An ethics test is a test designed to measure someone's ability to adhere to a code of conduct and beliefs. The test usually presents a series of hypothetical situations and asks the test taker to explain how he or she would respond to those situations. Ethics testing can be used in many different ways, ranging from collecting data about participants in a scientific study to screening job candidates to determine whether they would be a good fit for a workplace.
Ethics is a set of principles that set out the differences between right and wrong. People can approach ethics from a number of perspectives. People from different cultures, for example, may view right and wrong differently. Likewise, many professions have ethical codes for their members, designed to ensure a high standard of behavior, and people who work in these professions may incorporate their professional ethics into their personal lives.
One reason to conduct an ethics test is to determine whether or not someone has absorbed professional ethics. Many workplaces rely on ethical behavior from their employees, whether they are providing financial advice or counseling people in need of psychiatric help. An ethics test screens people to see how they respond to given situations. If a job candidate answers questions in unethical ways, it suggests that this person may not be a good choice for the position.
Ethics tests can also be administered by professional organizations to people who would like to join. These tests are used along with other measures to decide whether or not someone is qualified to practice under the banner of the organization. People must also usually agree to sign a document indicating that they understand the ethical code of the organization and will adhere to it.
Sometimes people take ethics tests as a matter of personal interest. Answers to ethics tests can sometimes reveal interesting information about people and challenge the way people think about ethical issues. Sometimes students in philosophy and ethics classes are invited to take such tests as a way of exploring the role that ethics can have in their personal lives. People are sometimes surprised to find that they do not apply ethics universally and may struggle unexpectedly with ethically ambiguous situations presented on an ethics test.
It is important to note that although ethics purports to help people tell the difference between right and wrong, these concepts can be nebulous. There are not necessarily right or wrong answers to an ethics test, because ethical situations do not occur in a vacuum. Complicated circumstances can cloud a decision and make it difficult to determine the best course of action.