Influence the new ISO 10667 standard on workplace assessment

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

An important new ISO international standard for assessments in the workplace is in its final stages and a draft is now available for consultation.

The standard is called ISO 10667 and covers assessment service delivery: procedures and methods to assess people in work and organizational settings. There are two parts, one for service providers and one for clients: organizations that use assessments. It has very broad scope, from assessment in appraisals and coaching through 360s and psychological assessments as well as compliance and training assessments, and it covers both paper and computer-delivered assessments.


There are two closely related parts of the standard and it sets out good practice and guidelines for areas such as the following:

  • Agreeing procedures between different stakeholders in the assessment process
  • Planning assessment delivery formally
  • Getting informed consent from assessment participants
  • Privacy and data protection on assessment results
  • Security and confidentiality
  • Ensuring that reports arising from the assessment are based fairly on what the assessment measures
  • Providing appropriate assessment feedback
  • Guidelines on rights and responsibilities of assessment participants

ISO 10667 is the result of many years’ work by an international committee with representatives from many countries including the US and several in Europe. I have been involved in a very small way with the committee and have been impressed by the professionalism and knowledge of those responsible for writing the standard.

When the standard is formally published, ISO 10667 will provide an opportunity for organizations to put in place a consistent quality standard for their use of assessment, which if we can get it right could help greatly in assessment consistency and fairness. For those involved with assessment in the workplace, there is also likely to be pressure from stakeholders to follow the standard, so reviewing it in advance could be sensible.

ISO is organized via national committees, and there is no single international place to get hold of the draft and provide comments. You have to do this within your own country. If you are in the UK, then you link via the British Standards Institution (BSI) to view Part 1  and Part 2  (needs registration) and comment. If you are in the US, the Association of Test Publishers is administering the review of the draft standard, and if you want to comment, you should contact in the first instance. If you are in other countries, you should contact your national standards organization.

The degree to which the final standard can help improve the quality of assessment in work and organizational settings will depend on the standard being reasonable and practical in terms of the demands it makes on all of us, and I’d encourage Questionmark users who are interested in this area to provide input to the consultation process to help ensure ISO gets it right.

Assessment Standards Part Three: ISO 23988

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

This is the third of a series of blog posts on standards that impact assessment. I’ve participated in many standards projects over the years, but there’s only one standard which I can be pretty sure would never have happened without my involvement.

Around the turn of the millennium I had a significant birthday, and rather than do the usual work tasks, I decided to use the day for something more creative. It was just around the formation of a brand new International Standards (ISO) working group on learning technology (SC36) and I was part of a newly formed British Standards Committee that shadowed the ISO committee. We were looking for new standards to develop and it was about the time that using computers and the Internet for delivering assessments was really coming of age. Lots of people were using Questionmark software or other software to deliver assessments and as people learned, they made mistakes which could cause unfairness and pain.

I thought it would be great to have a Code of Practice on how to use computers to deliver assessments.  If this could be a standard, it would encourage everyone to follow good practice and would make things fairer and better for everyone using assessments.  I would also allow everyone to benefit from the experience of the best practitioners.

So I proposed the idea to the UK committee and after a while I led a panel of many experts in assessment to come up with what was then called BS 7988 – Code of Practice for the use of Information Technology (IT) in the Delivery of Assessments. Many wiser people than I contributed to the standard: assessment experts, technology experts and educational experts.  BS 7988 was published in 2002, and in due course it was taken by the BSI to ISO to become (after some editing) an international standard ISO 23988.

The standard contains guidance and context for using IT to deliver assessments. Due to the vagaries of international standards economics, you have to pay to buy the standard so I’m limited in how I can quote from it.  However, I hope that ISO won’t mind me quoting one illustrative clause, which applies to assessments that are invigilated or proctored:

    At least one invigilator should be present in the room throughout the assessment
    session. If there is a single invigilator, he/she should be able to summon help (including
    technical help) quickly if needed. Unless there is only one candidate, the invigilator should
    not be distracted from invigilation duties by having to provide technical help.

Not rocket science, but useful common sense. And there are 45 pages of useful material in the standard with lots of sensible guidelines.

As the saying goes, “What’s the difference between theory and practice?  In theory there is none, but in practice there is!” ISO 23988 encapsulates a lot of good practice in delivering assessments and puts it in a standard code of practice for everyone to pick from or follow.