section one

What is Criterion Validity?

Criterion validity relates to whether a psychometric assessment predicts certain real-world outcomes which are associated with the psychological construct it measures. For example, cognitive ability tests are well known predictors of job performance, and thus a common criterion validity study will involve showing a positive association between cognitive ability test scores and manager ratings. If the assessment displays a sufficiently strong, positive correlation with manager ratings, this represents evidence of criterion validity.

0:42 Lead consultant, Ben Schwencke, explains criterion validity.
If the assessment shows little-no relationship with manager ratings, this suggests that the assessment lacks criterion validity.

Criterion validity offers a range of advantages and drawbacks. In the context of employee selection, criterion validity is highly desirable, as the objective of pre-employment assessments is to predict job performance, culture-fit, or employee retention. Showing that assessments predict these outcomes is advantageous, highlighting the utility of the assessment in practice. However, criterion validity does not necessarily imply construct validity. For example, a test designed to measure numerical reasoning may effectively predict performance in the workplace, but could in actuality be measuring a different construct, such as verbal reasoning or logical reasoning. This could result in redundancy in the selection process if that employer is already using a verbal or logical reasoning test elsewhere.