Original Research - Special Collection: COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on psychometric assessment across industry and academia in South Africa

Mandy Wigdorowitz, Pakeezah Rajab, Tasneem Hassem, Neziswa Titi
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 3 | a38 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v3i0.38 | © 2021 Mandy Wigdorowitz, Pakeezah Rajab, Tasneem Hassem, Neziswa Titi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 October 2020 | Published: 31 March 2021

About the author(s)

Mandy Wigdorowitz, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom; and, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Pakeezah Rajab, Department of Product Management, JVR Psychometrics, Randburg, South Africa
Tasneem Hassem, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Neziswa Titi, Children’s Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had changed the world in unexpected ways and psychometric assessment was no exception. Despite the advancements made in online psychometric assessment implementation, the authors of this commentary reflected on their own experiences in the context of the psychology profession in South Africa, where psychology professionals had been faced with the dilemma of halting, postponing or adapting assessments for remote implementation. Remote implementation had many challenges, notably shifting the logistics, financial burden and accountability onto the test-taker. In addition, when implementing remote testing, considerations of supervised and unsupervised testing need to be considered in terms of flexibility, control, test-taker comfort, standardisation, costs, ethical concerns and crisis management. Whilst in the private sector, remote psychometric assessment had been met with resilience and innovation, in academia, remote psychometric research was faced with unique challenges which affect all aspects of the research process and access to participation. Across both industry and academia where psychometric assessments were conducted, the scores and results need to be interpreted with reflection and caution as the pandemic had led to an increase in psychological distress in addition to the unique contextual challenges that South Africa already faced.

Keywords

academia; COVID-19 pandemic; industry; mental health; psychometric assessment; South Africa; remote testing

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