[IPAC-List] Does the day you take an oral exam matter?

Brull, Harry Harry.Brull at personneldecisions.com
Wed Apr 1 15:28:33 EDT 2009

I have heard this occasionally (particularly in the past). One of the
bases for the perception is that candidate's who appear later have more
access (real or perceived) to information which helps them prepare.
By the way, the best antidote for structured orals is to give all
candidates sample questions on the front end. That way, all candidates
have time to prepare - no matter what day they appear.
For role-play exercises, one solution is to change scenarios every day
(or use random scenario assignment throughout the process). Then
standard score each scenario.
Using these two methods, I've not ever heard the complaint.
The proofs-in-the-pudding argument is to analyze scores by day and see
if there is any upward trend. The danger with this after-the-fact
analysis is "What do you do if it turns out to be true?"

Harry Brull

Harry Brull
Senior Vice President
Personnel Decisions International-PDI Minneapolis
Expert Partners. Real Leadership Advantage.
Suite 4900
33 South sixth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Direct :612-337-8233 fax: 612-337-3695
harry.brull at personneldecisions.com


-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
[mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Reed, Elizabeth
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 10:47 AM
To: 'ipac-list at ipacweb.org'
Subject: [IPAC-List] Does the day you take an oral exam matter?

IPAC members and friends:

The City of Columbus utilizes oral exams in all of our promotional
testing for both police and fire. These oral exams usually consist of
either two role-play exercises or one role-play exercise and one
structured interview. Depending on the number of candidates, these
exams can take up to six full days to administer. Over the years,
candidates have complained about being assigned on either the first day
of testing or the last day of testing. The candidates' perception is
that the day of the exam makes a difference in the score that they
receive. Questions for you:

Is this a common perception? Is anyone aware of studies conducted to
analyze this? What do you believe would be the best approach to study
this situation?

Thank you,
Liz Reed

Elizabeth A. Reed
Police and Fire Assessment Supervisor
Columbus Civil Service Commission
750 Piedmont Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43224
Office: (614) 645-6032 Fax: (614) 645-0866
Email: Ereed1 at columbus.gov

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