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Dyslexia and psychometric testing: Ensuring fairness & accuracy

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Wooden letter tiles scattered around a paper cut-out of a brain on a marble surface, representing the impact of dyslexia on psychometric assessments.

Understanding dyslexia’s impact on psych testing

Navigating the world of psychometric testing can be daunting for individuals with dyslexia, a condition that can significantly affect test performance, especially when it comes to cognitive ability assessments.

However, this doesn’t mean that individuals with dyslexia should be excluded from these important evaluations. Dyslexia manifests differently in each individual, so understanding the specific challenges one faces is crucial.

We sometimes suggest that individuals with dyslexia attempt the tests regardless. Sometimes the outcomes are better than expected, which can mean that the dyslexia is unlikely to significantly impact job performance.

However, if the results are not as favourable, it presents an opportunity to consider dyslexia in the interpretation of the results, with our guidance. This ensures a fair assessment of the individual’s capabilities.

On the other hand, untimed assessments, such as personality, values, and emotional intelligence tests, are generally unaffected by dyslexia. While it may take someone with dyslexia longer to complete these, the results are considered reliable and fair.

Being informed about the nature of dyslexia and its impact on testing leads to more accurate and equitable outcomes.

The impact of dyslexia on psychometric assessments

Watch the video to understand how dyslexia can affect performance on psychometric testing, which assessments are most affected, and how you can mitigate the effects and take dyslexia into account.

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

How dyslexia affects performance on psychometric tests

Can a person with dyslexia sit psych tests?

The answer is probably yes, but it depends a little on the nature of dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not vanilla. It can affect different people in different ways.

So if the person has a diagnosis, maybe get that person to interact directly with SACS, and we will reassure them about the process, but also understand more deeply how it might affect their results.

How dyslexia can skew cognitive ability scores

When it does affect their results, it typically affects their cognitive ability results, which is to say that dyslexia causes a slowing down in the speed of responding to written information.

And so that will artificially deflate a person’s cognitive ability scores in a timed cognitive ability assessment.

One of the things that we sometimes recommend is that, ask them if they’re happy to sit the test anyway because what we’ve sometimes discovered is that the results are better than you might have hoped, and therefore, it’s not likely to be a problem at work.

Now, if the results are not good, it gives you an opportunity to simply take the dyslexia into account with our help in that process, take the dyslexia into account in interpreting the results.

Assessing personality, values and emotional intelligence

The second class of assessments is untimed, so things like personality assessments, values assessments, emotional intelligence assessments, and that can be held, in the most part, to be unaffected by most forms of dyslexia.

So you can rely on the results of those.

Even though it might take a little longer for the person to complete, the results shouldn’t be morphed or artificially changed in some way by the dyslexia.

As ever, if you need any other help or guidance on this topic, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us.

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Andrew Marty

Managing Director at SACS Consulting

Andrew is a qualified psychologist who has over 25 years of human resource management consulting experience, including extensive senior executive search and selection experience.

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