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A Research Plan for the Study of Testing Related to the Ministry

Saunders, David R.; Webb, Samuel C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Clergy, Ministry Study, Occupational Tests, Psychological Testing, Test Construction


The potential of psychological tests for the selection of parish ministers was explored. An advisory committee met for two days, suggesting ways of conducting the research program. The resulting paper sketches the basic strategy, outlines complexities that are likely to be encountered, and indicates an order in which problems may be attacked. Studies should investigate tests' ability to describe or predict performance in the ministry or to improve assessment. Possibilities included prediction of performance in theology school (which may not correspond to job success), of patterns of ministerial performance, and of effective and ineffective performance. It was suggested that researchers recognize that qualifications are both spiritual and mundane in nature, that tests be of the appropriate difficulty for sophomore and junior years in college, and that one stresses the identification of factors associated with ineffective ministry and finds test variables associated with them. Essential research questions involve role expectations; variables that distinguish effective and ineffective performance and measures of them; what a minister thinks, does, and stands for; and whether job performance may be predicted by psychological variables such as abilities, interests, personality, aptitude, and attitude. Suggested research designs involve understanding the criterion, constructing and validating a criterion instrument, developing an experimental test battery, studying experienced ministers, and conducting long-term predictive studies.

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