Group-focused Assessment Tools in Competency Mapping

Group-focused assessments involve the key group with which the potential candidate needs to work or a typical group in which a candidate needs to work. The kind of assessment with respect to groups are varied. For instance, a group may be asked to resolve a presented issue. Or, it may also involve group discussions with assessors observing. Through these group-based assessments, many competencies can be assessed, such as, team-work, leadership, decisiveness, logic, creativity, effective communication skills, people management, collaboration and the like.

Some of the commonly used group-focused assessments are as follows:

Simulation exercises. In group-based simulation exercises, a hypothetical situation is given to the group in which there is a problem or a dilemma that requires a solution as a team. The group members are not competing against each other. Rather, the entire group’s performance is dependent on the contribution of each member and if failed, the entire group is rejected. However, there may be certain simulation exercises which are designed to select individual members from the team. The focus is to observe how individuals function as a part of a team and how they respond and react to one another. For instance, assessors maybe looking for teamwork, assertiveness and listening skills among people which may be crucial in job areas.

Leaderless Discussion Groups. The aim of such a group-based assessment is to look for leadership quality among the group members. In this group discussion, the team chooses its own topic or may be given a topic and once started, the group is left to organize itself. The assessors look for emergence of a leader and the kind of roles candidates in the group adopt. The candidates ae given a time limit and may have to reach a decision within an allotted time. The key is time and decision in such assessments. There is no single right decision.

Practical team exercises. Such assessments can be conducted both indoors and outdoors. The aim is to identify action competencies such as leadership, motivation, drive and creativity. In an indoor session, the group may be given some material and be asked to build a bridge with time and budget specifications. In an outdoor session, it would involve bridging a gap over an actual river. In certain situations, the exercise may be further complicated by bringing the teams into competition with one another.

Assigned group roles. This type of group-based assessment in competency mapping is similar to a role-play. Each member of the group is given a role to play. For instance, the group members may be made managers of different departments and be asked to negotiate to with one another and to argue a case for their department. Such roles will always have winners and losers but that is not given importance. The assessors emphasize on the quality and structure of the argument.

Group-based assessment often focus on competencies like teamwork, interpersonal communication skills, assertiveness and influencing skills, negotiation skills, organizational skills, leadership skills, and the like. Often as part of assessment centers, individual-focused and group-focused assessments are done together and teamed up with psychometric assessment tools. Such an approach to assessment provides a comprehensive report for the individual and makes the system of assessment more objective and accurate.