Allow sufficient time for the trainees to complete the open reference questions. The more
familiar trainees are with the references, the faster they can complete the items. However,
be cautious the test does not become a time test. Unless time is a crucial factor in the
task, it should not be made a part of the test.
4.2 Test Specifications
Test specifications are a blueprint, or plan, that clearly defines the scope and content of the
test. It is the documentation for the decisions made in the initial planning stages. Just as it
is important to develop learning objectives before instruction is planned, it is necessary to
develop test specifications prior to test construction.
The development of test specifications is a vital step in the testing process. Test
specifications provide two important checks on the entire test mechanism. They are:
An explicit, documented link between each test item and a learning objective
that is verified to be relevant, important, and based on the task
Consistency in the way tests are developed at a facility.
Consistency will assist in reducing biases in test content due to instructor likes and dislikes
or the changing of personnel at the facility. The process ensures all decisions for job
placement are based on trainee performance on the same body of knowledge and ability,
even though specific topics covered on individual tests may differ.
Developing Test Specifications
Since learning objectives complete with action statements, conditions, and standards
already exist, the major portion of test planning is accomplished. What remains is to
determine which objectives will be covered in the test, how many items will be included,
and which test items are of relative importance. When developing test specifications for
exams, it is important to recognize that the knowledge and skills for all learning objectives
must be tested at some point in the training.