Predicting Airport Screening Officers' Visual Search Competency With a Rapid Assessment.
Objective The study's objective was to assess a new personnel selection and assessment tool for aviation security screeners. A mobile app was modified to create a tool, and the question was whether it could predict professional screeners' on-job performance. Background A variety of professions (airport security, radiology, the military, etc.) rely on visual search performance-being able to detect targets. Given the importance of such professions, it is necessary to maximize performance, and one means to do so is to select individuals who excel at visual search. A critical question is whether it is possible to predict search competency within a professional search environment. Method Professional searchers from the USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) completed a rapid assessment on a tablet-based X-ray simulator (XRAY Screener, derived from the mobile technology app Airport Scanner; Kedlin Company). The assessment contained 72 trials that were simulated X-ray images of bags. Participants searched for prohibited items and tapped on them with their finger. Results Performance on the assessment significantly related to on-job performance measures for the TSA officers such that those who were better XRAY Screener performers were both more accurate and faster at the actual airport checkpoint. Conclusion XRAY Screener successfully predicted on-job performance for professional aviation security officers. While questions remain about the underlying cognitive mechanisms, this quick assessment was found to significantly predict on-job success for a task that relies on visual search performance. Application It may be possible to quickly assess an individual's visual search competency, which could help organizations select new hires and assess their current workforce.
Mitroff, SR; Ericson, JM; Sharpe, B
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