Behavioral and Cognitive Assessment AccommodationsNot a PI Client? Request a Demo
What are potential accommodations for respondents with disabilities on PI’s assessments?
Clients and other stakeholders often have questions about administering the PI Behavioral Assessment and PI Cognitive Assessment to assessment takers with disabilities. These questions may arise because the client needs to comply with legal requirements, or the client may be working with assessment takers who have disabilities and wants to make sure that they use the assessments appropriately.
Clients should feel comfortable using PI’s assessments with most populations, including those of individuals with disabilities. If an assessment taker’s disability requires an accommodation in order for them to take the PI Behavioral Assessment and/or PI Cognitive Assessment, clients are encouraged to provide such accommodations as appropriate. Most accommodations will not change the validity or interpretations of the results.
This document is intended to provide a summary of accommodations as they relate to the use of PI’s assessments. Additionally, clients should be familiar with their country and region’s legal requirements for providing accommodations and be prepared for the types of accommodations that may be needed.
Why might an assessment taker need an accommodation?
For any assessment, test administrators have a responsibility to minimize irrelevant factors that might impact the results. For example, you wouldn’t administer an achievement test during a fire alarm, since it would distract the assessment takers. Similarly, when administering assessments to assessment takers with disabilities, test users should know whether the assessment is appropriate for people who have that disability, and if so, whether there are any aspects of the test design or administration that might affect the respondent’s score because of the disability.
Not all disabilities require an accommodation, and an accommodation on one assessment may not be appropriate for another. For example, a reader might read items aloud to an assessment taker on a mathematics assessment, but this accommodation might not be recommended on an assessment of reading ability. Test users should also remember that some assessment takers may need multiple accommodations.
When are accommodations needed?
Nearly all industry standards or professional guidelines for assessment development mandate that assessment takers be provided with reasonable accommodations or alternative evaluation procedures to minimize irrelevant score variance and invalid decision-making. Examples of such standards include:
- The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education)
- Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology)
- Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
When considering the appropriate use of the PI Behavioral Assessment and PI Cognitive Assessment, it is important to remember that each assessment should only be considered a single data point in the decision making process. The results of these assessments can be valid input for many selection decisions; however, the results are not intended to be used in isolation. Test users should consider a variety of inputs based on their specific use case and the requirements of the job (e.g., resume review, interviews).
In countries, like the United States, where it is impermissible to ask about disabilities prior to employment, it is primarily the responsibility of the assessment taker to inform the administrator if they believe they need a “reasonable accommodation” to complete assessments. Because many assessment takers are not aware of their right to ask for a reasonable accommodation, administrators should proactively inform them: “One of the assessments you will be completing is an untimed behavioral checklist assessment. If you believe you may need an accommodation or if you are unsure, please inform me before taking the assessment.” Or: “One of the assessments you will be completing is a timed cognitive ability assessment. If you believe you may need an accommodation or you are unsure, please inform me before taking the assessment.”
In countries where potential employers are permitted to ask about disabilities prior to hiring a person, it is crucial that clients discuss with the candidate whether the disability may affect the assessment.
Due to the design of the PI Behavioral Assessment and the flexibility in administration mode, most test users will not need to make any changes to accommodate assessment takers who have disabilities. However, accommodations might be more common on the PI Cognitive Assessment due to its timed nature and variety of questions.
What accommodations might be needed for PI’s assessments?
In cases where a disability might prevent the respondent from understanding the content of the assessment, use of that particular assessment is not recommended.
At a very high level, one can consider three categories of disabilities:
- Physical or sensory disabilities
- Psychological disabilities
- Cognitive disabilities
One can also consider their interactions with three aspects of PI’s assessments:
Context refers to the conditions under which the assessment is administered, as well as aspects of the assessment design, such as instructions and language format. In the PI Behavioral Assessment, the assessment taker has control over many aspects of the context, so they can take the PI Behavioral Assessment in a context that is most appropriate for them, without ever requesting accommodations. For example, common context accommodations for other assessments may include things like extended time, private testing rooms, extra resources, or special equipment like screen magnifiers, but the PI Behavioral Assessment can be taken by the assessment taker without an administrator present, and there are no time limits. As such, the test user does not need to make any changes for the administration—the assessment taker has control over much of the format, and these changes will not impact the validity of the results.
This differs from the PI Cognitive Assessment in that it is a 12-minute timed assessment. There are also time-and-a-half (18 minute) and double-time (24 minute) versions of the assessment. The process for requesting and determining requirements for extra time will vary by company, locality, and country.
