An Application of a Decision-Theoretic Model to a Quota-Free Selection Problem

Ben-Shakhar, Gershon; Belier, Michal
February 1983
Journal of Applied Psychology;Feb83, Vol. 68 Issue 1, p137
Academic Journal
The present study demonstrates a possible application of a threshold utility model for evaluating the student selection procedure in the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. An index of usefulness of the predictor is defined in terms of its contribution to the expected utility of the possible outcomes of the decision problem. The ranges of utility ratios for which the predictor is useful are computed for several values of operating costs and for three dichotomous definitions of success in the faculty. The computations are based on a follow-up study in which the conditional distributions of the predictor are estimated for successful and unsuccessful students. All applicants are represented in this study, regardless of their predictor scores. The results seem to show that the predictor is likely to be regarded as useful, unless its costs are very large. This conclusion is generalizable across the different definitions of success, since the utility ratios and the prior probabilities of success tend to neutralize one another (such that extreme β values are unlikely). Advantages and limitations of the present model are discussed.


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