[IPAC-List] Testing Education

Brull, Harry Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com
Mon Nov 23 11:29:15 EST 2009

I appreciate your latest E-mail, Ron.
It was H. L. Mencken who did the quote about underestimating the US
P.T. Barnum said "There is a sucker born every minute."


Harry Brull | Senior Vice-President
PDI Ninth House
Global Leadership Solutions

1.612.337.8233 office
1.612.414.8998 mobile
1.612.337.3695 fax
Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com

33 South Sixth Street
Suite 4900
Minneapolis, MN 55402


-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
[mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of RPClare at aol.com
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 7:55 AM
To: EReed1 at Columbus.gov; IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Testing Education

I, too, am an optimist. One of the many mentors I had trying to teach me

this business once said "no one ever failed a good exam". His
explanation was
that once you fail, it must be the tests fault. We have two reasons for

test advanced information/instructions. The first is to prepare those
will accept the information constructively and the second is to prepare
defense to a challenge that asserts they were never told xxxx.

Another important factor is how we communicate the results and afford
candidates the opportunity to learn from the process. I have several
anecdotes above the process and the bias in which candidates interpret
process. I believe PT Barnum once said "No one ever went broke
underestimating the American public." At an open seating exam, I
jokingly said "there is
no reason for anyone to try to copy other candidate's answers since
were each seated surrounded by folks that weren't as smart as they
were". At
the end of the test 4 or 5 people came up and asked how I did that.
will always be a portion of our customers who will complain about
everything and just don't/won't get it.

We need to focus on continuous education and PR about our processes and

create realistic expectations about the outcomes.

In a message dated 11/23/2009 8:29:51 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
EReed1 at Columbus.gov writes:

You can add me to list of hopeless idealist. I agree that we need to
change the message that we send to test takers, but that message begins
developing well-constructed, valid, reliable exams, that are
administered and
scored consistently and fairly. It doesn't take a person educated in
to identify a poorly developed exam. While such an individual may not
understand all the ins and outs of testing, they often have the
feedback we need
to hear.

We go through painstaking efforts to develop valid and reliable public
safety exams--I wouldn't have it any other way. After all, if we create
full of persons with little competence then we are literally putting
on the line. Candidates in public safety are critical of the examination

process and rightfully so. The pressure is on to ensure the testing
especially in a rule of three environment, is on target. We do get
candidates who will never understand that their performance of the
exams was lower
or lower than some other person, because they demonstrated less
the important areas that were assessed. However, we also get
candidates, who
after it's all said and done that state; I will follow whoever does
on the this exam--as they have earned it.

When we can achieve that type of sentiment when we know we did it well.


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

-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
[mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org]
On Behalf Of Mark Hammer
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2009 9:40 PM
To: IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Testing Education

It's not so much educated about tests, as much as educated about
process, sometimes. As for "by whom?", slipping a useful phrase or two
into the test administrators instruction sheet and script couldn't

We're in a rut when it comes to test instructions and the scripts we
administrators. We need to get out of it. Testees need to be able to
of us as being on their side, not merely another instance of the
they remember who took immense pride in failing everyone.

Our job is to help employers and candidates find a match. People
to be in jobs where they thrive, employers deserve to hire people who
be terrific AND happy in the job, and tests are in service of that.
me a hopeless idealist, but that message needs to get out there more

And not just in the employment context but in the education context
The goal of any test I might apply in a class is to find out if what
to get across to students is making it through, and for students to
for themselves that their subjective impression of learning is
substantiated by objective evidence.

If a test is "biased", it is telling you you're not good enough when
you are. If a test is inaccurate, it is telling you that there are
can do that maybe you can't, or that you can't do things that maybe you
can. When it comes to the resentment and paranoia many people have
about tests, they arrive at that view because they think purely in
of "bias", and rarely in terms of the value to themselves of an
assessment. Maybe if we broached the whole topic in terms of achieving
a win-win match, instead of pitching tests as if they are intended to
out the riff-riff, we'd meet with less hostility in a less adversarial


>>> "Dennis Doverspike " <dd1 at uakron.edu> 11/22/09 11:43 AM >>>

Educated - by whom? One of my great fears regarding testing, is that
problem is getting worse rather than better. Due to standardized
pressures in the schools, from 1st grade on, or even before, school
are now being taught by their teachers that tests are bad, unfair, do
assess knowledge, and are otherwise full of testing tricks. The
does not get better when students get to college, in Introduction to
Psychology classes, students are taught about the evils of testing
including the
inherent biases against most cultures. The government can point to SIOP

members and argue that there is no consensus that ability tests are
really valid
and free of bias, even if one could argue there is as much consensus as

there is in the medical community regarding drugs or surgeries.

My esteemed colleague Winfred Arthur often asks the question as to
if a test could be 100% accurate, would people want to use it or see
result? I fear we know how most people would answer that question.

We have met the enemy - and it is testing.

Of course, this problem is not limited to psychological tests for
employment purposes. People often cheat or fake on clinical psychology
usually to fake bad rather than good (and see for example the huge
recently over the release of the Rorschach ok Wikipedia). People cheat
drug tests. People cheat on medical exams.

And believe it or not, I am an optimist regarding human nature.

Dennis Doverspike

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