Online assessment

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Online assessments are a collective term for potential analyzes to be completed over the Internet to assess (mostly professional) suitability. Another, less frequently used term is e-assessment . Belongs to the group of psychological test procedures. In aptitude diagnostics ( occupational profiling ), they are used to assess and predict professionally relevant biographical and psychological variables for assessing suitability (cf. Konradt & Sarges, 2003).

Assessments are carried out using a consistent methodology in order to determine the professional and / or personal suitability of people in relation to a requirement profile. For this purpose, exercises that are carried out in a traditional assessment in front of a group of observers are simulated in questionnaires on the Internet. Depending on the provider, between 4 and 200 types or properties are determined from the questionnaires.

E-assessment procedures can be used in the context of personnel selection, personnel marketing , personnel appraisal / promotion or career and training advice. Procedures that serve the purpose of self-assessment and self-selection are mostly referred to as self-assessment procedures. A comprehensive online or e-assessment (sometimes also online AC) includes the systematic combination of various internet-based question formats and methods to assess professional suitability in a specific context with a professional role or function.

Another very innovative way of embedding e-assessment procedures in the application process is in the form of so-called online recruiting games. These methods can also be found under terms such as recrutainment , which use multimedia information and films as part of simulations, as can sometimes also be observed in Second Life .

Although the theoretical foundations for assessment procedures were developed in Germany in the 1920s and the above all practical usability is undoubtedly given, the nationwide use in Germany has not yet caught on.

Principles for online assessments

There are three basic construction principles for online assessments:

  • Normative test procedures determine through the questioning how the examined candidates are seen in comparison to a reference group. The expression of characteristics can shift between cultures and occupations and population groups, so that it can be valuable to be able to classify the candidates. Typifications and the formation of discrete characteristics for groups of people are derived from this. They allow inter-individual comparability of the measured values. Well-known representatives of these procedures are, for example, the Bochum inventory for job-related personality description (BIP), 16PF, the OPQ32 test and many more. The majority of personality tests fall into this group.
  • Ipsative test procedures determine by questioning which behaviors and skills the examined candidates have successfully used in the past. It is assumed that this behavior is used with preference and becomes an individual behavior pattern. Desired and existing behavior patterns can be compared using the requirements profile. They enable the intra-individual comparison of characteristics ("Characteristic / behavioral tendency A is more present in the candidate than behavioral tendency B"). Well-known representatives of these procedures are, for example, Thomas International, DISC, Harrison Assessments
  • Criteria-oriented test procedures determine through the questioning whether a certain behavior is pronounced and how strong it is. An inter-individual comparison is not made, nor is it examined whether this behavior has contributed significantly to the success intra-individually, unless this is also queried as a criterion. This method is ultimately a mixture of the ipsative and the normative approach, because ultimately neither the norm group has to be relevant for the specific case of need, nor is the success of the individual in the past relevant in every case. Well-known representatives of these procedures are the CAPtain test and Alpha-Plus.

Criteria orientation is a prerequisite for developing ipsative and normative tests. There is currently only one test that shows both ipsative and normative values ​​for a candidate.

Online assessments are also used in the following areas

  • Capturing skills, for example
    • verbal skills
    • numerical skills
    • diagrammatic skills
    • mechanical / physical ability
  • Knowledge tests
  • Personality tests
    • properties
    • Interests
    • Motives and Motivation
    • Behavioral tendencies
    • Work environment preferences
    • preferred approaches / leadership qualities


The importance of temporally and spatially decoupled diagnosis and performance forecasting methods will increase. The procedures can be validated for the operating company using recommendations such as those presented in DIN 33430 for the selection process. For practical reasons, the factual validity of the procedures is to be granted a bonus compared to the theoretical evidence, since at the time of the relevant theory formation by Freud , Jung and others, the empirical recording of behavioral tendencies was also dominant.

In the business environment, in which "War-For-Talents" and "In-Search-of-Excellence" are proclaimed as strategic programs today, standardized and complex theories have little practical significance. In this respect, processes that can be specifically adapted to operational reality are to be given priority over theoretically well-founded, but possibly inflexible methods.

The use of online assessments, which is largely underestimated in comparative terms, is highlighted in particular by the chairs for work and organizational psychology at German universities. For some time now, online assessments have also been promoted more in the university sector. The Association of North German Universities and numerous universities such as the University of Göttingen or the HAW Hamburg, for example, design and promote such assessments in order to support prospective students in choosing a subject. Such tests are usually referred to as online self-assessments , study aptitude tests or study choice tests .

