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Selection of Test Format
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Guide to Good Practices for the Design, Development, and Implementation of Examinations
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Written and Oral Test


DOE-HDBK-1205-97
Number of Trainees
The number of trainees that take a test can impact on the format chosen for the test. A
key advantage of certain formats is quick scoring. If a test is used for a large number of
people, this may be the best choice. However, quality should never be sacrificed for
quantity.
Time
Essay tests generally require more time to administer and score. Essay tests may require
an hour to administer four questions, while four multiple choice questions can typically be
completed in a few minutes. The length of a written test should not exceed the number of
test items which could be answered in two hours by the average trainee. This may require
assembling several tests for a given instructional area. Time is also a factor in the
administration of performance tests. It can easily take several hours to set up and
administer a performance test on a simulator or in an on-the-job location.
Before tests can be developed, the appropriate test format should be selected. There are
three basic formats:
C
Written tests
C
Oral question tests
C
Performance tests.
10


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