Overview of the Online Testing Facility

What is Online Testing?

It consists of an online platform in which electronic masters (e-masters) of tests are stored. The scope of testing is restricted to the Personnel Psychology Centre (PPC) standardized tests requiring a proctored administration. Orders for tests are electronically processed and copies of the e-master are sent to various test centres in minutes.

During an online testing session, the test is downloaded to individual computers in the testing room from which candidates take the test. Once a candidate has finished and submitted the test or the prescribed testing time has elapsed, the test is automatically uploaded to be scored.

The Public Service Commission's Online Testing Facility (OLTF) technology provides HR personnel with increased autonomy in the testing process. For example, from their personal computers HR personnel can order tests, assign test IDs to candidates, send them e-mail notices automatically and have the tests scored. All this is done securely through the Web and significantly reduces turnaround time.

Some advantages of online testing

For test administrators, online tests mean no more test booklets, no more answer sheets, no more mail or courier services, and significantly reduced turnaround time for receipt of official results. For test-takers, the system helps to ensure fairness through computerized standardization of test administration.

With test volumes continuing to increase, traditional paper and pencil testing necessitates more resources (human and financial) to manually process (print, ship, and score) increasing numbers of tests and associated material. With e-testing, it makes little difference in terms of time and resources to process, whether there are 10 test requests or 1000.

Greater volumes of test material in circulation also translate into an increased risk of security breaches. Online testing helps reduce the risk of a security breach, as there is no physical test material to manage.

The OLTF system utilizes the most advanced security methods available. Data and data transfer are protected with the highest levels of security. Our servers use industry-standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Access to the system is restricted to authorized users and requires an ID number and strong password. Registration of users is rigorous, with clearly defined authorized user levels. Tests are scored off-line by a secure scoring server, with the test results then returned to the Authorized User ordering the test.

Much of current research and practice is focused not only on new and innovative assessment tools, but also on testing modalities. A main area of interest is Online-based testing. Online tests add value to recruitment and staffing processes throughout the federal government by helping to reduce the length of the selection process, improving efficiency and responsiveness, reducing costs, helping the PSC and departments manage volumes, and facilitating the recruitment of Canada's top talent.

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