Using standardized tests to assess a person’s cognitive and learning ability is a common practice in all kinds of institutions and has been debated for years. The primary purpose of such tests is to screen out large number of applications that don’t meet the minimum requirements. The key to correct use of such tests is to ensure the content, format and process of taking the test matches with the requirements of the job.
The Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT) is used to gauge general intelligence of a person and determine if the person meets the minimum aptitude required to perform a specific job. The test takes only 12 minutes to complete and is not tailored for specific jobs or functions. The test seems to be very basic and I would strictly use it only to eliminate candidates that I am sure I would not consider for employment. Typically, such tests should be used as one of many factors in making an employment decision.
The New London Police Department used the Wonderlic Personnel Test as part of the selection process to identify applicants that are better suited for the job of a police officer. Police officers typically perform a wide variety of law enforcement duties that require the ability to handle difficult situations and act quickly. Wonderlic suggested the minimum score on the test for police patrol officer was 22 and an “appropriate” score ranged from 20 to 28. There is no evidence or research that substantiates this recommendation.
Robert Jordan vs New London Police Department
Robert Jordan has a bachelor’s degree in literature and worked as an insurance salesman and part-time security guard. He applied to be a police officer in New London, but was deemed ineligible because he had scored 33 out of 50 on the WPT. New London Police Department (NLPD) believed that the score was too high based on the guidelines set by Wonderlic.
NLPD claimed that police work is a “boring job” and if officers are not challenged on the...