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BLOG SERIES: The Value of Pre-Employment Testing – 4-Part Series

Part 3: Competency-Based Testing – Standardized Assessments

Nocti Business Solutions (NBS) was formed in the 1990s and is the sister company of the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) which has been a world-wide leader in competency testing for 50 years. NBS offers 136 standardized assessments covering over 100 technical skill areas.  These standardized assessments are broken out into three separate skill levels – entry level; experienced worker; and advanced skill.  They are built upon nationally-validated, workplace-based standards and are designed to assist clients in developing a world-class workforce.  NBS meets the international standards (ISO 17024) for organizations dealing in personnel credentialing, and meets accepted national standards established by the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Council Measurement in Education (NCME).

NBS standardized assessments are reflective of critical core competencies required in a particular occupation. The assessments are based on national and industry standards and are developed by using a job and task analysis process.  In some cases, core competencies are representative of standards determined by a recognized industry-based association.  In these cases, subject matter experts are selected from that industry.  Standardized assessments are designed to measure the skills of individuals who have completed a program of study or have experience within an occupation.

Organizations can use standardized assessments to hire the best worker for the job, identify training needs, measure effectiveness of training programs, and institute a legally defensible employee selection system. Always conscious of content and construct validity, NBS provides strict guidelines for determining test content.  The United States’ Department of Labor’s national occupation database, O*NET, is used as one source of information on important job content.  Subject matter experts are also relied upon to reference standards in their field.

Job applicants and current employees are able to demonstrate their competence on a nationally validated test and use the test results as a credential for employment and occupational competence. Standardized assessments may be used for pre- and post-testing.  The pre-/post-assessment comparison is a powerful tool to identify training needs and performance.  The impact of this comparison can be meaningful for training development and demonstrate program improvement.

Blueprints for all NBS standardized assessments are available to the general public through the NBS website so all test candidates have the opportunity to view the standards to which they will be held accountable.

Assessments consist of either written (cognitive) or performance (psychomotor) components. The written component consists of multiple-choice items and can be delivered in either an online or paper/pencil format.  Performance assessments consist of a series of jobs that individuals are required to complete based on instructions provided.  Performance is then rated using specific criteria.

UPCOMING: Part 4: Competency-Based Testing – Customized Assessments