What Does an Invalid Result Mean?

Jan 3, 2019 9:00:00 AM / by Christina Bowser

The results of the DISC assessment were invalid. Now what are you supposed to do?

Some DISC tools never produce an invalid; meaning, a person can blindly select answers or try to game the system, and there will still be results. You need valid and accurate results in order to make important decisions. One of the strengths of the Extended DISC® Assessment is that a result will not be produced if a DISC style cannot be clearly identified. This situation, with very low validity, is called an invalid profile.

Why generate invalid results?

Question mark on computer screen held by male worker

The Extended DISC® tool is a behavioral inventory designed to reliably identify a respondent's natural style. It does so by looking for a logical answering pattern and if the pattern can be followed throughout the DISC questionnaire. Does the person select at least one DISC style consistently in their answering? If the system is unable to establish a clear pattern, then an invalid will result. The underlying reason for an invalid profile is that a person did not respond consistently to the 24 questions. As a result, it is not possible to identify the person's style.

However, we do not assume the person has done anything wrong. More often than not, the person was rushing through the questionaire, distracted, or unable to focus. There are other reasons the results can be invalid; the person tried to produce a certain result, misunderstood the instructions, or was in a state of significant turmoil. It is important to take the appropriate steps in guiding the person to retake the questionnaire in order to generate accurate results.

Strength of the system

Strength written on desert road
We may quickly assume an invalid result is a weakness of the system, but it is actually a strength; it is part of the system's validity checks. If the person is not consistently identifying any DISC style, then we cannot reliably produce an accurate description of the person's behavioral style. Other instruments may not pay attention to the validity of the results, but may produce a report regardless, as long as the person has responded. How confident would we be with those results?

If you use Extended DISC® assessments, there's a good chance you will come across an invalid result. The percentage of invalid results varies by country, but the percentages are usually not high. The U.S. has about a 1.5% rate of invalid results (The Extended DISC® Validation Report). These percentages can correlate with the stability and general trust between people in a department or even a country. If you are working with a group or organization that has a lot of dysfunction or turmoil, then it would not be unusual to see a higher percentage of invalid results. If a department or organization has an unusually high number of invalids then it is a strong indicator that there is something going on in the organization and leadership should be made aware of it.

Using the Extended DISC® assessments allows you to feel more confident in trusting the results. In fact, the invalid profile message can prevent us from using information that may be inaccurate or misinterpreted.

What do you do with an invalid result?

Steps for delivering Extended DISC invalid results

It is VERY important to note that an invalid result does not indicate a problem. You can simply ask your client to wait 24 - 36 hours from taking the initial assessment and complete the questionnaire again. One of the most common reasons for invalid results is people rushed or were distracted. The extra time will help them set aside time and focus to generate valid results. They can use same access code and the same assessment link. We have an invalid result client response template that can help you better deliver an invalid result.

The Extended DISC®Assessment is a tool that measures both the person's spontaneous response style and also his/her current feelings. In most cases the spontaneous measuring of feelings does not work as actively if the completion of the questionnaire is repeated. Therefore, in most cases the second time will produce a valid result.

The big picture

Ultimately the tool is designed to help people make conscious decisions about modifying their behaviors. In order to do so, we must be able to trust the results. So, the next time you receive an invalid result, you will have the information you need to assist your client.

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Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser