While most instructors are aware of the physical testing environment, many do not give
sufficient consideration to the emotional environment they establish. The testing
environment should be conducive to effecting testing. Making the purpose of the test clear
and emphasizing the need for accurate test results can create a good emotional climate,
which is important in building motivation, reducing anxiety, and improving communications.
Each test should have clearly written directions. These directions should tell the trainee
what to do, how to do it, and how to record the responses. General directions should be
given for the test, with specific directions given for each section, subpart, and item format.
Though the instructor should orally present the directions prior to the start of the test, the
written directions should be clear enough to enable the trainees to complete the test
without any further instructions. The trainees should be given time to read the instructions
and ask questions before the test is started.
Questions that require mathematical calculations pose a unique problem. Suppose a
trainee performs a complex equation using a calculator in one step, while the answer key
breaks down the calculation into individual steps. The resulting answer will be different from
the answer provided in the answer key, since the answer key will break the answer down
into individual steps. Each step is then calculated separately and rounded to a significant
digit. Rounding of answers (or individual step answers) can cause an otherwise correct
answer to be marked as wrong, because the answer key specifies a discrete number.
Therefore, precision or accuracy of answers needs to be addressed in the test directions
and in the answer key.
Inform the trainees that they may ask questions during the test. Avoid giving individualized
assistance by providing any clarifying information from individually asked questions to the
Trainees should be told the value of test items and how they will be scored. The trainee
should know whether partial credit will be given, what degree of precision is required,
whether units must be identified (such as psi, ohms, rem), and, for calculations, if work must
be shown. Time limits should be stated.