Friday, December 18, 2009

More Difficult Than I Thought

One of the drivers of the quest for improved examining and interviewing was equal employment opportunity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management ( the Federal government's central human resources office, then called the Civil Service Commission) issued The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures in 1978 to address the need for "a uniform set of principles on the question of the use of tests and other selection procedures." The two major issues in examining are validity (does the exam measure what it's supposed to measure) and reliability (is it consistent in its results).

Though I can't find the citation now, I remember a discussion about examining for the professions that was the material issued by the agencies to assist in implementation of the Guidelines. It made mention of peer examining because of the difficulty of quantifying competence in the professions.

At the time, I wondered whether this latitude given to the professions might have been due to pressure (or expected pressure) from the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, etc. Now my experience as a Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee (MFC) liaison to candidates has given me a new appreciation of the difficulties of examining in the professions while affirming my conviction of the importance of doing so.

I will be making suggestions for changes in MFC processes in the days to come. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you'd suggest.

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