DISC Personality Tests Demonstrate High Rates of “Test-Retest Reliability”

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Validation studies show that DISC personality tests have a high rate of test-retest reliability.

Personality testing is a billion dollar a year industry, and is used to develop communication, hiring, motivational, career development, and team building strategies in entities ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. military

When subjected to validation using the scientific method, DISC personality testing has been found to be one of the most consistent instruments for measuring behavior and personality type.

DISC, MBTI, the Hartman Personality Profile, and the “Big 5” are some of the most popular methods of testing personality. Each of these testing tools uses a short questionnaire to identify behavioral patterns and determine personality type. Once personality type has been identified, the test results can be used for a wide range of purposes, both personal and professional. Hiring, career guidance, improving interpersonal relationships, measuring compatibility, bolstering sales techniques, developing leadership techniques, and building strong teams are just a few of the useful everyday applications of personality tests. But, recent research shows that all personality tests are not created equally. When undergoing validation testing, some personality testing tools have been found to have much higher rates of reliability than others. Ohio-based behavioral analysis firm PeopleKeys has found that the best way to measure reliability is the scientific standard of “test-retest repeatability.”

Managing Director of PeopleKeys Dr. Bradley Smith elaborated, saying “The scientific method gives researchers a step-by-step process that can be used to ensure the authenticity and validity of their experiments. One of the key components of the scientific method is called ‘test-retest reliability.’ Put simply, test-retest reliability means that the results of an experiment when performed twice in a short period of time with the same subject and under the same conditions should result in similar results. The greater the similarity in results, the higher the reliability of the testing instrument.”

This is good news for DISC, the testing method employed by Smith and PeopleKeys. In a validation study created to measure consistency and reliability rates of DISC personality tests showed that when taken twice by the same individual in a short period of time (less than a year), the test-retest reliability of DISC scored in the 90-95% range.

One of the factors that may contribute to the high reliability rates is the format of the DISC testing instrument itself. All personality tests, competitors included, produce personality profiles based on the results of a short questionnaire. When creating questions for the tests, many companies rely on using “forced binary” choices— Yes and no questions—That result in the participant being labeled a static personality “type.” The DISC questionnaire, however, asks multiple choice questions, and results in a graph that allows for 4 major personality traits to be recorded on a sliding scale that doesn’t force people into binary categories (e.g. “pure introvert” vs “pure extravert”).The profile produced through DISC personality testing plots four traits on a graph, allowing participants to see how high or low above the baseline they scored on each trait: Dominance, Influence, Stability, and Compliance. This sliding scale results in a more individualized profile that has a high degree of test-retest reliability when contrasted with other testing methods. In fact, a recent article published on Vox Media asserted that other popular personality testing methods have a test-retest reliability rating as low as 50%.

Personality testing is a billion dollar a year industry, and is used to develop communication, hiring, motivational, career development, and team building strategies in entities ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. military. The future is bright for the industry, and as more and more research comes to the forefront validating their testing methodologies, DISC continues to produce impressively high results.

About PeopleKeys:
PeopleKeys is a leader in the field of Behavioral Analysis, and one of the world's largest publishers of DISC personality testing and behavioral analysis tools. PeopleKeys helped countless people around the world gain a better understanding of themselves and others. For more information about PeopleKeys and their products, please contact Marketing Manager Kaitlyn Miller at 330-599-5580 x113.

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Kaitlyn Miller
+1 1.330.599.5580 Ext: X113
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since: 03/2009
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