Optimizing Quality in the Use of Web-Based and Computer-Based Testing for Personnel Selection in VS .NET

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Optimizing Quality in the Use of Web-Based and Computer-Based Testing for Personnel Selection
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INTRODUCTION
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This chapter traces the history and development of computer- or web-based testing It is argued that for all kinds of testing the standards of quality and control can only be achieved by experimental approaches that guarantee objectivity, reliability and, above all, validity A brief look at possible areas of application clearly indicates that there is a growing demand for computerand web-based tests Apart from traditional multiple-choice item formats, the most promising approach is seen in simulation and game test procedures Very often they are cast in joblike scenarios so that managers and applicants nd them particularly attractive for their real life perspective However, these tests are problematic in terms of providing good psychometric measurements Finally, we propose some ideas and criteria for quality assurance The introduction of computer-assisted testing (CAT) is directly connected to the prevalence of personal computers themselves Thus, 1/1/1980, the earliest date put into the boot ROM of the rst IBM PCs, may be taken as the starting point of CAT Sands, Waters, and McBride (1997) tell this story very well However, there had been earlier attempts, which were compiled by Suppes, Jerman, and Brian (1968), and by Suppes and Morningstar (1972) in their seminal report on computer-based training And if one goes back even further, then Pressey s (1926) learning machine may be considered a very early attempt at mechanising training and testing, although it was quite far removed from what we today understand as computerized testing
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Computer-Based Testing and the Internet: Issues and Advances Edited by D Bartram and R K Hambleton # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
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COMPUTER-BASED TESTING AND THE INTERNET
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Hence the advent of versatile PCs marks the beginning of the modern approaches to testing and training PCs ourished as mass storage became available, so that nowadays they are to be found in every of ce and most homes This increase of storage on hard drives and CDs and in other forms, also allows for the use of sounds and motion in training and testing It is possible to envision a future when testing embedded in training and psychological testing will be done with PCs or with something like a general home multi-media control box, the successor of our present television set, which will be a versatile computer that, apart from radically transforming our home life, providing entertainment, tele-work and education, will also ful l training and testing functions Already the modern testing of today emulates a good television show and is a far cry from the electronic page turners of the early days In psychological measurement generally, and in computer-based testing in particular, it is considered to be crucial to keep all items concealed from participants Only specimen items are released to participants so that they get an idea of what is going to be asked of them, what the testing session will look like, and what possible results would emerge In many cases this information is so inadequate that it patently fails in preparing the participants for the real testing situation An entire literature stemming from psychological experimentation has been borrowed for computerised testing, but the fundamental emphasis is still on experimental control Testing should be organised in such a way that nothing but the underlying psychological trait or competency carries over into the results Standardisation is another important factor besides experimental control seating arrangements, lighting, taped instructions, strict time control, and other conditions have to be the same for every participant If any of the situational factors are considered to have a bearing on the nal results, then all participants must be equally subjected to them in the same manner Paper pencil testing, individual testing of one person by one psychologist, and even computer-assisted testing follow the same principle of control and standardisation in order to ensure quality of results However, this sense of strict control becomes more dif cult to implement with the notion of an entertainment box in any household where testing may also be delivered Nevertheless, the internet makes this possible, and there is no way of stopping it Rather, the challenge is how to assure quality of individual results and personnel decisions Careers and pay will depend on it, as will self-esteem and social recognition It seems that solutions at hand continue to follow the strict control paradigm and use technical devices to achieve this end, but the question remains as to how the professional development of internet-based testing programs can be taken forward
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