Overview of unsupervised internet testing

What is an unsupervised internet test?

An unsupervised internet test is administered online, without supervision. It is accessible at any location where the test-taker has access to a computer and an Internet connection. It is the first step in a two-step assessment process. In the second step, an applicant must pass the corresponding Public Service Commission test in a supervised setting before being appointed to a position.

Why are unsupervised internet tests being used?

Each year, the federal public service receives over one million job applications. Some job advertisements receive thousands of applications. Unsupervised internet tests are screening tools that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the assessment process.

They are standardized tests designed to manage large volumes of applicants, based on merit. Whether used alone or in combination with other screening criteria (e.g., education and experience), these tests can yield a manageable number of promising applicants for further assessment.

They save hiring managers time and money:

  • No need for test administrators;
  • No need to provide equipment;
  • One flat rate charge per staffing process for unlimited testing;
  • Fewer resources needed to overcome potential barriers to assessment (e.g., national area of selection, adapted measures related to mobility); and
  • Focus resources on further assessment of qualified candidates who were identified early on in the staffing process.

They save applicants time and effort by:

  • Testing them at a convenient time and location over the Web, via an interface that meets Treasury Board Secretariat Standards on Web Accessibility;
  • Inviting them to a supervised test only if they are likely to pass it; and
  • Providing them with faster decisions on the status of their application.

Do unsupervised internet tests encourage cheating? 

Cheating is discouraged by requiring applicants to consent to a “terms of use” clause. This serves as a contract that specifies that applicants must take the test honestly, by themselves, without assistance from other people or other resources.

To ensure that applicants have completed the test based on their own abilities, the results are verified by administering the corresponding Public Service Commission test in a supervised setting. Research shows that cheating is minimal when applicants know that they will eventually have to pass a corresponding test in a supervised setting.

Are unsupervised internet test results less important than the results of supervised tests? 

Unsupervised internet test results are valid only for the staffing process for which the test was taken. In contrast, valid supervised test scores can be re-used when applying to a new staffing process.

Otherwise, results obtained on an unsupervised internet test are just as important as supervised test results. Once a manager has decided to use a two-step assessment process, an applicant must pass both the unsupervised internet test and the corresponding supervised Public Service Commission test to be deemed qualified on the assessed competency. A valid score on the supervised test is not sufficient, even if it exceeds the minimum pass mark set by the hiring manager. A passing score on both the unsupervised internet test and the supervised test is required.

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