using Situational Judgment Tests

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Submitted By Gomez213
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Armando Gomez
SPC 1017 11:40AM
July 25, 2014

Adjusting Medical School Admission: Assessing Interpersonal Skills using Situational Judgment Tests Situational judgment tests (SJTs) are a type of psychological test, which present the test-taker with realistic, hypothetical scenarios and ask the individual to identify the most appropriate response or to rank the responses in the order they feel is most effective. SJTs can be presented to test-takers through a variety of modules, such as booklets, films, or audio recordings. SJTs represent a distinct psychometric approach from the common knowledge-based multiple choice item. They are often used in industrial-organizational psychology applications such as personnel selection. Situational judgment tests tend to determine behavioral tendencies, assessing how an individual will behave in a certain situation, and knowledge instruction, which evaluates the effectiveness of possible responses. Situational judgment tests could also reinforce the status quo with an organization. Unlike most psychological tests SJTs are not acquired 'off-the-shelf', but are in fact designed as a bespoke tool, tailor-made to suit the individual role requirements. This is because SJTs are not a type of test with respect to their content, but are a method of designing tests. Developing a situational judgment test begins with conducting a job analysis that includes collecting critical incidents. These critical incidents are used to develop different situations where the judgment of the prospective new hire would need to make a decision. Once these situations are developed, subject matter experts are asked to suggest effective and less effective solutions to the situation. Then a different group of subject matter experts rate these responses from best to worst and the test is scored with the highest ranked options giving the respondent the higher score (or lower if the test is reverse scored). The validity of the test corresponds to the types of questions being asked. Knowledge instruction questions correlate more highly with general mental ability while behavioral tendency questions correlate more highly with personality. Key results from a study show that knowledge about interpersonal behavior measured with situational judgment tests was valid for internships as well as job performance. Also, students' knowledge of interpersonal behavior showed progressive validity over cognitive factors for predicting academic and post academic success. This study was also the first study to show evidence of the predictive long-term power of interpersonal skill assessed though situational judgment tests. There are many problems within scoring SJTs. "Attempts to address this issue include expert-novice differences, where an item is scored in the direction favoring the experts after the average ratings of experts and novices on each item are compared; expert judgment, where a team of experts decides the best answer to each question; target scoring, where the test author determines the correct answer; and consensual scoring, where a score is allocated to each option according to the percentage of people choosing that option." In conclusion, this paper presents a systematic review of the emerging international research evidence for the use of situational judgement tests for testing important non-academic attributes in selection processes.

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