Are DISC Profiles Valid?

by | DISC Assessment, DISC University

Are DISC Profiles Valid? 2 Proof Points

The validity and reliability of personality assessments have been in the news recently. If you are looking to choose a behavioral or personality assessment to use in your business, we’ve got some ideas on how you can ensure you’re using a good one. You don’t have to be a psychometric expert to inquire about validity. Th[ere are some really simple questions you can ask about an assessment to help you choose a valid DISC tool.

There are 2 main proof points you’ll need the assessment provider to address.

1. Is This DISC Tool Valid?

Before we explore answers to that question, let’s define ‘valid’. Merriam-Webster defines valid as: ‘well-grounded or justifiable; being at once relevant and meaningful.’ Asking a few questions of the assessment provider should get you the information you need to make an informed decision. There are actually quite a few ways validity can be measured.

You’ll want the assessment provider to address each of these:

Construct validity: does the tool actually measure what it’s supposed to measure?

Concurrent validity: how does the tool compare to similar tools that measure the same thing?

Face validity: do the items/questions in the instrument seem to connect to the outcome?

And here is a further question to ask if you plan to use the results as part of your recruiting process:

Criterion validity: is the assessment applicable to a specific set of criteria, like a role or job description?

When examining the validity of a pre-hire assessment tool you are looking for a way to clearly link a candidate’s specific scores and patterns of scores to job success in targeted, well-defined areas. So it’s important to choose the tool you will use carefully.

After you feel confident your chosen assessment provider is offering a valid tool, you can move on to proof point #2.

2. Is This DISC Tool Reliable?

Reliability has to do with consistency. If you present the same person with the same assessment in a similar environment, it should achieve the same result. If an assessment is tested and achieves a reliability standard, you can consider it a positive indicator that the assessment is valid. But reliability on its own doesn’t ensure validity.

While there are numerous methods of establishing reliability, one of the most common and accepted methods is the Test-retest method, where a test is performed twice. This is considered a statistical, multiple-administration method. The same test is given to a group of subjects at two different times. First measure: each test-taker should score differently than the other test-takers. Second measure: if the test is reliable then each test-taker should score the same in both tests.

There are also single-administration methods that can be used to prove reliability. Here are some questions to ask based on two common single-administration methods.

Split-half: If the assessment provider mentions using a ‘split-half method’ (which treats the two halves of a measure as alternate forms), ask them if they then employed the Spearman-Brown prediction formula when the test was stepped up to the full test length.
Internal consistency: The most common internal consistency measure is Cronbach’s alpha, which measures how well a set of variables or items measures a single, unidimensional latent construct. Here is an example of data you will want to see from the provider if Cronbach’s alpha was used:

Questions You Should Ask Your Assessment Provider

When choosing a DISC assessment, here are some questions to ask the provider:

When were validity and reliability studies last conducted and what were the results?
How often are these studies evaluated?
What type of validity criteria were measured?
If using the assessment results as part of a recruiting/hiring process, have they conducted adverse impact studies to be EEOC compliant?
Will they openly share the findings of these studies with you?

If the provider cannot answer those questions, keep looking.

At DPP, we can provide concise documentation that addresses the reliability and validity of our suite of assessments.

We know it’s tricky finding the right tool for your purposes. Use the questions above to help you find a rigorously tested, reliable, and valid assessment.