4. ORAL EXAMINATIONS
Oral examinations are used in many occupations, including the medical and dental fields,
civil service, emergency response organizations, union apprenticeship programs, and
commercial and DOE nuclear industries. If oral examinations are properly developed and
consistently administered, they are useful to test the level of learning and comprehension.
4.1 Types and Uses of Oral Examinations
Several types of oral examinations are used for the qualification or certification of DOE
nuclear facility personnel. The most common include the oral checkout, oral board,
performance demonstration, and operational evaluation. Regardless of the type of oral
examination used, questions are based on learning objectives derived from an analysis of
The oral checkout is an oral examination usually conducted one-on-one, examiner to
trainee. Oral checkouts ascertain an individual's fundamental knowledge of theoretical
concepts, equipment and system operation, normal and abnormal operating procedures,
and interrelated systems or components. Oral checkouts should use the learning objectives
or qualification standard as the basis for the questions.
There may be special cases in which a written examination is administered by using an oral
checkout. In these cases, a written exam is given to a trainee by reading the questions to
the trainee. The responses should be recorded for the trainee by the examination proctor
or verified against the correct answer. When the trainee is required to read and understand
facility procedures and warning signs to perform the job, oral administration of written
examinations in related areas should be prohibited.
The oral board is an oral examination wherein a panel is convened to determine if a trainee
has achieved the level of knowledge required for qualification as a facility operator,