Testing Knowledge vs. Testing Performance

Too many times we rely on tests of knowledge…

…when very few jobs are all about multiple choice tests or filling in blanks… 

…even if “scoring a performance” can be tested with a knowledge test …

…when testing ability to do the job should be the “acid test” is what should be tested…

… which of course would require Analysis of exactly what is that set of job tasks is – and not what are the topics that should be known…  

Testing is expensive. If you are going to do it – do it right.

Test the job tasks – not the topics about the tasks.

For a FREE copy of that 2008 e-book – in the above graphic – based on performance testing consulting engagements – please go here

Early reviews for Performance-based Employee Qualification/Certification Systems” – from 2007

Darlene Van Tiem:

Svenson and Wallace provide a definitive guidebook complete with sound advice and a wealth of examples, covering everything you need to establish and sustain a successful qualification/certification system!

Joe Durzo:

This whole book is like a road map to unexplored territory. Some practitioners have been there before but left no maps to guide those who follow. You have mapped out a complex territory that has had little systematic attention but which is very important.

This book is a very useful contribution to the practice of performance development and improvement. Most of the professional literature focuses on elements of the system—test development, feedback, etc. and NOT on the design and management of a whole-company approach to qualification and certification. Most of the really difficult issues are not in the individual blades of grass, but are in the overall landscape which you describe so well.

This book should be required reading for anyone who is venturing out for the first time to create a qualification/assessment/certification system.

Anita Augustine:

I like the questions approach used at the beginning and end of each chapter. I very much like the preface. It “sets” the book well regarding expectations. Emphasis on project plan criticality is GOOD! For some reason, establishing a strong agenda, for meetings, seems to be very difficult for most; these samples should be most helpful! The case studies are strong and I’m glad you incorporated those; most helpful. I really liked the work overall; it is thorough and well done.

Mark Graham Brown:

Thanks for sending me the book! You guys have done an amazing amount of work to document all this stuff and present it using beautiful pages. It looks very professional.

If the goal is to give someone step-by-step directions on how to design, develop, and maintain such a system, there is a lot of great detail here. Chapter 1 is interesting reading, addresses key questions a reader should have, and is clearly written. The book is clearly based on some valuable real-world experience. The Alaska examples are good case studies. The book is a great documentation of the process and lessons learned on these two projects.

Louise Leone:

In my opinion the first few chapters are written in a way that does interest people like myself. I think you guys have done a nice job in grabbing the audience early.

Jim Russell:

I like the 9 part cover diagram! Clear, simply written, easy to follow. The book format and layout look good – eye appeal! Excellent introductory chapters. Chapters 3-6 provide a good overview of the system. Chapters 7-10 provide more detail about the system. Excellent lists and tables. You’ve hit the target and are on the mark!

John Swinney:

This is a manual for building a bullet-proof, performance-based qualification and certification system. As complex as a project of this magnitude could be, this book provides the fundamental “how to.”

Very well done! I like the conversational style. You’ve taken a relatively complex and detailed process but have handled describing it with plain business language. The one thing I really like about all the work you guys have done together is that you are always aware of the needs of the business at every point of the process.

The project plan for the TMC Stores case study is worth the price of admission. It provides very good picture of how it all comes together. Nice addition! If I was charged with that responsibility, this book is where I’d start! Given the book as the operating guide, I think I could take the project plan and begin to do it!

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