Instructors find it easy to author questions and assemble tests


With more than 15,000 associates in six states, the Harris Teeter chain of 138 food markets has the formidable task of ensuring that employees -- from store managers to scanning coordinators and vendor receivers -- understand the ins and outs of their jobs.


To achieve this, Harris Teeter University uses Questionmark together with DKSystems' OnTrack for Training and OnTrack Online learning management systems. By running Questionmark assessments on the company intranet together with the OnTrack tools, instructors are saving time they used to spend on the details of course administration.

"Because we are so large, it's nice to have the associates register for a test and have it automatically assigned to them," comments Harris Teeter University Consultant Bonnie Howard. "The system also manages the scores for us. We're not spending so many man-hours having to manage the scores and communicate them to people."

The university's trainers are currently using Questionmark participant reports every day to track scores and to determine how long associates spend taking a particular test. This helps the trainers determine the right amount of time to allow for each exam. Howard has created several participant reports that adjust to the company's needs and streamline her evaluation process. She and her colleagues utilize statistical reports to help them better identify questions that are difficult or need some rewording. They hope to begin using comparison reports in the future.

Harris Teeter University's Management Development Program uses Questionmark for training needs assessments prior to the start of store manager and department manager training. Pre-assessment tests help corporate trainers develop an individual development plan for each candidate. They can determine, for example, how much time store manager candidates should work in each department in the course of training. Store manager candidates who have completed their training must pass a number of Questionmark tests before they graduate from the program.


Test questions cover everything from progressive discipline and building a successful work environment to the procedures used in the individual departments where candidates work as part of their training. Department manager trainees also take end-of-training Questionmark tests. If the associate does not pass, he or she is required to "re-train" in the department.

People in jobs like vendor receiver and scanning coordinator prepare for their multiple choice Questionmark tests by reading technical manuals. If they don't pass a given test, they are required to take it again within two weeks, having returned to the manuals for a review of any problem areas.

Store managers and associates alike take tests on safety standards. There is also a computer based training course on customer service for store managers and associates that is followed up with a Questionmark test. The university plans to add seven more CBT courses to its programs.

Howard says instructors have found it easy to author questions and assemble tests in Questionmark. She says employees enjoy being able to go online and take a test, then seeing the results immediately.

"When we first began the on-line testing process, many of our associates were apprehensive - not of the test but of the computer," recalls Howard. "I spent many hours on the phone with associates who were not confident of their ability to navigate a computer. After the apprehension subsided, the response became very positive. Associates appreciate not having to travel to a training center to attend a training class or to take a test. Another benefit for the associates is the flexibility of the testing process. Associates are able to take the test at their leisure or when their schedule allows - within the time limits of course."