Army situational judgement test. Army barracks with commander shouting at troupe.

Bespoke Situational Judgment Test Design

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd are specialists in bespoke situational judgement test design.

We led a UK-wide psychometric design project working closely with the British Army to create a full psychometric range of This included

  • Video based Army officer Situational judgement tests.
  • Realistic job previews for Army soldiers.

specification for SJT design

To provide potential candidates with realistic (face valid) situations they are likely to encounter, and feedback on their responses. Such highly informative feedback aims to improve candidates’ understanding of the demands of Army life.

Thus, better able to make informed judgements about their own suitability. As such, the SJTs are an important early selection filter, both for a candidate’s self-selection and as part of the advice given by Recruiting Officers.

More specifically, the “formative” aims of the SJTs from a candidate’s perspective are to:

  • firstly, identify likely suitability for undergoing and successfully completing Army training; and
  • Secondly, to broaden their understanding of the different demands of Army training (and future Army life).

How are situational judgment tests designed?

Medical schools, for example, use situational judgment tests to assess the temperament for managing high-pressure situations in the most moral, effective way possible. These situational judgment tests are unique to the medical school context. They use bespoke scenarios representing those critical incidents a doctor needs to know how to manage. It’s important to note that these SJTs don’t require extensive medical knowledge; rather they evaluate a candidate’s decision-making skills. 

Situational Judgement Design Exemplar

An example of our situational judgement design requirements for the Army Officer project:

  • The answer options for each situation are all different, so read them through carefully.
  • For each question, to indicate which action you consider would be best and worst.
  • To be honest about what you think you would do in each situation.
  • That you don’t need any Army experience to answer the questions, and:
  • The SJT is not timed, but most people take about 30 minutes to complete it.

Competency-based SJT Research basis

For example, drawing together previous situational judgement test research, with a particular emphasis on that of Riley and Walker-Smith (2006), the following areas were expected to emerge through the design process:

  • Discipline
  • Military awareness
  • Commitment
  • Sociability
  • Resilience

See this page for more info on the Army Situational judgement test design and the Officer Situational questions design.

Bespoke situational judgement test design

Situational Judgement Test Validity

SJTs have higher validity if respondents are asked what they ‘would do’ as opposed to what they ‘should do’ (Ployhart and Ehrhart, 2003). ‘Would do’ prompts were therefore used because they are more likely      to elicit responses that reflect respondents’ behavioural preferences, rather than their rating of what they consider would be the most appropriate thing to do (regardless of whether they would do this, or act otherwise).

Varying schools of thought exist with regard to response format. Whilst some authors argue that having ‘right’ as well as ‘wrong’ responses can make SJTs too obvious (Hauenstein et al, 2010), only scoring right options truncates the information available for scoring. Thus, we took the a priori decision to score both right and wrong options.

Psychometric Test Designs

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Strengths Design  ~ Realistic Job Preview Design ~ Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgment Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design.

Army situational judgement tests