Testing…Five, Six, Seven

An earlier article of mine, Testing One, Two, Three, Four, cited four companies offering skills assessment products. But given the many options available, it’s worthwhile to take a look at some other testing answers. In addition to the computer-based testing software found at its main site, Know It All, Inc., a division of TalentPoint, features online products at its ProveIt site. So, Prove It Tests at ProveIt are divided into three categories: “TechTests,” “Clerical Tests,” and “Software Tests.” In the area of technical assessment, there are over 150 tests from which to choose. The wide range of products includes tests from entry-level to advanced. TechTests take from 30 to 60 minutes to complete, with an average of 50 questions per test. Under the heading “Clerical Tests” you’ll find over 30 products including several to measure general office skills, along with tests for accounting and finance. There are also a number of tests pertaining to the legal and medical fields. The category “Software Tests” currently includes over 150 tests for a variety of software products, along with data entry, proofreading and typing tests. “Clerical Tests” and “Software Tests” typically take between 10 and 25 minutes to complete. ProveIt test results are available immediately at a password-protected homepage and, upon request, by email. According to Amy McClenahan, product manager for Know It All, other selections can be made regarding the dissemination of information. “A customer can choose how much feedback a test taker gets,” she says. In addition to a range of product and reporting choices, ProveIt offers customers pricing options. Tests can be purchased individually or in blocks. The larger the block, the lower the test price. There are also monthly and annual subscription plans which allow for even greater savings. Thousands of Answers, Immediate Results ReviewNet Corporation is a provider of Internet-based IT skills measurement products. Founded in 1997, the company was initially focused on pre-employment testing and interviewing IT professionals. Although ReviewNet has expanded to include other areas of IT personnel staffing and retention, it maintains its testing stronghold with a network of over 400 technical experts upon whom it relies for industry knowledge and updates. A main feature of ReviewNet is its KnowledgeBase of over 9,000 technical questions and answers. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> A ReviewNet test is generally part of an overall screening process that includes other components. One of the most important of these, according to Alan Fiermonte, vice president of business development for ReviewNet, is a built-in interactive interviewing capability. Tests can also be administered independent of other options. All ReviewNet tests and screening packages can be customized to suit individual client requirements. When creating tests, customers choose from ReviewNet’s extensive KnowledgeBase of questions. If a company opts to create a customized screening platform, it can also author its own questions. In addition, there are several testing formats. Although most tests are multiple choice, there are questions that are open-ended, scenario-based, and some with graphics and illustrations. Test results are available immediately online at a private customer drill down area of the ReviewNet Web site or via email. One feature of ReviewNet test results is that both right and wrong answers are provided for each question, along with explanations for each. According to Fiermonte, this serves as a learning tool for recruiters. ReviewNet also assists recruiters in other ways. “We offer 24/7 support and service,” says Fiermonte, noting that ReviewNet’s client care program extends to training on how to use the system, answering questions regarding testing and scoring, and help interpreting results. Pricing for ReviewNet products is based on volume. A client pays an annual license fee that includes all components of ReviewNet Screening. The fee is based on the number of sessions. Additional preset fees may also apply should a client wish to create hybrid tests. Checking it Out: Technical Proficiency TeckChek is another company offering online IT skills testing. The company, which first became involved with computer-based, adaptive testing in 1987, currently has a library of tests in over 145 technologies from which to choose. The company offers both onsite, proctored exams and remote, self-administered testing. TeckChek tests generally take 24 minutes to an hour to complete. Some feature time limits and shut down automatically, although some of the longer tests are not time restricted. All exams adjust in difficulty in response to the test taker. Individuals with higher skill levels will see more difficult questions, while those with less proficiency will see less difficult questions. According to Alan Epstein, president and CEO of Knowledge Testing Enterprises, the parent company of TeckChek, the process saves time. “What you’re trying to do is pretty quickly come up with a hypothesis about how strong a test taker is,” he says. TeckChek tests utilize multiple-choice questions. However, while each question has five possible answers, as many as three of these may be correct. Test takers, therefore, are allowed to select up to three answers per question. Because some answers require more knowledge than others, the process allows the candidates to demonstrate their abilities. Another of TeckChek’s features is its “Technical Proficiency Profile,” an online management report that provides detailed feedback on the skills of the test taker. Because the answer to each test question is weighted, several scaled scores are returned. The candidate is also measured against other TeckChek test takers in a specific technology. In addition, the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in the technology are assessed. Pricing at TeckChek falls into three categories. For new customers, the company offers what it refers to as a “Taster Package.” The purchase process works like a debit card and includes 20, 50, or 100 tests. The next level of pricing involves an annual license fee; a customer is billed monthly and has access to the TeckChek library. The third option is for those customers committed to a large volume of testing. Based on a guaranteed volume, TeckChek structures a preferred client rate. The Right Answer Whether your testing needs require general products or those specifically for IT, given the multiple choices in the marketplace, there’s bound to be an answer that’s right for your organization.

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Paula Santonocito is an e-recruitment strategist and columnist for AIRS, the global leader in Internet recruitment training, tools, news and information. AIRS News:www.airsdirectory.com/news/newsletters/ AIRS Training:www.airsdirectory.com/products/training/ AIRS SearchStation:www.airsdirectory.com/products/tools/searchstation/