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Pk au Did you know there was an ISO standard for testing and assessment? | Questionmark
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Posted by John Kleeman, Founder and Executive Director

A lot of people, even those deeply involved in the assessment world, don’t know about it, but there is a well-respected, ISO standard on testing and assessment in the workplace, ISO 10667, updated in the last few months. If you use assessments in the workplace – for recruiting, for development, for compliance or other reasons, you might find ISO 10667 of interest.

What is ISO?

You probably know that ISO, the International Organization for Standardization develops and publishes international standards. ISO standards are internationally agreed by experts and can be thought about as a formula that describes the best way of doing something.

There is a lot of evidence that standards in general give economic benefits – for example research in Germany suggests that standards have contributed 0.7% to 0.8% of German GDP growth[1]

What is ISO 10667?

ISO 10667 is an ISO standard on assessment in the workplace.

It covers good practice on using all kinds of assessments (interviews, appraisals, recruitment tests, competence tests and much more) in the workplace. The standard originally came out in 2011 with strong influence from the Association of Test Publishers (ATP). It was updated by an international working group of experts led by Harald Ackerschott in Germany and including myself, other international experts and ATP representatives.

The latest version is called ISO 10667:2020, and its full name is “Assessment service delivery — Procedures and methods to assess people in work and organizational settings.”

Like other ISO standards, you can’t download it for free, you must purchase it.  There are two parts to the standard; you can purchase them HERE and HERE (they are also available from other sources such as BSI and ANSI).

What does the standard cover?

The standard defines three key roles in the assessment process:

  • The assessment participant (who takes the assessment),
  • The client which is the organization that commissions the assessment, and
  • The service provider who provides and delivers the assessment.

In some cases, the client and the service provider are different teams within the same organization, and in many cases, they are separate organizations. The standard has two parts, part 1 gives responsibilities for the client and part 2 responsibilities for the service provider.

Here are some of the key themes in the standard:

  • Define needs. Define clearly the business or organizational requirements for an assessment.
  • Plan well. Once needs are defined, plan the assessment properly before conducting it.
  • Separate responsibilities. Separate out at least conceptually the “service provider” who delivers the assessment from the “client” who commissions it.
  • Base assessments on evidence. Use assessment methods and procedures where evidence shows they are appropriate for the business needs.
  • Be fair. Assessment methods and procedures should be fair, including in relation to all sub-groups.
  • Be valid and reliable. Assessment methods and procedures should be valid for their purpose and reliable/consistent.
  • Respect privacy. Information gathered from those being assessed needs to be treated with respect.

What is the value for me?

The standard promotes high quality, evidence-based assessment. If you are using assessments to make decisions about people in an organization, or you are a service provider helping an organization make decisions, those decisions will be better if you follow the guidance in the standard.

Where can I find out more?

I hope this piece intrigues you enough to want to find out more.

You can read the introduction, scope and definitions of the standard online for free here.

Questionmark has written a white paper on “Workplace Assessments” which describes the standard and how Questionmark can help you implement it, this provides a useful introduction to the standard: you can download it at https://www.questionmark.com/resources/whitepapers/download-workplace-assessment/.  

John is the Founder of Questionmark. He wrote the first version of the Questionmark assessment software system and then founded Questionmark in 1988 to market, develop and support it. John has been heavily involved in assessment software development for over 30 years and has also participated in several standards initiatives.


[1] https://www.din.de/blob/89552/68849fab0eeeaafb56c5a3ffee9959c5/economic-benefits-of-standardization-en-data.pdf