Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Validity of integrity tests

Traditionally the view has been that integrity tests (actually honesty tests) have very high validity, based on an early meta-analysis (Ones, Viswesvaran, & Schmidt, 1993). Some skeptical comments have pointed out that many of the studies in this meta-analysis came directly from reports from test vendors. Yet the high validity of integrity tests it has become an established truth, and a basis for an entire industry producing integrity tests, based on Schmidt and Hunter (1998) who wrote that the g-factor + integrity is the best basis for prediction of work performance. This is probably wrong.

A current and updated meta-analysis clearly shows that validities of integrity tests are not higher than 0.2, perhaps as low as 0.1 (Van Iddekinge, Roth, Raymark, & Odle-Dusseau, 2012a, 2012b), even if they are corrected for measurement error in criteria and range restriction in the test. The earlier estimates were at level 0.4, i.e. higher than the standard personality test. It appears now that the skeptics have been right: the high validities come from test providers' own information, independent research does not confirm therm. A rather high value of validity can be obtained with self-ratings of counterproductive behavior at work, but this is not very interesting.

This is an example of how early meta-analysis can result in errors. Van Iddekinge et al. have published a very  ambitious project. The result is clear. Integrity test seems not to have significant practical value. And then we have not even discussed that such tests can easily be faked..


One, DS, Viswesvaran, C., & Schmidt, FL (1993). Comprehensive meta-analysis of integrity test validities: findings and implications for personnel selection and theories of job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology Monograph, 78, 679-703.

Schmidt, F. L. & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262-274.

Van Iddekinge, CH, Roth, PL, Raymark, PH, & Odle-Dusseau, HN (2012a). The criterion-related validity of integrity tests: An updated meta-analysis. [Doi: 10.1037/a0021196]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97 (3), 499-530.

Van Iddekinge, CH, Roth, PL, Raymark, PH, & Odle-Dusseau, HN (2012b). The critical role of the research question, inclusion criteria the, and transparency in meta-Analyses of integrity test research: A reply to Harris et al. (2012) and Ones, Viswesvaran, and Schmidt (2012). [Doi: 10.1037/a0026551]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97 (3), 543-549.

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