Assessment Center Case: Baptist V. Kankakee

1597 Words 7 Pages
As we look at assessment center processes, its important to understand not just the process, but the history of assessment centers. The purpose of creating the assessment center was to develop a method to measure an applicant’s knowledge, skills and attitudes during their performance of exercises. The process is believed to have been originally used by the German Army to assess and select officers. This process gave the assessors the ability to see how the applicants performed.
The United States ' Office of Strategic Services (OSS) recognized the benefit of the assessment center and added psychological tests and more exercises to their assessment. This assisted them in objectively selecting both military and civilian recruits for espionage
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With that said, most of the agencies conducted a proper assessment center were not successfully sued. However, if the process was compromised, they were typically held liable. One such case was Baptist v. Kankakee, F.3d, 2007 WL 789583 (7th Cir. 2007). In this case, African-American police officers sued the City of Kankakee, alleging racial discrimination in the police department’s promotional policies and a promotional test. Defendant’s promotional exam was given for the purpose of creating lists for promotions to Sergeant or Lieutenant. The promotion exam consisted of a written exam, an oral exam for Sergeant candidates or Oral Assessment Center for Lieutenant candidates, merit (“Chief”) points, longevity points, and time-in-grade points. If an individual’s total score was 70 or more, that person would be entitled to additional “veteran’s points,” based on military service. Individuals were placed on the promotion eligibility list in rank-order based on total …show more content…
Although the settlement required the implementation of additional measures, it also illustrates the importance of having a system that’s measurable and consistent. Ultimately, the ability to articulate and justify every aspect of the process if just as important as the process. In this case, having vagueness, such as “Chief” points, gives the perception of being subjective, and therefore opens the process up for questioning and/or litigation.
I also found a website that offers a practice in-basket, which gave me better insight as to what this exercise consists of (http://annex.ipacweb.org/library/conf/02/ibprep.pdf ). Looking at all the options, I believe the assessment center is one of the best options for testing. As earlier mentioned, as long as the process is fair and consistent, it gives the assessors a good idea of the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities

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