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The Purposes of Testing
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Guide to Good Practices for the Design, Development, and Implementation of Examinations
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Program Evaluation - hdbk12050011


DOE-HDBK-1205-97
The most common test type for the performance-based training environment is the
performance test. These tests are normally developed by the facility training department
and are used to qualify, requalify, and test the progress of trainees for a specific task, job, or
position. A pass/fail system is based on a preestablished cutoff score. Most tests of this
type are not designed to identify unique trainee strengths or weaknesses but can be used for
this purpose.
2.2 Trainee Selection and Placement
Tests are useful for trainee selection and placement. Entrance tests are sometimes used as
a basis for the initial decision for hiring an employee or for waiving specific job training
requirements after that employee begins work. Test scores may also indicate the need for
remedial training. Many facilities use aptitude tests for placement of trainees in training
programs. Some use interest inventories and psychological evaluations to aid in job
placement. If a facility uses placement tests, the facility management, personnel
department, and training staff should make placement decisions based, in part upon test
scores.
2.3 Trainee Motivation
Tests are powerful motivators. Trainee study habits can be affected by test schedules.
When tests are given on a daily or weekly basis, trainees may study more in anticipation of
those tests. Likewise, when there is only an end-of-course test, many trainees may
postpone studying until just before the test. Trainees are also generally motivated by the
feedback that a test score provides. Low test scores could raise trainees' anxiety levels,
which if properly channeled, can result in increased concentration and study.
2.4 Instructional Improvement
Test results can provide constructive feedback regarding the effectiveness of a training
program. If an instructor fails to adequately cover a topic in a classroom presentation or a
laboratory exercise, lower test results may reveal the omission. Uniformly high scores for a
topic or subject area may indicate that instruction was effective, and can signify the
readiness of the trainees for more detailed material or for the next step in the training
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