The History Of Psychometric Testing

The concept of psychometrics has grown in popularity in recent years, but it is not new. Psychometric assessments have been around for years, evolving to become a popular tool used by businesses to improve recruitment, retention and people development.

As specialists in the field of psychometric products and consultancy, we know the rich history of psychometrics and how it has changed over time. From its humble origins to what it is today, we cover the history of psychometric testing.

Who Invented The Psychometric Assessment?

A man stands thoughtfully in front of a chalkboard covered in mathematical symbols he is working on.

Throughout history, variations of aptitude tests and personality assessments have been used. However, psychometrics as a science first began in Cambridge between 1886 and 1889. According to The Psychometrics Centre at the Cambridge Judge Business School , the very first laboratory dedicated to psychometrics was established in 1887 as part of the Cavendish Physics Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

James McKeen Cattell saw the potential to combine psychophysics and mathematical approaches to create what we now know as psychometrics, and for many is the father of the subject. However, some cite Sir Francis Galton as the father of psychometrics.

Galton's work focused on statistics and the now highly controversial area of eugenics, and The Psychometrics Centre explains this connection as follows:

Sir Francis Galton has often been described as 'the father of psychometrics', and as early as 1883 he had suggested that people of genius might also possess other psychological attributes such as unusually fine sensory discrimination. However, he appears to have been diverted from the point by other interests, having contented himself with the general impression rather than pursuing the matter in systematic investigation.

-- Spearman, 1904

What Was The First Psychometric Test?

Assessments and tests have been a constant throughout history, but the first true psychometric test is widely considered to have been developed by Galton in the UK in the 1880s. The aim was to understand psychological differences between people instead of focusing on individual traits.

Galton measured physical characteristics alongside sensory and motor skills to gauge intelligence. These tests were conducted on around 17,000 people to show that objective tests could be used to give accurate and meaningful scores.

In the USA in 1890, inspired by Galton, Cattell conducted the first 'mental test'. This test involved the use of brass instruments to measure motor acuity, which was consistent with Galton's research and methodology.

How Have Psychometric Assessments Changed?

In the early days of psychometrics, it was difficult for Cattell to find a place for it. Now it has become a firm fixture in our lives, with reports suggesting that 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the United Kingdom and over 80% of Fortune 500 companies in the United States use psychometric assessments as part of their recruitment process.

A snapshot of the 'What is your working style in a team?' part of The Quest Profiler®'s Individual Development Report. It shows someone's working style in a team, highlighting that they are best aligned with 'The Expert', 'The Catalyst', and 'The Creative'.
A snapshot of the 'What is your working style in a team?' part of The Quest Profiler®'s Individual Development Report. It shows someone's working style in a team, highlighting that they are best aligned with 'The Expert', 'The Catalyst', and 'The Creative'.

Psychometrics has become an essential tool for many human resource professionals. These assessments can help align potential employees with the right role and support your current staffing development needs by identifying areas where your team may need training or by highlighting the working style of individuals, such as in The Quest Profiler®.

As one of the fastest-growing personality questionnaires in the UK, The Quest Profiler® is ideally suited for both recruitment and training. Businesses get varying levels of results depending on how comprehensive your assessment is, giving you accurate insights into individuals and teams.

The Range Of Psychometrics From eras

Here at eras, we offer a range of psychometric assessments to support your business. As specialists in the field of psychometric products and consultancy, we have a wealth of knowledge to benefit organisations of all sizes around the world.

The Quest Profiler®

The Quest Profiler® provides some of the most sophisticated personality feedback available and has been widely used for selecting and developing talent within some of the largest companies in Britain.

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Aptitude Tests

The eras aptitude tests can improve the chances of selecting the best candidate for the role, creating a more objective and standardised approach to the recruitment process.

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For the most powerful customisable assessment tool on the market looking at how different people view someone's strengths, you'll want to choose the threesixty°. This 360° tool helps you to identify the strengths and development needs of an individual and create a comprehensive guide to support their development.

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Job Analysis

Through the Job Analysis tool, you can identify the key requirements of roles, generate your ideal role profile or design a bespoke ideal role based on behaviours and competencies.

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Job Match

Aligning potential employees against key requirements of an ideal role profile helps you ensure that you are focusing on the right candidates during the recruitment process. It makes sifting through applicants easier and means that you can better identify development needs.

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Culture & Engagement

We all have our own ideas about the culture of an organisation, but does it match with what your employees think? The Culture & Engagement assessment provides you with the foundation stone for change in your organisation. You can identify next steps and effective solutions .

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Psychometric Training

Interested in using psychometrics as part of your recruitment or human resources processes? Our training courses give you in-depth knowledge of our products and how to feed back the results.

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Introducing Psychometric Assessments To Your Business

The growth of psychometrics as a science and increased interest in it as a tool for businesses means that more global organisations are seeking to integrate assessments into their current operations. The variety of assessments, combined with multimodal testing, means that you can find the right method to suit your business.

Here at eras, we offer clear pricing on The Psychometric Portal®, helping you find the ideal solution. Unsure which type of psychometric assessment you need? Call +44 (0)1379 882279 or email to discuss your needs with one of our trained professionals.

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Experts in Psychometrics

Need more information about how eras and psychometrics can help your business? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us today! We're always here to answer any questions you may have and help you choose the best solution for your needs.