Original Research

Content validation: The forgotten step-child or a crucial step in assessment centre validation?

Klaus-Peter Müller, Gert Roodt
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 1 | a1153 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i1.1153 | © 2013 Klaus-Peter Müller, Gert Roodt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2013 | Published: 06 November 2013

About the author(s)

Klaus-Peter Müller, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Gert Roodt, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: Assessment centres (ACs) are a popular method of assessment in South Africa, as they offer a practical link to the required job, directly observed through candidate behaviour. Content is often borrowed from the USA, so research into the applicability of that content in South Africa is justified.

Research purpose: This study aimed to determine whether a selected USA-developed virtual assessment centre (VAC) measured what it claims to, and to determine whether the content is suitable for South Africa.

Motivation for the study: A solid pre-statistical foundation of content forms the backbone of assessing validity. Content validation analysis is well suited to analysing the relevance of AC simulations in a specific cultural context. Too often content validation is either implied, or insufficiently explained.

Research design, approach and method: A content evaluation schedule was developed, consisting of 50 items covering seven content validation dimensions. Thirteen subject matter experts and nine functional experts were tasked to assess an imported VAC using this schedule.

Main findings: This study provides support that the VAC appears to measure what it purports to, and that overall, the content is suitable for use in South Africa.

Practical/managerial implications: Content created in the USA can be assessed for relevance and applicability for South Africa through content validation.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to AC literature and assessment methodology by demonstrating the importance and utility of content validation. Importers and developers of AC content may use this study’s techniques to validate content to meet legislative requirements and ensure domain relevance.


Content validation; Assessment centre; Virtual assessment centre; Cross-cultural validation; Adverse impact


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