Science of PI Learning Indicator

Background Theory


The underlying principle of measurement in the Predictive Index Learning Indicator® is rooted in Charles Edward Spearman’s analysis of human intellect, which identified the factor g for general cognitive ability.

Traditionally g cannot be measured directly, but the PI Learning Indicator is a very strong indicator hereof. Research has shown that the higher the level of g, the higher the level of performance on the job. This correlation is present in all jobs and along all dimensions of performance. The effects of g are linear, i.e. successive increments in g lead to successive increments in job performance. The more complex the job, the higher the correlation between job performance and g.

Schmidt and Hunter (1998) summed up the research at the time and noted the following about measuring the general cognitive ability in personnel selection:

“…(general cognitive ability) has the highest validity and lowest application cost…..the research evidence for the validity of (general cognitive ability) measures for predicting job performance is stronger than for any other method…..(General cognitive ability) has been shown to be the best available predictor of job-related learning. It is the best predictor of acquisition of job knowledge on the job and of performance in job training programs…..the theoretical foundation for (general cognitive ability) is stronger than for any other personnel measure.”

Validity & Reliability

Clients around the world rely on the Professional Learning Indicator® for a number of uses such as employee selection and talent management. Our clients use PI Learning Indicator because of its science-based, easily applicable and very reliable results. PI Learning Indicator assigns considerable resources to research, ensuring that the Professional Learning Indicator is in compliance with the requirements for assessment tools in terms of validity, reliability, privacy and data protection.

The careful selection and combination of questions ensure that the Professional Learning Indicator® is a highly g-loaded assessment and thus may be used as a test of cognitive abilities in connection with recruitment or internal selection of people. Various meta-analyses of g and job performance point to g as the best single predictor of job performance across jobs, emphasizing the applicability of PI Learning Indicator™ in creating a competitive organisation.

PI Learning Indicator was developed in compliance with the guidelines laid out by with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as the standards set out by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP). During the development of the assessment the entire database of questions was reviewed by multiple individuals with different cultural backgrounds (ex. European, African American, Asian etc.) and any items that could not be changed to sufficiently address the cultural reviewer’s concerns were deleted.

PI Learning Indicator is available in more than 70 languages and has in each case been subject to a rigorous translation process, ensuring cultural appropriateness and functionality of the final text. The translation company used is ISO 9001:2008 certified. The translated and reviewed texts were reviewed by PI Learning Indicator’s in-country reviewers familiar with the subject matter to assure preferred terminology and style.

Analyses have been conducted that establish that the PI Learning Indicator™ scores are distributed normally. The established norm represents a global average of multiple job functions and educational levels. PI Learning Indicator has also conducted norm studies on more homogeneous groups of people to further elaborate the applicability of PI Learning Indicator™.

Reliability analyses have been performed on individual languages and the high correlations stress the cultural neutrality and attest to the fact that PI Learning Indicator™ is a reliable assessment tool and emphasizes usability of PI Learning Indicator™.

PI Learning Indicator has been compared to several well-documented tools measuring the general cognitive ability. Analyses reveal high to very high correlations against all the tools, confirming that PI Learning Indicator measures the general cognitive ability and is a valid assessment tool with great applicability. PI Learning Indicator assists our clients in developing internal policies and guidelines ensuring that candidates are treated fairly and consistently.