Fair testing in employment selection

  • Rajvinder S. Kandola

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This project represents the collaboration of Charta Mede Ltd and the Interdisciplinary Higher Degrees Scheme at the University of Aston. The aim of the project was to monitor the effects of the Civil Service's Executive Officer Qualifying Test Battery on minority group applicants. Prior to monitoring the EO Test Battery, however, an ethnic classification had to be developed which was reliable, acceptable to respondents and appropriate for monitoring. Three pilot studies were conducted to examine these issues, during which different classifications and different ways of asking the question were trialled. The results indicated that by providing more precise instructions as to the meanings of categories, it was possible to obtain classifications which were acceptable and reliable. However, there were also certain terms and expressions which should be avoided such as those referring to colour and anthropological racial groups. Two classifications were used in the Executive Officer Study - one derived from an Office of Population Censuses and Surveys classification and one developed for this project - the MultiCultural British Classification. The results indicated that some minority groups (Asians, West Indians and Africans in particular) pass the tests in significantly lower proportions than the majority group and also score significantly less well on the tests. Factors which were significantly related to pass/fail and test scores included educational qualifications and age on entering the UK (the latter being negatively correlated). Using variables in this study, however, it was only possible to account for 5% of the variance in pass/fail rates and 11% of the variance in test scores. Analyses of covariance carried out indicated that the differences in test scores still remained even though the effects of significantly correlated variables were removed. Although indirect discrimination could not be inferred from the data, further research into differential validity and fairer methods of select ion is needed.
Date of Award1985
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorI.A. Robertson (Supervisor)


  • fair testing
  • employment selection
  • race
  • equal opportunity
  • discrimination
  • tests

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