Some respondents who have physical, psychological, or cognitive disabilities may benefit from taking assessments in a quiet, private space. They are free to take the assessment anywhere, including the comfort of their home.
Consider also respondents with disabilities that might warrant extra time to read content or to take breaks during an assessment. These respondents can spend as much time as they like on the Behavioral Assessment and there are extended time options for the Cognitive Assessment.
Some respondents may have a physical or sensory disability for which they require special equipment or presentation to be able to interact with the assessment. Our assessments can be delivered on computers, tablets, and smartphones, and the respondent is free to use their own device so that they can have control over screen contrast, text size, and keyboard and mouse inputs with the equipment of their choice.
The PI Behavioral Assessment is also available in a printed format for most languages, as well as a printed braille/large text English form for visually-impaired respondents.
While respondents are not expected to need any additional resources to respond to the assessments, there are no restrictions. If a respondent feels that they need the use of a resource or tool, such as scratch paper, they are welcome to use these resources.
The content of the PI Behavioral Assessment is written at a very basic reading level. The English version of the assessment is measured to have a reading level appropriate for 8- or 9-year-old children across three readability scales: Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, SMOG Index, and Automated Readability Index.
As such, the PI Behavioral Assessment content is expected to be accessible for most of the adult population, even if they have a disability that impacts reading or verbal comprehension. If, however, the assessment taker has a disability which will severely limit their ability to understand the instructions or content of the assessment, then use of the PI Behavioral Assessment is not recommended.
The content of the PI Behavioral Assessment is also considered appropriate for use with assessment takers who have psychological disabilities. The PI Behavioral Assessment is a normal measure of personality, described with five workplace behavioral factors: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, Formality, and Objectivity. The assessment does not test for, nor can it identify any psychological disorders.
This distinction is made for the PI Behavioral Assessment because other Five Factor assessments include scales for Emotional Stability (or Neuroticism) that have been shown to have weak relationships with personality-based disorders and anxiety disorders. The PI Behavioral Assessment does not include an Emotional Stability scale, and the assessment results are expected to be valid for respondents with similar psychological disabilities.
In terms of the PI Cognitive Assessment, there are a number of questions that measure abstract reasoning and involve recognizing patterns or differences in shapes on screen. Accordingly, the PI Cognitive Assessment is not appropriate to use with assessment takers with visual impairment severe enough that it would prevent them from recognizing the shapes on a screen. Alternative selection procedures should be used for such candidates.
Despite the flexibility in context, there may be occasional situations where a disability will make it difficult for a respondent to provide their responses to the PI Behavioral Assessment. For example, a visually-impaired respondent who does not know English braille may not be able to read the items, or a respondent with a physical disability may not be able to input responses to the assessment on a computer or on the paper form. In these conditions, an accommodation may be to employ a human aid, such as a reader or a scribe to help the respondent take the PI Behavioral Assessment and record their responses.
If a disability prevents someone from being able to read the items in the PI Behavioral Assessment, it is permissible to have a reader assist the respondent. The reader should read the instructions aloud and then read each adjective in the checklist one at a time, stopping after each adjective to let the respondent choose whether or not to endorse it. The respondent may ask the reader to repeat the instructions or the adjectives. Similarly, if a disability prevents the respondent from being able to record the response, a scribe can be used to enter their responses. The respondent should be allowed to review and confirm the scribe’s entries before submission.
Readers, scribes, or other assistants should not be involved with the hiring process and should keep the respondent’s responses confidential. Readers and scribes should not provide any guidance to the respondent or provide any help with interpretation of the adjectives, although they may answer questions about the administration of the test.
Due to its timed nature, we do not recommend the use of readers or scribes with the PI Cognitive Assessment. If an assessment taker requires a reader or scribe, we recommend using alternative selection procedures instead of the PI Cognitive Assessment. As previously mentioned, the PI Cognitive Assessment is not appropriate for use with assessment takers with visual impairments that would preclude them from recognizing shape patterns on screen.
PI’s assessments are appropriate for the general adult population, including most populations of individuals with disabilities. Given that the assessments can be delivered on most devices without a proctor, most assessment takers are not expected to need any accommodations to take the assessment. Nevertheless, test users are encouraged to explain to the assessment taker how the assessment is administered and proactively let them know that they may request reasonable accommodations in order to ensure that they are able to provide their responses and produce valid assessment results. Test users should be familiar with local and regional laws relating to disabilities, especially as they relate to employment and assessment.