22 July 2022
Position Statement: Current status of test classification in South Africa
The outcomes of the judgement (2 May 2017) made in the seminal court case where the Association of Test Publishers challenged the changes to the Employment Equity Act (EEA) are as follows:
• The clause “d” amendment to the EEA (“certified by the HPCSA or any other body which may be authorised by law to certify those tests or assessments”) has been scrapped and is therefore null and void and of no force or effect. This order was published in the Government Gazette (40848, 19 May 2017) and Sunday Times, and the changes are noted in the latest proposed amendments to the EEA (Government Gazette 41922, 21 September 2018).
• The Professional Board for Psychology of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has announced that they will no longer evaluate the quality of assessments.
• The revised mandate for the Psychometrics Committee for the Professional Board of Psychology is published on their website. Briefly, it states that they will now:
o Review tests only for the purposes of classifying them as psychological tests (or not). This process is now free and involves submitting the manual for the classification review. Manuals can now be electronically submitted.
o Publish a list of tests that are classified as psychological tests, and that can therefore only be used by persons registered with the HPCSA (psychologists, psychometrists, counsellors – as specified by the classification outcome of the HPCSA). The list of tests currently on the website is old, but the Committee have indicated that they intend to publish a new list as soon as possible.
o Develop training guidelines, ethical guidelines, and standards for use of psychological tests in South Africa. The Chairperson of the Committee has indicated the Board’s intent to work closely with bodies such as Assessment Standards South Africa (ASSA) in order to fulfil this mandate.
The Association of Test Publishers of South Africa supports this revised mandate of the Psychometrics Committee of the HPCSA and encourages members and other test publishers to submit their psychological tests to be classified.
ASSA (www.assa.co.za) is a body founded by SIOPSA (particularly the interest group People Assessment in Industry, or PAI), PsySSA, and the ATP. The aim of ASSA is to establish a new test quality review process that is transparent, objective, and fair, and can be applied to both psychological and non-psychological tests. The intention is to certify assessments as meeting the minimum standards set by the Employment Equity Act.
ASSA has officially launched the test review process.
So, what does this mean for you as a test developer/supplier?
1. There is no longer a legal requirement for your tests to be evaluated by the HPCSA before they may be used in the workplace. BUT you and the test user are wholly responsible for ensuring that the test can be shown to be valid and reliable, can be fairly applied and is not biased against any employee or group – thus meeting the EEA requirements.
2. You can submit your assessment for review through ASSA. If it complies with the minimum requirements as set out in the ASSA criteria document, you will receive a certificate that states that the test complies with the minimum criteria as set by the EEA.
The ATP is encouraged by the positive developments in this field. We hope that the spirit of collaboration and good faith across groups of psychologists continues in the years to come, and that this marks a significant positive step in the future of assessments in South Africa.
Association of Test Publishers of South Africa