Cognitive Assessment scoring

The PI Cognitive Assessment measures general cognitive ability and the ability to adapt, grasp, and handle complexity. It does not measure IQ or acquired knowledge, but indicates how fast an individual can be expected to acquire new knowledge.

The score is referenced against the general population norm, the average of which is 250. The norm for any given job may vary from the population norm.

The Cognitive Assessment shows how a representative part of the population is expected to score in the assessment. Thus, your score is compared to the average score of the general population. The percentages in each of the 8 fractiles of the Normal Distribution indicate what percentage of the population is expected to score within each of the areas of the distribution.

When organizations consider candidates for a job, the cognitive score should be used in combination with other relevant data such as personality, experience, education, etc.

The Cognitive Assessment score is not intended as the sole determining factor in the hiring process.

The only score on the PI Cognitive Assessment report that is intended for use in talent decision-making is the scaled score that appears at the top of the report; however, users will notice that other scores are reported as well. Some data, like percentile ranks, are provided for context and informational purposes. A third category of scores are called “raw” and “subscores,” and although they appear on the bottom left of the report, these data do not provide any meaningful information for the respondent or the test users

What are the raw and subscores?

Raw scores represent the number of items that the respondent answered correctly and the number of items that they attempted. Subscores represent the number of items that were answered correctly within each the three content categories on the assessment: Verbal, Numeric, and Abstract Reasoning. Respondents can attempt a maximum of 16 Verbal items, 18 Numerical items, and 16 Abstract Reasoning items (a maximum of 50 items total).

Why shouldn’t the raw and subscores be used for decision-making?

Raw scores are only descriptive statistics about the administration—they do not provide any accurate reflection of a respondent’s abilities. Subscores are not valid or reliable enough to support any hiring decisions, nor is there any theoretical or empirical basis for using them to evaluate candidates for a job. Remember that the PI Cognitive Assessment is designed to measure a single trait (cognitive ability), so raw subscores are simply redundant, less accurate measures that under-represent the actual ability of interest: cognitive ability.

There is no way to know if a person is strong or weak in areas of verbal, numerical, or abstract reasoning from a 12-minute cognitive assessment or if differences on these content categories are due to assessment-taker behavior (e.g., they skipped or guessed on items that appeared to take too much time). For instance, it would be a misuse of the assessment to assume that the numerical score is more important for an accounting job, or to use the numerical score to hire accountants.

Additionally, raw scores are not always comparable from person to person, depending on which revision of the assessment was taken or whether the respondent received an extended time accommodation. Conversely, scaled scores are calculated to be comparable and standardized for everyone–a person who receives a scale score of 270 is always a good match for a job with a target of 270, regardless of what revision or form of the assessment was administered. Thus, we do not recommend using the raw, verbal, numerical, or abstract reasoning scores in any manner to make talent decisions.

What does this mean in practice?

The scaled score on the PI Cognitive Assessment report is a valid, reliable measure of general cognitive ability. Although it is a strong predictor of workplace performance, it is not the only predictor and is intended for clients to use as a single data-point alongside others for talent decision-making. There is no need, nor is it recommended, for test administrators or other end-users to use raw scores or subscores for any kind of decision-making.

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