module specification

PY7198 - Psychological Assessment at Work (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Psychological Assessment at Work
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
4 hours Placement / study abroad
101 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Applied review and client report (max 4000 words)
In-Course Test 50%   Psychometric theory - 2 hour test
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will address technical and practical aspects of recruitment, selection and assessment, development, performance appraisals, performance management and talent management that relate to performance standards and help bring about change and maintain continuous learning and development of skills and performance. The module covers the theory and principles relating to selecting and assessing people, and the management of talent.

A critical examination of theory and practice of assessment and management techniques,t this module includes techniques for job analysis, interview and assessment centre designs, psychometric measuress and utility analysis.  This module also includes introduction to concepts within the BPS Certificate of Competence in Occupational Testing. Performance management practices are provided including both evaluative and developmental philosophies towards appraisal and  competency approaches.

Module aims

This module will address key technical and practical aspects of assessment for selection and development, and the management of talent. It will explore how these factors can influence how well employees assimilate into the organisation, and maintain performance standards. It further covers the areas of performance management and associated issues such as appraisal systems, competency modelling and managing talent. This module will include training for test users in Occupational Testing as designed by the British Psychological Society.

Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of aspects and stages in the assessment of people in, or for, work settings, from analysis of the job and the attributes required to perform it effectively, through to the eventual wider impact on organisations of best practice in assessment. Students should be able to critically evaluate the nature and effectiveness of different assessment methods, including consideration of issues such as fairness, diversity and candidate reactions.


This module addresses fulfilling the organisational need to place and manage people in work positions who either have the characteristics required for effective performance or who have the capacity for further development. Changes in characteristics as a result of learning, training and development can also be assessed. 

To include selection as a predictor of job performance, including antecedents and performance determinants. Methods of job analysis and competency modelling to aid task description to derive personnel specifications.   Concepts of validity, reliability, procedural justice and fairness with reference to meta analytic and validity studies.  Relevant UK and EU legislation in relation to assessment.  Utility analysis techniques. Various selection and assessment methods are introduced including interviews, simulations, exercises for assessment centres and psychometric approaches. Theoretical and methodological approaches to the design of assessment techniques and tests are introduced. Test construction: item construction, item trialling, item analysis. To introduce key concepts and practical workshops in relation to the Occupational Testing Programme. The following will be covered:

Methods of job analysis: capability and competency profiling

  • Theories and models in assessment and selection, including consideration of reliability, validity, performance criteria and utility
  • Linking assessment from the pre-selection stage through to subsequent activities in training, appraisal, promotion and organisational change

Individual differences in personality and cognitive ability: psychometric theory and practice including test construction including online testing and assessment

  • Consideration of specific selection methods such as employment interviews, assessment centres, situational judgment tests
  • Considering the criteria for choosing and designing assessment methods including diversity, fairness and candidate perspective.

Learning and teaching

The teaching approach emphasises how theory is applied in practice, so many sessions include a practical component including case studies to highlight how occupational psychology research influences the workplace.  It also follows a community of practice philosophy and the scientist-practitioner model. Therefore the module adopts a strong experiential learning focus and consists of range of learning approaches including seminars, practical workshops, presentation, class discussions and lectures.  There is a strong use of web based learning to support learning. In order to benefit from the module, students will be expected to prepare work in advance for many of the sessions.
As part of this module, students complete a self-learning log to include an evaluation of how this module has facilitated personal development and how they have developed work psychology practitioner skills and the competencies within the BPS National Occupational Standards Framework. This results in directed personal and professional development in line with their stated PDP objectives.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the different methods of assessment , with a focus on selection and development
  2. Be able to select and implement assessment and selection techniques/processes that are appropriate to an organisation's needs and that display technical robustness
  3. Analyse assessment selection processes in terms of their implications for cultural diversity, taking into account both legal and ethical considerations.
  4. Critically analyse and have an understanding of current psychometric practice
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in the design and evaluation of assessment techniques, including test construction

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy has a strong focus on developing both academic skills like critical thinking and problem solving, and the development of professional and diagnostic skills.

Students will be expected to submit one significant piece of coursework to enable them to demonstrate achievement of the learning aims. It will contain two sections: Part A will contain a critical academic review of the literature considering evaluation of theories, models and research in relation to well-being that should then inform Part B.  Part B will consist of a client report specifically written having conducted a practical piece of work within the client context.  This section aims to assess the student ability to select and implement appropriate interventions in accordance with the client context and evaluate the implementations proposed.

Assessment components and Learning outcomes:

Coursework 1 [LO1, LO 2 LO 3, LO4  and LO5]
In class test [LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 and LO5]


British Psychological Society (2015) The Design and Delivery of Assessment Centres.   [CORE]

British Psychological Society.  Psychological Testing Centre

Brown, A (2010).  Doing less but getting more:  Improving forced-choice measures with Item Response Theory. Assessment and Development Matters, Vol 2, (1) Spring 2010

Campion, M.A., Fink, A.A.., Ruggeberg, B.J., Carr, L., Phillips, G.M., Odman, R.B (2011) Doing competencies well:  Best practices in competency modelling.  Personnel Psychology, Vol 64.

Catano V.M., Brochu, A., Lamerson, C.D (2012)  Assessing the Reliability of Situational Judgment Tests Used in High-Stakes Situations. International journal of selection and assessment, Vol 20 (3)

Coaley, K (2014)   An introduction to psychological assessment and psychometrics. Sage

Farr, J.L and Tippins, N.T (2010)  Handbook of Employee Selection.  Routledge
Guion, R. (2011) Assessment, Measurement, and Prediction for Personnel Decisions.

Gonzalez-Mulé E, Mount MK, Oh IS. (2014)  A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between General Mental Ability and Nontask Performance.  Journal of Applied Psychology Aug 18.

Humphrey, S.E (2011)  What does a great meta-analysis look like? Organizational Psychology Review, Vol 1 (2)

Keeley. S (2014)  Computerised adaptive testing.  Assessment and Development Review, Vol 6 (3) Autumn 2014.  British Psychological Society

Nikoloau, I and Oostrom, J.K (2015).  Employee recruitment, selection and assessment: Contemporary issues for theory and practice: Currenti ssues in work and organizational psychology.  Psychology Press. 

Rust J and Golombok S. (2014) Modern psychometrics – the science of psychological assessment. 3rd edition.  Routledge. (Core)

Sargeant M (2013) Discrimination and the Law. Routledge

Thornton, G III., Rupp, D.E and Hoffman, B.J. (2015).  Assessment Center perspectives for talent management strategies.  Second Edition.  Routledge

Wilson, M.A., Bennett, Winston Jr, Gibson, S.G., Alliger, G.M (2012) (Eds) The Handbook of

Work Analysis.  Methods, Systems, Applications and Science of Work Measurement in Organizations.  Routledge


International Journal of selection and assessment
Personnel Psychology
Selection and Development Review
Journal of Business and Psychology