A Request for Investigation, stating that board members at Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists are operating outside of their area of competence in regard to selection testing and racial discrimination, was reviewed in an executive session of the Board last month
The psychologists, Drs. William Costelloe, Julie Nelson, and Marc Zimmermann, are all business psychologists who have extensive experience with high stakes selection testing in the private sector.
On February 15, Dr. Zimmerman emailed Executive Director Ms. Jamie Monic asking her, “It has been in excess of 30 days since this was sent. We have not received any response. I am writing to be sure the Request was received and if there has been any action on this matter.”
Ms. Monic replied, “Your Request for Investigation was received on January 11, 2022. I will send you a formal acknowledgment of receipt and response following the Board Meeting on February 18, 2022.
“The agenda for the February meeting of the board included the Executive Session item “Legal Issues and Strategy [LSA-R.S.42.17.A(4), 44:4.1] – AttorneyClient Privilege” and numbered “P21-22-09P Received 1/11/2022.”
No additional information has been received as of publication.
In their Request for Investigation, Costelloe, Nelson, and Zimmermann wrote: “We submit this request for investigation because we believe that the psychologists serving on the board (Drs. Gibson, Gormanus, Moore, Harness, and Sam) are currently in violation of ethical principle §1305, A.1., 2., 5., & 6. This is because the board members do not have the specific competences to develop an anti-discriminatory selection program, then members are in violation of the ethics code.
“There is evidence that confirms that the EPPP has adverse impact against African-Americans and Hispanics. Dr. Brian Sharpless proved adverse impact for the EPPP in New York. He studied 4,892 New York applicants and first-time EPPP takers over 25 years. He found that Blacks had a failure rate of 38.50% and Hispanics had a failure rate of 35.60%. Whereas, Whites had a failure rate of 14.07%. Dr. Sharpless also studied 642 applicants to the Connecticut State Board of Examiners of Psychologists with similar results. Whites had a 5.75% failure rate, Blacks had a 23.33% failure rate, and Hispanics had a 18.6% failure rate.
“Once adverse impact has been shown for a test it is improper to ignore the selection problems.
Furthermore, the way in which the test is used by the Board members drives up adverse impact. As just one example, the use of a hard cut off, and one that sets a higher bar considering the restricted sample, on a test with proven adverse impact, is an error in professional selection testing design.
[…] “Finally, we are sympathetic to the situation that very few psychologists have developed expertise in this subspecialty of selection testing, and in particular, ways to reduce or totally avoid discriminatory practices. To that point, we are open to a resolution in concert with the aspirational goal of working closely with colleagues when we perceive an ethics code violation regarding area of competence.
“Summary We submit our complaint that the psychologists who are serving on the Board are unwittingly authorizing an inadequately designed selection program and therefore participated in unfairly denying African-American and Hispanic individuals licenses. This process may also be
harming the public by restricting the number of minority psychologists who serve the diverse citizens of our state.
“We request an investigation and make ourselves available for additional questions and a collaborative review of the matter.”