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White paper criticizes “game show” approach to testing a worker’s recall of facts rather than application of knowledge during staff assessments

NEW YORK, NY — August 3, 2021 — When it comes to measuring the skills of the workforce, employers place too much emphasis on a worker’s ability to regurgitate facts and not enough on how they apply their knowledge to workplace situations. Questionmark, the online assessment provider has identified five strategies to help employers go “above knowledge” when testing workers’ skills.

The workforce needs a range of modern skills to compete in an ever-changing business environment. The ability to recall knowledge remains useful but it is no longer enough.

John Kleeman, Founder of Questionmark, said: “Simply testing someone’s knowledge recall is fine if you want them to win a game show. But by 2025, critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities will be the most important modern skills that employers need according to the World Economic Forum.[1]

In a new white paper, “Five Practical Approaches to Test Beyond Recall”, Questionmark sets out five strategies to test a candidate’s ability to apply, rather than just recall the knowledge they possess:

  1. Tailor questions to context – multiple-choice questions are more effective when a test taker has to show that they know how to apply the knowledge to a given situation. For example, rather than asking them which color traffic light means “stop”, a more effective question could set out a driving scenario and ask participants to choose the best response.
  2. Ask participants to do more than choose an option from a list – different question types enable test takers to demonstrate a deeper level of knowledge. For example, match questions ask people to pair up items from one list with items from another list, showing broader understanding of the topic. It also makes questions harder to guess.
  3. Test judgment under pressure – all jobs require an employee to use their judgment to solve a dilemma. The right situational judgment tests can assess a candidate’s ability to make good decisions under pressure.
  4. Knowledge in action – configuring a live virtual machine “lab” enables test-takers to perform practical tasks using any approach they choose, and they are graded on how they perform. This is a particularly good approach when measuring the skills of IT staff.
  5. Demonstrating competence – where an instructor or supervisor observes someone doing a practical task.

Read the white paper, “Five Practical Approaches to Test Beyond Recall: Testing employees on more than recalling knowledge to help improve job performance”.

About Questionmark

Questionmark unlocks performance through reliable and secure online assessments.

Questionmark provides a secure enterprise-grade assessment platform and professional services to leading organizations around the world, delivered with care and unequalled expertise. Its full-service online assessment tool and professional services help customers to improve their performance and meet their compliance requirements. Questionmark enables organizations to unlock their potential by delivering assessments which are valid, reliable, fair and defensible.

Questionmark offers secure powerful integration with other LMS, LRS and proctoring services making it easy to bring everything together in one place. Questionmark’s cloud-based assessment management platform offers rapid deployment, scalability for high-volume test delivery, 24/7 support, and the peace-of-mind of secure, audited U.S., Australian and European-based data centers.


[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/