Category: Professional compliance
The list of classified tests
The updated list of classified tests was published in the government gazette in September 2017.
Some background about the list of classified tests
Prior to the publication of the list as a Board notice, it existed as Form 207, which was a Board policy document.
This document was not legally enforceable. The gazetted list is official and enforceable.
Now that this list has been gazetted, it becomes a criminal offence for a person who is not registered with the HPCSA in a professional category which is allowed to use psychological tests, to use a psychological test.
The three sections in the list
The list of classified tests is divided into three sections, and there is a good reason for this.
Tests that have been classified and reviewed
These tests have been classified in terms of the Policy on the Classification of tests, which is available for download above.
If a test appears on this part of the list, it means:
- The test was found to be psychological in nature, and using them constitutes an act reserved for the profession of psychology.
- The test publisher had to submit the test itself, the manual and documentation, and a portfolio of research evidence for review.
- The test was sent for independent review in terms of the test quality requirements stipulated in the Employment Equity Act - reliability, validity, lack of bias.
- The reviewers submitted independent reports and the publisher had to make the necessary changes and corrections.
- Once the test met the requirements, a certificate was issued.
- Unless the test's classification certificate specifies otherwise, these tests may only be used by registered psychology practitioners (psychologists, psychometrists and registered counsellors).
Note that only tests in this first section have been reviewed for psychometric properties by the Professional Board for psychology.
Tests that have been classified but not reviewed
The tests in this section were originally classified by the now defunct Test Commission of the Republic of South Africa (TCRSA)
- The TCRSA did not review the tests for quality, but in terms of how much psychological expertise was required to use them (This indirectly related to quality because a really good, well structured test requires less psychological expertise to interpret).
- When the current system for the classification of tests was introduced, the tests that had been classified by the TCRSA were condoned as psychological tests. Thus, they were classified on the basis of their historical status.
- Practitioners who use tests that appear in this section of the list should bear in mind that the tests and norms may possibly be obsolete.
- The Professional Board for Psychology has stated that a process of re-evaluation for tests that are older than ten years will be instituted. During this re-evaluation process, it will be determined whether these older tests still meet the requirements to be used in South Africa. After that re-evaluation, these tests may move into the first section of the list (fully classified and certified), or they may be flagged as no longer meeting the technical requirements.
None of the tests in this section of the list was reviewed in terms of the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. Test users will have to rely on information provided by the test developer or publisher, or another independent research authority, The onus is on the psychology professional who uses these tests to ensure that the tests meet the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. If the use of a test is challenged, evidence regarding its psychometric properties will probably have to be produced and defended. If this happens, the forum where it will be considered will probably be the CCMA or the Labour Court.
Tests classified as in development or being adapted
The tests in this section are not yet fully classified.
- They appear on the list because the developers or publishers have notified the Professional Board for Psychology that the test is being developed or adapted for use in South Africa.
- All that is required for a test to be added to this part of the list is a notification of some basic information about the test.
- A test gets added to this part of the list list when it appears that it measures a psychological construct and its use will result in a psychological act (An act reserved for the profession of psychology in terms of the Health Professions Act).
- Tests on this section of the list may only be used by registered psychology practitioners, because they have not been reviewed and no decision has been made about them possibly being used by anyone other than a registered psychology practitioner.
- The review process for these tests is still in progress, and their research portfolios have not been finally approved.
- Thus, they are provisionally classified as psychological in nature in order to protect the public from them being used by unregistered persons.
- It is not uncommon for tests to remain in this section for a long time. During this period, a lot of progress can be made with research on the test.
- If a test is in this section, it does indicate the intention of the test developer or publisher to comply with the review process, and it probably means that some evidence on the test's psychometric properties is available or in preparation.
The onus rests on the test user to verify that the evidence about the psychometric properties of these tests supplied by the test devewloper or publisher is sufficient and credible enough to enable the test to be used in compliance with the Employment Equity Act, and it may be necessary to prove this in the CCMA or Labour Court.
The use of tests in development/being adapted
The Professional Board for Psychology states in the Board Notice with the list of classified tests, that tests in this section of the list may not be used for gain by psychology practitioners. They must be used in conjunction with other measures, for research purposes only. The "not for gain" stipulation applies to the publisher and also any consultant who may be using these tests to deliver services. Charging high fees for training people to use a test which is not yet fully classified, would also go against this stipulation.