Irregularities in a written examination

Statement

At their session held on July 17, 2019, the CFPM members analyzed a complaint concerning a written examination as part of a staffing process for a white collar position relating to the following allegation:

THE COMPLAINANT ALLEGES THAT THE ANSWER KEY OF THE WRITTEN EXAMINATION IS NOT VALID, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS ERRORS.

In order to fully understand the nature of the complainant's allegation, the Commission carefully gathered his/her testimony and went over the elements contained in the complaint form, as well as any other relevant facts the complainant wanted to bring to our attention.

Investigation Methodology

  • A meeting with the complainant was held to determine the nature of the complaint, to analyze its admissibility and study the complaint thoroughly.
  • An interview with the human resources department’s representative was then conducted, with the consent of the complainant, to obtain his/her version of the facts.
  • The CFPM interviewed other witnesses concerned with the complaint.
  • All the parties met or interviewed were informed of the confidentiality of the process and agreed to abide thereby.
  • A review of the documentary evidence was also conducted.
  • The investigation process including meetings or telephone interviews, the analysis of the testimonies and the documentation, as well as the conclusions, was then presented during a board meeting with CFPM members.

Facts

  • The CFPM obtained the corrected exam copies of the candidates who were called for this test, as well as the answer key for this examination. The analysis of these exam papers as well as the answer key revealed irregularities in the wording of some questions as well as in the overall difficulty level of the exam.
    •   In order to verify these findings, the CFPM asked a neutral third party, expert in the field of the job in question, to carry out an analysis of the exam and the related answer key. The resulting report confirmed the Commission's assumptions, which then forwarded the report to the human resources department for corrective action.

Conclusion

After an analysis of all the facts brought to their attention, the CFPM members found that the complainant's allegation was well-founded. In fact, the irregularities noted in the written examination for the process in question do not allow an adequate evaluate of the candidates' skills for the job. 

Recommendation

The Commission recommended that the human resources department redesign the written test, based on the report from the neutral third party expert.


[1] Note: The use of the masculine gender includes the feminine and is employed to ensure conidentiality of the complainant as well as to facilitate reading.

 

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