Should You Share Test Scores With the Test Taker?

An administrative question our clients commonly pose is whether test scores need to be shared with job applicants. This issue generally arises when a non-competitive applicant requests information regarding their test score due to the perception that the test was the basis of having their application rejected. The intent of this article is to summarize the issues surrounding these requests and discuss whether employers should release this information.

From a legal perspective, there is no statutory or other mandate that requires private sector employers to release information regarding the test scores achieved by their job applicants. In fact, the only information employers are required to supply to job applicants is their consumer report (e.g., criminal background check, credit check) if the employer intends to not hire an individual on the basis of the information contained in such a report. Thus, employers have no legal duty to reveal to job applicants how they scored or were rated based on application forms, resumes, interviews, job simulations or standard employment tests.

Sharing the evaluation of information gathered during the hiring process also creates additional work for the employer and may compromise the integrity of the hiring process. Today, employers need to accomplish their goals with very lean budgets. As a result, responding to numerous requests for test scores and other hiring information creates a real drag on an organization's ability to conduct its actual business and contribute to its overall viability. This problem is also exacerbated when job applicants contact the employer for further explanation of the information that was provided in response to their initial request.

When supplying information about the hiring process, we have commonly found that applicants receiving feedback typically do not understand such things as interview ratings, application form scores, test scores, norms, percentiles and cut scores. Also, to the degree that an applicant understands where and how they were unsuccessful in the hiring process, they may coach other applicants or intentionally modify their own behavior if they ultimately reapply for a position. As an aside, for internal candidates, general feedback regarding test performance can be appropriate to assist in the development of that current employee.

In sum, the vast majority of employers do not provide feedback to job applicants regarding their performance in the hiring process, with the exception of consumer reports. Not only is this practice legal, but certainly serves the general business interests of the employer.

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