In Part 1 of the series, we discussed how public sector organizations can actively manage their reputations; in doing so, we concentrated on the general topic of reputation or image and its relation to selection strategy. In Part 2 of the series we discussed the effective management of four major functions:
- Selection Methods.
In our final installment, Part 3, I will concentrate my discussion on pretest and post-test issues. Given, I can only cover a limited number of topics, I have decided to concentrate on issues that interest me and major problem areas I have seen during my years in testing. This will include:
- Possible, and Impossible, Deadlines
- Minimum Qualifications
- Reporting Scores
- Feedback and Development
Given space limitations, I am not going to cover the test day itself or the actual administration. In part, this is because I have discussed some of the major issues in Part 2. More importantly, the topic of test day administration is already covered in detail in a number of excellent publications available online from IPMA-HR; in particular, as I mentioned last month, the IPMA-HR Test Administration Handbook, authored by Dianna E. Belman, and edited by Toni Kovalski, Bruce Davey, and Andrey Pankov. This valuable resource can be found for free at the IPMA-HR Assessment Services website. Tests ordered from IPMA-HR also come with a Test Day Administration Guide, designed to assist with test day administration issues.
Possible, and Impossible, Deadlines
In my 30 plus years of involvement in public sector testing, including responding to many Requests for Proposals (RFPs), I believe one of the biggest problems is the setting of unrealistic test dates, which leaves the jurisdiction, and candidates, with too little time to prepare for the test.
For example, a civil service commission tells me they want to give a promotional test for manager on December 6th. Do I have enough time? Working backwards and simple math provide me with an answer.
First, for promotional tests I should have a reading list; even for entry level tests I may want to provide some type of preparatory material that the candidates can read. At a minimum, I should give the candidates 60 days to read the materials and prepare. Depending on availability, it may take another couple of weeks to obtain the source documents. Of course, I have to put together the reading list, or select the test with its accompanying reading list. Those decisions should be made based upon the completion of my job analysis, which might take another month. Conservatively then, I should have 4 months or 120 days between the request from the civil service commission for a test administration and the date of the test; six months would be even better and allow time for handling various unexpected issues that arise. Therefore, unless I receive the request by August 6th, I am already in crisis mode, pointing out the need to educate your civil service commission or operating departments to the realities of assessment. Continue reading