to distract the trainee. All questions asked during a performance test should be related to the
task's terminal and enabling learning objectives, starting with the easier questions. This
technique tends to build confidence and puts the trainee at ease. The instructor may then
progress to more thought-provoking questions. The instructor may also ask the trainee to "talk
through" the task as he/she performs it. This technique reduces the number of questions the
instructor needs to ask and allows the instructor to stop the trainee before he/she makes a
serious mistake. The questions used may be written in the evaluation standard (preferred
method) or generated by the instructor during the performance test. Approved questions may
be maintained in a question and answer bank and inserted into the evaluation standard prior to
conducting a performance test.
Benefits of developing written questions for the instructor to ask as a part of the performance
test include standardizing the knowledge assessment portion and minimizing the diversion of
the instructor's attention from the trainee's answer (the instructor may be thinking about what
to ask next while the trainee is answering the current question). Wrong responses may then
go unnoticed, thus reinforcing in the trainee's mind that what he/she said was correct when, in
fact, it was not. The questions asked during the performance test should test understanding
and judgment as well as factual knowledge.
If the evaluation standard was developed with questions and answers built into it, the instructor
should select appropriate questions to spot-check the trainee's knowledge. Questions asked
during the test need not be restricted to those stated verbatim in the evaluation standard. The
instructor may rephrase or expand them as appropriate. The instructor should also keep in
mind that the trainee's answer will usually not be a verbatim answer. The instructor should
record on the evaluation standard whether the trainee's response was satisfactory or
unsatisfactory, and if unsatisfactory, the given response.
If questions are not included as a part of the evaluation standard, the instructor should ask
questions to assess knowledge and record them as previously described.
The instructor has the option of asking several different types of questions during the
performance test. This applies equally well to developing questions as part of an evaluation
standard or to the instructor who is administering a performance test that was developed
without questions. The two most common question types are the open-ended question and
the closed-ended question. A good mix of these two types of questions should provide the
instructor with enough information to determine whether the trainee has adequate knowledge.
The open-ended question places the burden of conversation on the trainee and gives the
instructor time to analyze what the trainee is saying. It reduces the total number of questions
asked and is very useful when starting a line of questioning in a new subject area. The
following are two examples of open-ended questions:
Describe the procedure for starting the recirculation pump.