U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Assessment Center: Lessons from the Past

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2002 Pages: 35,37-39,40
Paul N. Tinsley Ed.D.
Date Published
5 pages
This article evaluates the assessment center as a personnel selection method.
The assessment center method is straightforward, it is based on common sense, and it can be applied in almost any employment context. By 1941 it had become obvious that traditional selection criteria (education, written tests, interviews, and background investigations) for officer positions were not working for the British and American military. There were alarming failure rates among officer cadet training units; failure was also reflected in the number of officers who had mental breakdowns. After World War II, military and government officials seemed to lose interest in the assessment center, except for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the British Civil Service. The concept generated more interest in the private sector, where employers were dissatisfied with traditional personnel selection methods. The article claims that the most promising opportunities in police personnel selection lie in systematic behavior-based assessments as described in the assessment center method. The article describes the assessment center as “one of the best methods available for selecting suitable candidates for either employment or advancement in law enforcement agencies.” Notes