E-assessments, e-examinations and electronic testing procedures in education

In addition to being used in assessment centers to preselect potential employees, "online assessments" or "e-assessments" are often used as diagnostic tests (cf. Crisp 2009) in order to be able to classify admission requirements for learning units in advance in the education system (e.g. E.g. for university language tests, which are used to identify the relevant course to be taken). These methods are differentiated from measurement methods that are used to verify learning success. The term "e-examinations", however, is often used in the university educational context to describe the verification of learning success by means of computer-aided summative exams as a modernized form of semester-end exams (cf. Schulz & Apostolopoulos 2010, p. 27ff).

In addition to university education, there are also other areas of education in which computer-aided examinations have been used for a long time (see Schaffert 2004, p. 4ff):

  • First of all, an example from general education: Theoretical driving license tests have been taken on the computer in Austria since 1998.
  • At the Swiss Federal Railways, the final apprenticeship exams have been carried out since 1972 with the help of special marker cards that were evaluated by a computer program and are now carried out with the aid of computers.
  • The US Educational Testing Service (ETS) also has years of experience in carrying out the many computer-based exams, for example university entrance tests.

see also: Computer-aided psychodiagnostics


The demographic development with falling birth rates makes the search for suitable high potentials more and more difficult, especially since the need to find a job in the pool of applicants sometimes releases enormous creative potential. Since the search for employees will also be internationally oriented in the future, cost-effectiveness and the risk of hiring the wrong person can only be supported by technical aids that provide a concrete and objective basis for decision-making. The acceptance of such tools in Germany is currently far below the international average of well over 50%.

Sources / literature

  • A. Schulz, N. Apostolopoulos: FU E-Examinations: E-exams on your own notebook at the Free University of Berlin. In: C. Ruedel, S. Mandel (Ed.): E-Assessment application scenarios and experiences at universities. Waxmann, Münster 2010, ISBN 978-3-8309-2248-3 .
  • K. Kupka, N. Selivanova, J. Diercks: Online assessments as an instrument for pre-selection. In: P. Knauth, A. Wollert (Ed.): Human Resource Management. Digital specialist library on USB stick. 01/2013. (Details on:
  • H. Steiner (Ed.): Online Assessment - Basics and Practice of Online Tests in Personnel Marketing, Personnel Selection and Personnel Development. Springer, Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-78918-5 .
  • G. Crisp: Interactive e-assessment - moving beyond multiple-choice questions. 2009. (online at: [as of November 2, 2011]
  • D. Bartram: The Great Eight Competencies: A criterion-centric approach to validation. In: Journal of Applied Psychology. 90, 2005, pp. 1185-1203. ISSN  0021-9010
  • Rüdiger Hossiep , P. Mühlhaus: Personnel selection and development with personality tests . Hogrefe, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-8017-1490-X .
  • U. Konradt, W. Sarges: E-Recruitment and E-Assessment. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2003, ISBN 3-8017-1652-X .
  • Walter Simon (Ed.): Personality models and personality tests . Gabal, 2006, ISBN 3-89749-636-4 .
  • P. Warr: Logical and Judgmental Moderators of Criterion Related Validity of Personality Scales. In: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 72, 1999, pp. 187-204. ISSN  0963-1798
  • S. Schaffert: Use of online exams in professional development: present and future . German Institute for Adult Education, 2004.
  • JU Schmidt, K. Gutschow: From paper to screen. Computer-aided forms of examination. Bertelsmann, Bielefeld 1999.
  • J. Diercks: The combination of internet-based employer branding and eAssessment at Tchibo. In: C. Beck (Hrsg.): Personalmarketing 2.0: from employer branding to recruiting. Luchterhand, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-472-07197-6 , pp. 162-177. (Details on:
  • K. Kupka: E-Assessment. Development and quality check of two internet-based simulation processes for measuring the planning and problem-solving performance of future (educational) managers . Dissertation . University of Lüneburg. Cuvillier Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-86727-487-6 . (Details on:
  • N. Kopping, K. Kupka, J. Diercks: E-Assessments at Unilever. In: G. Maier, M. John (Hrsg.): Aptitude diagnostics in personnel work: Basics, methods, experiences. Symposion, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-936608-73-1 . (Details on:
  • S. Etzel, A. Küppers: Innovative Management Diagnostics . Hogrefe-Verlag, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-8017-1630-9 .