CPG Basics: The Situational Judgment Test Starter Kit

  • Psych Basics Situational Judgment Tests

Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) continue to evolve as a predictor of performance. This type of instrument presents realistic events that may occur at work with a range of viable options to solve the problem. There have been countless empirical studies and findings to easily summarize in one blog post. Therefore, the present post briefly describes some of the basic findings that are well known in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. These articles are a great jumping off point to learn more about SJTs and how they contribute to the measurement of performance.

1. SJTs are a relatively strong predictor of performance.

A validity coefficient of 0.34 was found with performance. This statistic comes close to the measurement ability of cognitive ability with performance. This provides further evidence that SJTs are an appropriate method for predicting performance. McDaniel, M., Morgeson, F., Finnegan, E., Campion, M., & Braverman, E. (2001). Use of situational judgment tests to predict job performance: A clarification of the literature. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 730-740. 

2. There are multiple ways to develop, scale, and score a SJT.

There are many issues that arise when constructing a SJT such as item-stem content, response option content, response instructions, response effectiveness, and scoring methods. All of these aspects have different approaches to satisfy the requirements of the SJT. There is no consensus for one way to construct a SJT. Weekley, J., Ployhart, R.,  Holtz, B. (2006). On the development of situational judgment tests: Issues in item development, scaling, and scoring. In J.A. Weekley & R.E. Ployhart (Eds.), Situational Judgment Tests: Theory, Measurement and Application (pp. 157-182). Mahway, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbuam Associates.  

 3. SJTs are not “fake proof.”

When asked to appear more positively when responding to a SJT, participants were able to increase their score. However, there is still a larger effect for faking on a personality inventory compared to a SJT. Smith, K., Sydell, E., Snell, A., Haas, A., & McDaniel, M. (1999).  Flanagan’s critical incident technique meet the faking controversy. Paper presented at the 14th annual conference of Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

 4. Administering a SJT can result in positive applicant reactions.

Administers of the instrument should attend to face validity, the perceptions of interpersonal fairness, the information shared before the administration, and the explanation of the instrument after testing. All of these components influence applicant reactions of the instrument. Bauer, T., Truxillo, D. (2006). Applicant reactions to situational judgment tests: Research and related practical issues. In J.A. Weekley & R.E. Ployhart (Eds.), Situational Judgment Tests: Theory, Measurement and Application (pp. 233-247). Mahway, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbuam Associates. 



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Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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