Video Series 10 – Go For Performance – Performance Testing

Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-01

In 1987, my firm, Svenson & Wallace Inc., was hired to develop a Qualification & Certification System for a client operating one half of the oil field operations at Prudhoe Bay, on Alaska’s North Slope in the Arctic Circle. The intent was to create a Pay Progression Program, where pay raises were tied to performance capability. The 2 unsuccessful efforts before our project had produced paper & pencil tests, something Oil Field Roughnecks did – not – like – at – all. We developed over 2200 Performance Tests for 20 target audiences of mostly technical staff, working with the Master Performers chosen by the target audience groups themselves. This series of short videos will review the entire System that we designed and developed and tested. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-02

I adapted my performance-based Curriculum Architecture Design process and methods to conduct the analysis of the Performance Competence requirements and the enabling knowledge and skills, and for the design of the configuration of Performances Tests, something that often was an out of any Curriculum Architecture Design effort. We then used our L-C-S Framework – Leadership Areas of Performance, Core AoPs, and Support AoPs to configure the entire system’s subsystems for creation, administration, and maintenance of the Performance Tests – and the subsystems as well. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-03

Leadership Subsystem 1: System Governance – which gave our client’s leadership a command and control and empowerment mechanism, resulting in three different kinds of management capabilities:  They could easily change the targets and scope of the qualification system, for example: adding job categories and/or locations  They could more easily develop Workforce Plans to qualify enough workers to meet the future needs of the business consistent with their strategic planning efforts  They could easily change the qualification system policies, processes or any of the other design features to meet the needs of their business, now, and in the future If a Performance Testing System isn’t targeted on the critical needs of the enterprise – it won’t last very long. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-04

Leadership Subsystem 2: System Change Control results in having a battery of qualification tests, that is current with the tasks actually required in the workplace, and having enough workers qualified for new tasks, and re-qualified for changed tasks. The Performance Competency Councils review change requests coming from anywhere in the system, and rule on the need to make changes, and then plan for new or updated tests to be developed. The Performance Competency Councils also determine if there is a requirement for people to retest when a test has been changed for any reason. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-05

Leadership Subsystem 3: Communications result in all participants and management being kept aware of the status and results of the Performance-based Employee Q/C System. The Administrator is responsible for posting information on a website Blog, bulletin board, etc. and for sending out specific communications to individuals and groups who must be made aware of changes, new policies, or specific results. As always, adequate communications that create awareness, knowledge, and skills, is key to the success of any critical system, such as a Performance Testing system. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-06

Core Subsystem 1: Individual Test Planning results in a qualification plan for an individual Candidate. In this process, the Candidate and his/her Supervisor sit down together, review the work the Candidate will be expected to do over the next year (or more), and develop a plan and schedule for the Candidate to learn the work and then pass the qualification tests for each task as they are mastered. This may be done in conjunction with the development of an Individual Development Plan (IDP), using a Learning Management System(s) (LMS) or a similar system. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-07

Core Subsystem 2: Testing results in a Candidate being qualified for a specific task or failing to be qualified. When a Candidate is ready to qualify for a task or group of tasks, they apply to the Administrator to take the test, the Administrator schedules an Assessor to administer the test, the Assessor administers the test to the Candidate and makes a decision to qualify or not qualify the Candidate on each task, and the record of the test is forwarded to the Administrator who places it in the record system. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-08

Core Subsystem 3: Test Results Appeal is where a challenged Test Result enables the Candidates to retake a test with a different Assessor or, if this has already been done, denying the appeal, or passing the appeal up through an appeals hierarchy. Candidates may feel that the Assessor was unfair or didn’t like them, or they may believe the procedure or criteria prescribed in the test are wrong. If it’s a fairness or personality issue, the simple solution is to allow automatic retesting with a different Assessor. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-09

Support Subsystem 1: Test Development (and Maintenance) results in a performance test ready to be used for qualification. A Test Developer works with a Master Performer to develop or change a test that is needed for a specific task. Other Master Performers and Subject Matter Experts review the test for accuracy and completeness. The test is tried out on a Master Performer as a validity check. And it may be more formally “pilot-tested.” The Administrator keeps records of all who participated in any test development and maintenance efforts and their credentials in case of a future validity challenge or audit. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-10

Support Subsystem 2: Assessor Selection and Training results in Assessors ready to conduct qualification tests with Candidates. The functional or process-oriented Performance Competence Councils nominate Master Performers and/or Subject Matter Experts to become Assessors and/or to participate in Test Development efforts. The Administrator conducts Assessor training for those who are willing to become Assessors. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-11

Support Subsystem 3: Data Management and Reporting results in complete information in the records for each Candidate in the system, each Assessor, and the history of each test. It also results in status reports available to Candidates, their Supervisors and managers, the Performance Competency Councils, and the Board of Governors. The Performance Competency Councils, the managers, and the Board of Governors have a need to know not only how individuals are progressing but also the state of qualification for groups of people such as “all electricians in the South Plant.” Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-12

A complex system, such as one focused on Assessing a developing Performance Competence, needs to be built for continuous improvement, where complex systems and processes, and their infrastructure are constantly being upgraded, and where people are constantly entering and leaving the workforce, and internally going from one job to the next. And the system has to be manageable and easy to operate. Those are the acid tests. Our client at Prudhoe Bay in the 1987 project left in 1994 and went to work on the Alaska Pipeline with another company, and he brought us in to do the same effort for them. We also created these Performance Test systems for an HVAC firm’s branch managers, and branch sales, technical, and administrative staff. And for several other firms as well. If you can define Performance – you can test for it. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-13

At the heart of a Performance Testing System, tied to a pay Progression System or not, is the focus on authentic Performance Competence requirements – the ability to perform tasks to produce Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements. Determining the Tasks and Outputs of Performance is complex enough – and determining the stakeholder requirements adds to that complexity. Shareholders, Regulators, Management, Employees, Suppliers, the communities where one operates, all have needs and wants – and ensuring your system meets those, and meets the right ones when they are in conflict, isn’t always easy. It takes a proven process resourced with the right people to do the right things at the right times. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-14

Performance Tests – have always been an output of my ISD efforts, as I consider them to be the same as Application Exercises, following essential Information, and then Demonstrations of the tasks producing outputs. In my approach – the final Application Exercise is always a Performance Tests, whether considered as such formally, or informally. And in critical, complex performance, I prefer to design a series of performance-based Application Exercises that start off, easy-peasy, then become merely difficult, then become darn difficult, and then the final test is From Hades – where the most complex, difficult performance competence is tested if that’s what is required in the real world performance that the performer will face. They have either been prepared for that, or they have not. Performance Testing and Application Exercises are never targeted at low stakes performance. Never. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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Performance Testing – Go For Performance – 2020 Series 10-15

Your ISD staff can be developed to conduct the analysis, design and development of Performance Tests, within the context of Instructional Development – Job Aids and Training, or simply to produce Performance Tests. In 1987 our client initially intended to develop and conduct the Performance Testing, and then they conduct a Curriculum Architecture Design effort and develop the priority Instruction needed. But what they discovered, and we predicted, is that they would not need to do a CAD effort. Once the Performance Tests and processes were made public, the target audiences would self-prepare and develop themselves to be able to pass these tests. Having test performance tied to their wallets probably helped. At least, that’s what we predicted at the time. Performance Testing – It’s ALL – about Performance. And demonstrated competence.

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