Firefighter Testing – Assessing the Modern Firefighter
Firefighter Testing – Assessing the Modern Firefighter
Firefighter testing has evolved. Whether you are running a test for an entry-level firefighter position or officer promotion, modern tools yield benefits that you only hoped for just a few years ago.
Testing the New Firefighter
Of course, an applicant profile for an entry-level position still requires appropriate physical fitness and muscular strength evidenced by a successful CPAT test. But now, we can enable the human resources team to additionally test for the critical reading and personality traits they want and the general aptitude that is indicative of the foundation for a successful career as a firefighter.
While the candidate’s physical ability tests the body, the new firefighter must exhibit the ability to absorb advanced training. To best assess the applicant profile, you can incorporate scenarios, video, psychological profile, spatial understanding, and the commonplace questions that have been around for decades.
Modern test development and delivery will provide secure, unbiased content for promotional or entry-level firefighter positions that fairly assess the candidates’ abilities according to local objectives and hiring process. The result is to effectively assess today’s firefighter candidate ability to perform on the job.
So, how can your department deliver an unbiased test? While encouraging diverse fire fighter candidates to apply knowing they will be treated no differently than anyone else? Are you prepared to deliver a test your department will be proud of when the next application period opens?
What if you could deliver a ‘written’ exam with video scenarios testing both experiential knowledge and standard practices? How about testing for leadership and the ability to make timely quality decisions under pressure.
Of course, the oral exam is subject to bias. Nobody can fix that – right? Guess again. With today’s modern tools, questions are delivered consistently. Regardless of the time of day or how the candidate may have performed on the written exam.
Recruitment – What happens before the test
For the test to be effective, the department needs sufficient pools of trainable candidates, which today seems to grow more difficult in many communities. Not to mention every department wants diverse candidates.
Hence, start by dispassionately evaluating your capabilities to recruit a sufficient number of diverse candidates for the job of a firefighter that demonstrate minimum qualifications, including cpat testing, pre-employment certification test, and, if required, appropriate EMS certification.
In addition to recruitment, managing the selection process, including resumes, candidate email address, phone number, photo identification, vaccination status, job interest form, being a high school graduate, plus an application packet, should be part of today’s all-inclusive service.
How are Modern Firefighter Tests Created?
Quality written and oral examinations pass an exhaustive compliance review before being administered. Questions are carefully crafted to target departmental requests based precisely upon an established reading list, policies, and collective bargaining agreements. Expert test developers must create test questions with a review process assuring accuracy and lack of bias.
Each question is crafted for subjective evaluation of the firefighter candidate’s ability to retain and apply necessary information in a series of simulated real-world critical tasks, or a sequence of fire scene events. Each question is then reviewed by a panel of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), ensuring reliability, validity, lack of bias, and the highest level of consistency. The panel of SMEs will then discard any question that does not meet strict acceptance criteria. Only after this very exhaustive test, design, and review process should test banks be delivered for administration. In addition, questions must be continually revised and updated on a regular basis to ensure that our test banks are dynamic, test knowledge of essential job tasks,, and target the most current research in the field.
The written firefighter examination may comprise multiple-choice questions, multiple responses, matching-pairing, and drag and drop. The types of questions and format will conform to a client’s specific requirements. The scoring is given per the pre-defined answer to each question. All questions are equally scored as one point. On completion of the test, the scores are tabulated by the Computer, so the results are available immediately.
How are Modern Firefighter Tests Delivered and Secured?
Modern Firefighter Assessment utilizes advanced technology for test delivery appropriate for both promotional and entry candidates. While capabilities are available for 100% computer delivery, test delivery must be flexible to support the Computer, paper, or human delivery requirements of local union contracts and town human resource preferences.
The modern platform and scoring process assure secured, unbiased firefighter exams with immediate availability of results for multiple-choice written exams. Oftentimes on-premise local proctors may be sufficient for the test security. However, modern assessment tools for computer-based tests include lockdown browsers plus random delivery of questions and multiple-choice alternatives. In addition, remote proctors may be engaged for a larger exam to assure test compliance.
Supporting the Reservist on Deployment
If the examination and local rules permit, the same technology may be used to allow a firefighter to securely take an examination on their own PC or laptop, with remote proctoring. It has the highest level of security as any physically proctored exam. It also allows interested candidates to remotely take an exam at a different time for health, religious, or other circumstances. Such as a reservist on deployment, that would otherwise disqualify the candidate from sitting for the exam.
How is an Oral Exam done by Computer?
Using the same secure testing platform, oral interview questions may be delivered by human avatars via video. The avatars deliver the questions exactly the same to each person, thereby eliminating delivery bias. Candidates may replay the video per local testing rules. Then, each candidate’s answers are then videotaped using a webcam on the testing workstation. A remote proctor monitors each response to make sure it is being recorded properly, and there is no outside interference.
The proctor can intervene if there is a situation where the test-taker needs to pause the exam and then restart at any point. The agreed-upon time limits are provided to each candidate. The official test time stopwatch warns the candidate when time is running out and cuts off the answer at the end of the total time period. The candidate may finish early and manually submit their answer on completion.
The proctor and software can also detect a security violation and can halt the ongoing exam pending intervention and review. A local proctor will be present as well. But will be there only to provide another layer of security, comply with the rules, and provide additional information regarding the use of the technology. A highly secure scoring and grading platform eliminate the bias present in many standard oral interviews. On successful completion of the process, a list of final scores would be tabulated and presented.
MissionCIT provides EMS education, Fire-related training, assessment, and professional services for public safety, focusing on the Fire Service. Additionally, we augment a Fire Department’s capabilities as a strategic partner. Find out more at www.missioncit.com.
About MissionCIT Entry and Promotional Testing
MissionCIT’s testing platform supports historical and Modern fire service testing from the standardized test development process through the firefighter examination delivery and scoring.
For information on how our testing services can help your department with testing services, contact us at [email protected] or phone us at +1 203.649.5090. And if you need some recruiting assistance to reach the pools of diverse trainable candidates, we will get you started on the right path.
May your testing process and eligibility list be a resounding success!