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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The predictive validity of an operational assessment centre Gale, Cheryl Ann


In recent years, assessment centres have become an increasingly popular approach to selecting and promoting police managers. Yet few empirical studies have been conducted on the validity of these assessment centres. The intent of this investigation was to conduct one of the first criterion-related validity studies of an assessment centre in law enforcement. Findings indicate little predictive validity of the overall assessment centre rating (OAR) with the performance appraisal measure (r=.0784, N.S.) or with the potentiality measure (r=-.0083, N.S.). Comparison of pre vs. post assessment centre recruits shows that recruits hired after implementation of the centre are rated higher in potentiality and perform better at the academy than those hired prior to the centre. There is no difference in performance appraisal measures. The study also revealed, through multiple regression, that assessment centre dimensions of stress tolerance, interpersonal sensitivity, interpersonal tolerance, integrity, practical intelligance, problem confrontation, initiative, personal impact, and fact finding were the major determinants of overall assessment ratings. Factor analysis suggests that the assessment centre ratings actually reflect only three underlying factors: overall activity and general effectiveness, interpersonal effectiveness, and probity. Results are presented with the appropriate reservations regarding methodological weaknesses. The study should not be seen as a case study, but rather as an additional source of assessment centre information of particular interest to law enforcement agencies, and also relevant to assessment centres in general.

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