What Makes an
Emotional Intelligence
Test Valid?


How do you know if an emotional intelligence test is accurate and trustworthy? As emotional intelligence has become more popular as a concept, dozens of emotional intelligence tests have flooded the market. Some are credible; some are not. This video breaks down the key elements of a valid emotional intelligence assessment: 

3 Types of Emotional Intelligence Test Validity

1. Face Validity

Face validity is the degree to which a psychological test or assessment appears to align with its stated aims. Do the assessment’s questions and report make sense for an emotional intelligence assessment? At a bare minimum, Joshua Freedman says, an emotional intelligence assessment should ask questions related to emotions. In reality, many assessments do not – and are simply using the phrase emotional intelligence because of its popularity.

2. Construct Validity

Construct validity includes statistical analyses to assess the extent to which the measure ‘behaves’ in a way consistent with theoretical hypotheses. In other words, do the questions fit together in a way that makes mathematical sense, and provide meaningful results? The Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment (SEI) gives feedback within the framework of the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence. Likewise, Six Seconds’ Vital Signs Assessments use the Vital Signs model. With over a decade of underlying research, these tools were developed through multiple statistical analyses using tests such as exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, chronbach alpha correlations, interscale correlations, multiple regressions, and more advanced statistical testing.

3. Test Retest Validity

Test Retest Validity measures reliability and stability over time. When researchers measure a construct that they assume to be consistent across time, then the scores they obtain should also be consistent across time. Emotional intelligence does change over time – but should not wildly fluctuate in a matter of days. The problem with many emotional intelligence tests is they are statistically equivalent to a magazine quiz and are, as a result, easy to manipulate; it’s obvious what answers to choose to get different results. A valid emotional intelligence assessment will be difficult to manipulate and delivers consistent results over time.

What Does It Mean To Say a Test Is Normed?

Six Seconds assessments are normed with a global dataset – what does that mean? A norm base is a group that is representative of the whole that you then use to compare everyone’s results. It’s the foundation of a good assessment.

Normed with a global dataset

Many assessments use a small norm base, or one that is not representative of the general population – like a group of only university students. Tests that are normed this way, and then used with different populations, may not work well for people outside of that small population. A high quality emotional intelligence assessment is normed, validated and then re-validated on a regular basis, with a large, representative norm base.


Compare Emotional Intelligence Tests

Check out the pros and cons of some of the leading emotional intelligence assessments: https://www.6seconds.org/2011/07/18/emotional-intelligence-test-compare/

Note: Read the description for a summary of each assessment’s psychometric validity.


Six Seconds Tools & Assessments

Six Seconds publishes robust and effective emotional intelligence assessments that are psychologically normed and validated. Use our search tool to find the best test for your project – whether it’s for youth or adults, self-assessments or 360s, and working with individuals, groups or entire organizations. Learn more here: https://www.6seconds.org/tools/

More videos about emotional intelligence assessments…

Michael Miller