Inter-Rater Reliability: Ask Us Anything

Inter-Rater Reliability: Ask Us Anything

Ensuring inter-rater reliability is an essential part of any agency’s Quality Assurance (QA) process and it’s also frequently left out. Why? Many practitioners aren’t well-versed on how to do it, and it seems like a much more daunting task than it really is.

We’ve compiled the questions we most frequently hear from customers to help you and your team get up to speed on inter-rater reliability.

What is inter-rater reliability?

Inter-rater reliability is the level of consistency with which your team administers assessments. There are a few parts of any assessment that require a little subjectivity in the rating, and in order for your assessment tool to consistently show optimal performance, your team needs to be rating each of these pieces in a consistent way.

Why is inter-rater reliability important?

Your assessment tool’s output is only as useful as its inputs. Research shows that when inter-rater reliability is less than excellent, the number of false positives and false negatives produced by an assessment tool increases1. Risk and needs assessments are used to help your team make more informed, data-driven decisions, and it’s important for the assessments’ outputs to be as accurate as possible. That can only happen when the data being collected and analyzed is accurate.

How do I test for inter-rater reliability?

It’s more straightforward than you think. The Northpointe Suite contains a QA module that has everything you need to test for inter-rater reliability, among other things. Right from your case management tool, you can implement this important part of your QA process and get results quickly and easily.

What should I do if my team’s inter-rater reliability is low?

Start by taking a deeper look at the problem. Is everyone interpreting the questions and responses the same way, or differently? Is there one individual who is off, and everyone else is consistent? It may be that your entire team needs clarification and refresher training on administering the instrument, or it may be that there is one member of your team who is struggling and needs help. Your inter-rater reliability results will be improved by ensuring that you have clear assessment scoring standards in place, and that your team is trained to capture the data accurately and consistently. Using the QA module as part of your agency’s practice will demonstrate your commitment to accuracy and identify when your team may need additional support.

Have more questions?

Give us a call! We’re here to help, and we love helping teams up their QA game. Talk to one of our experts today.

  1. Bureau of Justice Assistance