Test-Score Banding in Human Resource Selection

Legal, Technical, and Societal Issues

by Herman Aguinis


Scrutinizes the use of test-score banding, a human resources method of selection that uses gender, ethnicity and other qualities as tie-breakers to address the inaccuracy of test scores.

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February 2004


Pages 248
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/Human Resources
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Virtually everyone is subjected to one form or another of testing. We are tested to get into schools and once we are in schools. We are often tested when we apply for a job and once we get a job. In spite of the pervasiveness and criticality of decisions made based on test scores, testing has been, and continues to be, a source of controversy. Is testing equally fair to all people? Are decisions based on tests fair to all members of society? Test-score banding is a method to interpret test scores that takes into account the fact that tests used in human resource selection are never perfectly accurate. This book analyzes the use of test-score banding from technical, legal, and societal points of view. It includes controversial arguments in favor and against the use of test-score banding, useful guidelines for practice, and innovative suggestions for research.

For the past decade, organizations have relied on banding to select employees by forming groups of bands of applicants based on their scores on tests, interviews, and any other measure. Because test scores are never perfectly accurate, these bands render applicants within the same band indistinguishable. Secondary criteria, such as ethnicity and gender, then are used to break the tie, allowing organizations to increase diversity by increasing the proportion of employees who are members of underrepresented groups.

Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction to Test-Score Banding in Human Resource Selection by Herman AguinisSocial and Technical Issues in Staffing Decisions by Wayne F. Cascio, Irwin L. Goldstein, James Outtz, and Sheldon ZedeckA Comparison of Test-Focused and Criterion-Focused Banding Methods by Paul J. Hanges and Hilary J. GettmanBanding: Background and General Management Purpose by Robert M. GuionLegal and Practical Implications of Banding for Personnel Selection by Gerald V. Barrett and Sarah B. LuekeStatistical Weights of Ability and Diversity in Selection Decisions by Neal Schmitt and Frederick L. OswaldEffects of Banding on Performance and Minority Hiring by Roxanne M. Laczo and Paul SackettSED Banding as a Test of Scientific Values in I/O Psychology by Frank Schmidt and John E. HunterConflicting Values and Interests in Banding Research and Practice by Kevin R. MurphyWill Banding Benefit My Organization? by Herman Aguinis and Erika HardenAuthor IndexSubject IndexAbout the Editor and Contributors



[P]resents a comprehensive analyis of psychometric and human resource findings as well as underlying legal principles that have developed around the use of test-score banding in personnel selection. It also highlights a divisive issue within industrial--organization psychology....[a]n up-to-date, objective, and definitive treatment of score banding. Most important, it highlights when score banding may or may not work and can serve as a guide for those organizations that will consider using, or are using, score banding. It provides a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of this selection process, and it points out the key references in the research literature and in the various court challenges that have been made....This collection of chapters will be useful for both researchers and practitioners.—PsyCritiques

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