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Number of Trainees
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Guide to Good Practices for the Design, Development, and Implementation of Examinations
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Test Specifications


DOE-HDBK-1205-97
4. WRITTEN AND ORAL TESTS
When written and oral tests are designed and developed, several decisions should be
made early in the process. These decisions include:
C
Specific learning objectives to be tested
C
Format for the test
C
Amount of emphasis each test item receives
C
Number of items on the test
C
Time allowed for the test
C
Statistical properties of test items such as difficulty and discrimination, where
appropriate.
4.1 Open Reference Test
Open reference or open book testing is when the reference, or a sufficient subset of the
reference, is provided to the trainee during administration of a test. The test developer
should determine which references and their applications are necessary after reviewing the
learning objectives and the test specifications. While the open reference test is essentially
no different than other written tests, there are several points to consider when using this
method.
Ensure that the trainees are aware the test will include an open reference section as well
as what references will be made available to them. Listing specific references may not be
necessary; however, the references and job aids should be made available during testing
consistent with the conditions stated in the learning objectives. This step is important
because trainees need to know what will be expected during testing (i.e., using references
rather than memorizing them).
Administer all closed reference test items separately and prior to the open-reference test
section. This ensures that the trainees do not find so-called "giveaway" answers in the
references.
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