The most common question I get asked about DISC tests and reports is, “aren’t DISC results just about how I was feeling or thinking about at the time?”
My reply, as it often is, would be Sharon’s standard answer number one, “it depends.” Question number two is, in this case, as again, it often is: “What’s the context?”
If the questionnaire is a simple tick and flick on paper, my answer would be simple, Yes, the results would most likely only be about how I was feeling or thinking about at the time, and I would expect you to conclude that you can easily consciously and/or unconsciously influence the outcome/results. I would recommend this type of DISC test for personal entertainment and a very basic introduction to the four fundamental human behavioural styles, only.
If the context is using the results for personal development one, or in a workplace environment, which is where we at Talent Tools operate, I would have a more in depth answer conversation. Let’s recap. What was the original question?
“Aren’t DISC results just about how I was feeling or thinking about at the time?”
My response this time would be, “it depends on the validity and reliability of the questionnaire.”
In this article, I am going to discuss “validity”. Reliability can be the exciting topic for my next post.
Most people have an idea of the meaning of the word “validity” or “valid”; and most people would be right. The free online dictionary by Farlex, defines “valid” as:
val·id (vld) adj.
1. Well grounded; just: a valid objection.
2. Producing the desired results; efficacious: valid methods.
3. Having legal force; effective or binding: a valid title.
a. Containing premises from which the conclusion may logically be derived: a valid argument.
b. Correctly inferred or deduced from a premise: a valid conclusion.
5. Archaic Of sound health; robust.
Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/validity on 23 September 2013
I am confident you go that right.
In science and statistics, validity is more defined as, “the extent to which a concept, conclusion or measurement is well-founded and corresponds accurately to the real world. The word “valid” is derived from the Latin validus, meaning strong, which explains why we often talk about a test having “strong validity”. The validity of a measurement tool (for example, a test in education) is considered to be the degree to which the tool measures what it claims to measure.” So we are starting to get more stringent in our expectations of “validity” when we look at tests in science and statistics.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity_(statistics) on 23 September 2013
However, in the world of psychometrics, “validity” has a very particular meaning, which is well described by the revered source of wiki, to explore “validity” as it refers to DISC tests/questionnaires.
“In psychometrics, validity has a particular application known as test validity: “the degree to which evidence and theory support the interpretations of test scores” (“as entailed by proposed uses of tests”).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity_(statistics) on 23 September 2013
To be classified as “validated” requires a test/questionnaire to jump through many hoops. Those hoops are described below. When a test/questionnaire has been through a validation process, it can claim “validity” and is then usually referred to as an “instrument” rather than a test/questionnaire. And as a result of being subjected to a validation process is will have a “Validation Report” providing its scores against each segment of the validation process.
Now, to further muddy the waters, not all validation processes are created equal. The extent or vigor of the validation process itself, can vary from low to high. Additionally the validity scores achieved by the of the instrument will vary vastly. A validated instrument, could have achieved poor validity scores, but, it is still a validated instrument.
An extensive and rigorous validation process will include achieving high (or sometimes low, depending on the element of validation) scores in at least, all of the validation methodologies described below.
What was that simple question we started with again, “Aren’t the results just about how I was feeling or thinking about at the time?”. If you purchased them through Talent Tools, no they will be precise reports based on a highly validated (and reliable) instrument.
Now, I bet you can’t wait to find out about “reliability”.
Test Validity is further broken down into its components:
- 1 Test validity
- 1.1 Reliability (consistency) and validity (accuracy) – to what degree does the test/questionnaire measures what it is supposed to measure – workplace behaviour.
- 1.2 Construct validity – the practical tests developed from a theory) do actually measure what the theory says they do. For example, to what extent is the test/questionnaire actually measuring DISC styled behaviours”?
- 1.2.1 Convergent validity – the extent of correlation of test/questionnaire results with those of other already validated test/questionnaire based on the same (DISC) theory.
- 1.3 Content validity – determine whether the test/questionnaire covers a representative sample of the behaviours to be measured”
- 1.3.1 Representation validity – the extent to which the underlying DISC theory has been turned into a specific practical test
- 1.3.2 Face validity – whether a test appears to the candidate to measure what they expected it to measure ( interestingly, when a test is subject to faking , e.g. DISC, more honest answers are achieved with lower face validity)
- 1.4 Criterion validity – this compares the test outcomes (results) with results that are already held to be valid. For example, employee selection DISC tests results are often validated by comparison against the results of existing employees who demonstrate high measures of actual job performance.
- 1.4.1 Concurrent validity – the tests are undertaken at the same time for comparison purposes.
- 1.4.2 Predictive validity – the tests of the results already held to be valid have been collected at an earlier time to be compared with test results when required.