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Assessment for the 2020s: An Epic Event in Atlanta

By Nikki Blacksmith LEC Planning Committee Member

The time has finally come! Next week SIOP’s 2019 Leading Edge Consortium, Advancing the Edge: Assessment for the 2020s (LEC) is taking place.

The 2019 LEC will address a timely and significant issue facing our field: the fast-paced evolution of the assessment field.

For those of you attending, get ready: We have a fantastic lineup of speakers! We believe we're at a critical juncture in the assessment field and hope that by bringing together thought leaders and professionals, we can have a lively discussion about where the field needs to head. Assessment is a hot topic right now; I see an article about artificial intelligence and hiring or how technology is changing recruitment and hiring almost every day. If you haven’t recently seen or read an article about how machine learning and new advanced technologies are changing the assessment landscape (in both positive and negative ways), then you need to get out more. In the meantime, you can catch up by reading some recent reports and articles in the media to get a quick (albeit tiny) glimpse of how assessment is evolving drastically:

The LEC will cover a wide range of issues in the assessment space, including technological advances and trends, new regulations and policies, scientific advancements, and innovative use of assessments. Below is a sneak peek of the event. (See the full program here)

But first, a big THANK YOU to all of our partners and sponsors for it all happen!

Advances & Trends

Technology-enhanced assessments for selection and development have increasingly flourished over the past several decades. In fact, we are seeing a rise in the amount of venture capital funding being poured into HR technology. According to one report, in Q1 of 2019, $1.74 billion was invested in HR tech ($722 million in talent acquisition software). Compare that to $677 million, which was the amount invested in all of 2017. Darko Lovric (Incandescent) will kick off the conference by giving a venture capital perspective on people analytics.

Sophisticated technologies that weren’t possible even a few years ago can now be used to enhance assessment. For example, new technological trends include using chatbots to screen candidates, using facial recognition and video in job interviews, and automating job interviews. Nathan Mondragon (HireVue) will present on successful uses of AI for candidate evaluation, Suzanne Tsacoumis (HumRRO) will talk about rich-media simulations, and Christina Norris-Watts (Johnson & Johnson) will talk about gamified assessments.

Another trend is that employers are also increasingly paying attention to and trying to improve the candidate experience during the recruitment and selection process. This means that assessment developers need to pay more attention to user experience than ever before. Ken Lahti (SHL) and Seymour Adler (Kincentric) will discuss how technology is changing the way we deliver assessments and the importance of user experience.

As assessments become more commonplace in organizations, they are being integrated with talent acquisition and management programs. We’ll learn more about this from Sarah Stawiski (CCL) when she presents on using assessments in leader development and Evan Sinar (Better Up) when he presents on coaching-centric assessments. We’ll also hear about how the NFL is using assessments in a live interview with Thomas Dimitroff (General Manager, Atlanta Falcons).

Regulations, Principles, and Standards

With the advancement of technology, a host of new issues have emerged. These new issues require assessment professionals to respond with an informed perspective that balances organizational needs with appropriate professional, legal, and scientific rigor. Adam Klein, Esq. (Outten & Golden LLP) and Ken Willner, Esq. (Paul Hasting, LLP) will use their perspectives as plaintiffs’ and defense counsel to introduce and explore the legal risks associated with technology-enhanced assessment. A focal concern for many experts in the field is the fear that the use of new technologies is leading to bias and discrimination. Jenny Yang (Urban Institute) will discuss equity and bias in the algorithmic-driven hiring process.

Concerns over whether employers are transparent about the way they are using personal data have also arisen. In response, we are beginning to see new laws and regulations being implemented. For example, beginning on January 1, employers in Illinois will have to comply with the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act that ensures employers are transparent. Kate Andersen, Esq. (Nilan Johnson Lewis) and Kathleen Lundquist (APTMetrics) will talk about data privacy and security within the context of workplace assessments.

Of course, an I-O conference would not be complete without ensuring that the topic of validity remains front and center in the conversation about the future of assessments. Nancy Tippins (The Nancy T. Tippins Group) will ensure that attendees are aware of the new updates and revisions of SIOP’s fifth edition of The Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures. Ben Hawkes (Shell) will discuss the utility and defensibility of AI-based selection assessments.

Scientific Advancements in Assessment

The field of assessment is at a critical stage in its evolution and advancing at a rapid rate, but can the science keep up? How will we bridge the ever-growing science practice gap? To address these questions, Robert Hogan (Hogan Assessment Systems) will offer a historical and futuristic review of personality measurement, and Neal Schmitt (Michigan State University) will reflect on scientific findings on the efficacy of new measurement approaches.

We will also hear about other cutting-edge science regarding fake-resistant assessment methods from Fritz Drasgow (University of Illinois), rapid response measurement from Adam Meade (North Carolina State University), analysis of unstructured text from Scott Tonidanel (UNC-Charlotte), and relevant advances in neuroscience and biotechnology from Tatana Olson (United States Navy).

To close the LEC, Paul Sackett (University of Minnesota) will integrate the various ideas and topics to offer a holistic view of the future of assessment in the 2020s.

Conference Tips

To help you get the most out of the 2019 LEC, I have provided a list of tips.

  • Register for the Preconsortium Workshops
  • Attend one of the Networking Dinners (bonus tip: sign up before the slots for each restaurant are full)
  • Try not to linger too long during breaks; we have a packed agenda, and you won't want to miss any of it
  • Obtain continuing education credit
  • Ask questions and offer your opinion or experience
  • Attend the social hours and receptions.

Also, please be sure to mingle with the LEC committee chairs, John Scott and Doug Reynolds, and the planning committee members, Lynn Collins, Eric Heggestad, Tracy Kantrowitz, Fred Oswald, Emily Solberg, and me. We'd love to hear your feedback on the event and thoughts about Assessment in the 2020s.



Are you just so excited you can’t wait for next week? No worries, I’ve got you covered. Below are some recent articles and resources related to the LEC topics.



Also, to pump yourself up for the big event, set aside 30 minutes on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 11:30 (EST) to listen to the 14th #SIOP Conversation Series interview with Dr. Paul Sackett, a testing and assessment expert from University of Minnesota. You can submit questions when registering.


Not attending the LEC? Stay tuned because we’ll be writing a report that summarizes key aspects of the event following the conference.


Hope to see you all there!

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