Monday, February 23, 2009

The Fatigue-o-meter vigilance monitoring system and
Psychometric testing instruments

The following notes are provide to assist decision makers in understanding the basic design difference between the Fatigue-o-meter vigilance monitoring system and traditional psychometric tools used for employee evaluation and selection:

The primary design objective of psychometric instrumentation used for the selection and evaluation of human ability, is to perform a reliable and valid comparison between the tested individual and a fair sample of comparable individuals who make up the statistical norms for the test. Therefore the following questions are important issues which the instrument should address:

· What would represent good performance on the test?
· Where does the tested individual lie relative to the normal distribution of

test result as recorded by the sample making up the norms tables?

Amongst the many basic human assumptions included in psychometric instrument design, is the assumption that the tested human property is normally distributed.

The Fatigue-o-meter instrument starts with the same design assumption as described above and it is quite clear that the human capabilities assessed by means of this instrument are generally normally distributed amongst the tested population. This is borne out by the declared statistics describing the internal consistency of the Fatigue-o-meter instrument, as well as all empirical data collected over the last number of years.

The primary design objective which guided the developers of the Fatigue-o-meter was however, quite different from the traditional selection and assessment instruments, in that it is clearly acknowledged in accident research that the normal individual abilities of the tested individual may vary quite significantly as a result of emotional or physiological fatigue, illness, stress loads induced by anxiety, chemical substances, etc.

Fatigue-o-meter measures these individual variances in human reaction and decision making and is only concerned with one question:

“ What is the current state of the tested individual, compared to their own normal performance ranges on the instrument?”

The designers of the Fatigue-o-meter instrument believe strongly that whereas traditional instrumentation should be used to select and place the employees who meet the best psychometric profile given the requirements of the job, this decision which is taken at a specific point in time cannot provide a guarantee that the tested individual does not TODAY suffer from a serious debilitation as a result of any of the above temporary states.

The only reliable norm to base this decision on, is the normal performance of the individual and NOT the norm population.

Dr P J van der Merwe
Manspec Selection and Development Services (Pty) Ltd
February 2009



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