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By Dilum Jirasinghe

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The issue should not be one of a competition with one approach appearing as victor, but of a complementary and symbiotic relationship where each approach has recognized strengths and weaknesses predicating adoption according to circumstance and appropriateness to purpose. The Case for Generic Competencies In certain circumstances the most suitable model of competence may be one which aims to be ‘generic’, that is, it presents the skills or personal qualities shown by individuals in the same job/position across a range of organizations.

The example of the school head who prefers to work with facts rather than figures and consequently delegates day to day fiscal management to a proficient deputy/bursar provides a case in point. Deliberative steps are taken by the head to offset personal disinclination and the out-come is one of effective financial management. Can the head in this example be deemed to have displayed a ‘competent’ performance although results have not been achieved through direct personal performance? • Competency approaches reduce jobs into lists of highly circumscribed task elements, skills, or personal characteristics.

Underpinning performance (from the Training and Development Lead Body 1992). Psychometric tests The high predictive validity and economy offered by norm-referenced psychometric tests makes their use in an assessment procedure attractive, although the degree to which they are perceived by candidates as being fair, objective, and ‘user-friendly’ acts as a limiting factor in their widespread use. Many types of psychometric tests are in use: for example tests measuring general intelligence, verbal ability, numerical ability, spatial reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning and so on.

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