[IPAC-List] promotional exam strategy

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Tue Jun 28 15:56:58 EDT 2011

I used to use something like that for teaching as well. I'd list all
the concepts I wanted students to know, and terms I wanted them to be
familiar with, and inform them that this was the master list, from which
I would draw questions, hopefully packing as much of that into a
predefined number of questions as I could. (In some instances, the
distractors also require you to understand the concept, just so you can
classify it as a distractor and invalid response, such that one question
can actually address much more than just the material in the correct

The advantage it provides to testees is that it defines what they
*don't* have to worry about when preparing, and they appreciate that.
Assuming the range of information covered off by the list of stems is of
an appropriate size compared to the final list of questions (which in
this case it seems to be, 5:1), it will be perceived as fair by testees,
and also gives you some confidence that they've spent some time learning
about things that maybe you'd like them to know, but don't have
time/space to test them on.

The caveat is that you'd want some assurances that any given subset of
100 was roughly equal in both difficulty and predictive value. Y
certainly don't want to find yourself with mean scores that fluctuate
from session/class to session/class. And that entails a bit of work on
your part.

Mark Hammer

>>> <Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com> 2011/06/28 2:44 PM >>>

This would seem to me as a variant on providing a reading list as a
study guide. In this case, the jurisdiction is directing the
to the issues (items) that are considered important.
I have used a comparable technique in my collegiate teaching.
As for what to call it - beyond an inspired idea - I'd suggest
"item-based exam preparation/study guide".

As for the psychometric properties, I see no reason to expect anything
different than ant content-based multiple choice test - high
As for what you are really measuring, some combination of job
and a healthy does of "G".

Harry Brull
PDI Ninth House

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-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
[mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Morris, Ramona
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:32 PM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] promotional exam strategy


A police service is using a test on their local policy and procedures
part of the promotional process. Candidates are provided with the
of items (say 500)...just the stems without the distractors. The test
consists of a subset of multiple choice items(say 100).

The argument is that they want candidates to know all of the p and p,
and it is up to the candidate to prepare themselves. And, exam
becomes less of a headache.


1. What is this strategy called?

2. Do you have any advice about its use?

3. What do we know about the strategy (e.g. validity, reliability
efficiency etc.)

Ramona Morris

Ontario Police College

Aylmer, Ontario

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