On the PI Behavioral Assessment, what are reasonable accommodations for respondents with disabilities?
Clients and other stakeholders often have questions about administering the PI Behavioral Assessment to respondents with disabilities. These questions may arise because the client needs to comply with legal requirements, or the client may be working with respondents who have disabilities and wants to make sure that they use the assessment appropriately.
Clients should feel comfortable using the PI Behavioral Assessment with most disabled populations. If a respondent’s disability requires a reasonable accommodation in order for them to take the PI Behavioral 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 the PI Behavioral Assessment. Additionally, test users should be familiar with their country and region’s legal requirements for providing reasonable accommodations and be prepared for the types of accommodations that may be needed. The following document describes the use of accommodations on the PI Behavioral Assessment in more detail.
Why might a respondent 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 respondents. Similarly, when administering assessments to respondents 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 a respondent on a mathematics assessment, but this accommodation might not be recommended on an assessment of reading ability. Test users should also remember that some respondents may need multiple accommodations.
When are reasonable accommodations needed?
Nearly all industry standards or professional guidelines for assessment development mandate that respondents 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, it is important to remember that the PI Behavioral Assessment should only be considered one data point in a decision-making process. The results of the PI Behavioral Assessment can be valid input for many selection and development 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, the requirements of the job, and the context of the assessment.
In countries like the United States where it is inappropriate to ask about disabilities prior to employment, it is primarily the responsibility of the respondent to inform the administrator if they believe they need a “reasonable accommodation” to complete the PI Behavioral Assessment. Because respondents do not always know of their right to ask for a reasonable accommodation, administrators should proactively inform candidates of their right to reasonable accommodation: “One of the assessments you will be completing is an untimed behavioral checklist assessment. If you need a reasonable accommodation, please inform me before taking the assessment.” In countries where it is acceptable to discuss potential disabilities prior to hiring a person, it is crucial that test users discuss the severity of the disability with the candidate and how it is anticipated to affect the assessment.
Note also that some countries may allow the employer to ask for proof of disability. For example, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) states that if a respondent needs a reasonable accommodation, then an employer may ask the respondent to provide documentation (e.g., a signed letter from a medical professional) proving that they cannot complete the assessment in its current form. Ultimately, a medical professional should make a recommendation for the type of accommodation that is needed; however, the test user should let the respondents know in advance of what accommodations can be provided.
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 respondents who have disabilities. Nevertheless, it is important for clients to know their responsibilities and the rights of their respondents with regards to assessment accommodations under their country’s laws. The following section discusses disabilities and accommodations as they pertain to the PI Behavioral Assessment.
What accommodations might be needed for the PI Behavioral Assessments?
The PI Behavioral Assessment can be used with most disabled populations without any modification or accommodation. The PI Behavioral Assessment is an untimed assessment that uses an adjective checklist format, and the respondent can control many aspects of the delivery mode and context. Nevertheless, test users should still be prepared to provide a reasonable accommodation in appropriate circumstances. In cases where a disability might prevent the respondent from understanding the content of the assessment, use of the PI Behavioral Assessment is not recommended.
Reasonable accommodations address the specific disability and its potential interaction with aspects of the assessment design and administration. At a very high level, one can consider three categories of disabilities: physical or sensory disabilities, psychological disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. One can also consider their interactions with three aspects of the PI Behavioral Assessment: context, content, and response. Note that other assessments may require consideration of additional needs and factors, such as the opportunity to learn the content, but this document is focusing only on the relevant considerations for the PI Behavioral Assessment.
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. Fortunately, in the PI Behavioral Assessment, the respondent 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 respondent 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 respondent has control over much of the format, and these changes will not impact the validity of the results.
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 PI Behavioral Assessment anywhere, even in 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. The PI Behavioral Assessment is very short, but there is no time limit. These respondents can spend as much time as they like on the 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. The PI Behavioral Assessment 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 PI Behavioral Assessment, there are no restrictions. If a respondent feels that they need the use of a resource or tool, such as a dictionary or scratch paper, they are welcome to use these resources.
The content of the PI Behavioral Assessment (including all of its translations) has gone through a bias review, and the content is not expected to result in any irrelevant score variance in disabled subpopulations. The content of the PI Behavioral Assessment is also 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 respondent 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 respondents who have psychological disabilities. The PI Behavioral Assessment is a normal measure of personality, described with five behavioral factors: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, Formality, and Objectivity. It has never been shown to be linked to 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 relations to 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.
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, a reasonable 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.
Finally, remember that the PI Behavioral Assessment includes the results. Respondents who need a reader for the assessment may also need to have an assistant read their PI Behavioral Assessment report to them.
The PI Behavioral Assessment is appropriate for most disabled adult populations. Given that the assessment can be delivered on most devices without a proctor, most respondents are not expected to need any accommodations to take the assessment. Nevertheless, test users are encouraged to let respondents know that they may request reasonable accommodations in order to ensure that respondents are able to provide their responses and produce valid assessment results. Test users should be familiar with their country’s laws relating to disabilities, especially as they relate to employment and assessment.