Performance Testing – Testing the Application On-the-Job of Knowledge and Skills

The “acid test” so to speak – Can someone apply what they know – whether that is after participating in Formal or Informal Learning – to authentic job performance?

You wouldn’t want your airline pilot to prove their competence via a multiple choice test – would you? And a Sales Rep doing the same with Product Knowledge doesn’t mean they can answer a customers questions or challenges let alone present that information smoothly – appropriately.

The best test – just as the best practice exercise/application exercise – is real work. But that’s not always feasible.

Using real work would require an assessor to observe without interfering for a Test – and a coach for an application exercise to give feedback, corrective and/or reinforcing.

For more information about this book – based on real work consulting projects to put these kinds of systems in place – up in the oil fields of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay in 1987, on the Alaska Pipeline in 1994, at the branches of a F500 HVAC firm in the US in the late 1990s – please go here.

Here is a 16 minute video of me touring the Prudhoe Bay facilities in 1987 where my business partners and I and our team worked on a project to produce over 2000 Performance Tests for 20 different technical populations – after they had 2 failed attempts previously to use paper-and-pencil tests – all aimed at a Pay Progression Program. Read about it here  – and in this book – available here.

It takes more than a battery of tests – even Performance Tests – to do Performance Testing. Take a look at the cover of the book for your first clue as to what this might entail. Those are the defined Processes for administering such a system.

Call if you want some help.

Here is what reviewers wrote about this book that former business partner Ray Svenson and I wrote in 2007:

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

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.
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.
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!
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!

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One comment on “Performance Testing – Testing the Application On-the-Job of Knowledge and Skills

  1. Pingback: L&D: Prudhoe Bay in 1987 | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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