Top 4 highlights from the DOP Conference 2017

Behavioural Development
Published January 12, 2017

As is the case every year, one week on from the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) Conference and my mind is still racing with the insights, connections, discoveries and re-discoveries that this year’s DOP Conference 2017 has brought.

So, if I had to distill it down to my top 4 highlights, what would they be?

1. Behavioural assessment in a digital age: workshop

Having the opportunity to run a workshop myself this year, alongside my colleague Ross McGarrigle, was certainly a highpoint. We adapted our standard Assessor Skills training course to focus more on technology in assessment, and gave delegates the opportunity to use different assessment platforms while practicing the core assessing ORCE (Observe, Record, Classify, Evaluate) process in two different exercises. It promoted a lot of interesting discussion and delegates seemed to enjoy the experience and found it useful.

2. Game-based assessment

The theme of technology in the occupational psychology space grows every year. This year, game-based and gamified assessment were stand out subjects. We saw preliminary research to support the use of game-based assessment as a fair way of conducting implicit (i.e. unconscious) assessment of aspects of personality and cognition, thus making them more robust against impression management (or faking). However, other research presented suggested that “gamifying” standard ability tests can actually change what is being assessed, therefore invalidating the assessment. These issues will become increasingly critical for practitioners to address as technology in assessment becomes more prevalent.

3. Stereotypes

I was reminded of the pervasive nature of stereotypes and biases at various times during the conference. First, Keynote speaker Susan Fiske showed that over the last 70 years, negative attitudes towards minority groups have become less explicitly reported but are still as prevalent.  She went on to demonstrate how implicit stereotypes affect not only how we speak to others in the workplace, but also how we speak to about others infer information relating to common stereotypes from what we don’t say about the other person. A session from Helen Baron later in the conference highlighted how underlying stereotypes, expectations and biases affect our assessment practice, even if we’ve been trained.

4. Modular and fast assessments

My last highlight was from Professor Filip Lievens who presented a modular approach to assessment design to encourage innovation. He split out the various options for response and stimulus formats to create a “mix and match” approach (see table below). We have been using various methods in our own assessment design at a&dc to best meet client contexts and requirements as technologies have become available. However, the act of breaking assessments down to their building blocks and using a framework on which to hang new assessments allows us to look at the impacts of the assessment method in much greater detail. For example, Lievens highlighted a finding of ratings in favour of males when using video recorded responses for a role associated with males, although females performed better when written responses were used and gender was kept hidden. Stereotypes rear their heads again!

Modular approach to assessment, example table:

Modular approach to assessment

Overall, another great conference and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Author: Helen Worrall



    Read more in Development