Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The corruption of employment tests.

Sometimes you must take a test for employment, such as when applying at Central Management Services for a job working for the state of Illinois, or perhaps a union job such as Engineering Operators Local 965, or to enter the MBA program at the University of Illinois.

You may become extremely frustrated while taking the multiple choice portion of those tests because there are inserted within the tests, questions with more than one correct answer.

How many times did you wish that you could explain your answer in a little box under the question?

How many times did you want to raise your hand for the proctor and explain that more than one answer can be correct on a particular question?

And finally, did you ever wonder why you consistently just barely arrived within a couple of answers of passing the test, but not quite?

With computerized tests, it's very easy to code a subroutine to automatically pick the answer other than that which you chose, as the correct answer, if your name in the test database wasn't part of another secret database, thereby giving you a non-passing grade, keeping you from getting a job, joining a union, or an elite fraternal organization.

Perhaps the other secret database is a collection of names of certain families, political contributors, certain organizations or associations, etc.

One way to determine if a test is corrupt is to file a Freedom of Information Act request for the tests results of, say, all the employees of the Department of Human Services, or the Department of Transportation, students in the MBA program, union members, etc. and check for the following:

1. Look for all test questions that were graded as correct, but with different answers selected. In other words, if the same question was answered differently by different people, but the question was graded as correct, then you have a guaranteed corrupt question, and the individual was flagged by the computer for a passing grade.

2. Follow the guidelines set by the authors of the book "Freakanomics" and look for patterns in the test questions among all the test-takers who were hired, and the test-takers who were not hired.

How do they try to cover up the corruption? By changing up the test questions under the guise of "preventing cheating." It won't really matter if you select all the tests over a ten year period, because you can easily divide up the tests into subgroups based on the question changes and still get the results.

So, if you must take a test to get a job and you don't pass, but the questions were vague, open to interpretation, and more than one answer could be correct for various reasons, then you probably need bribe money.

The problem in Illinois is that there is little or no fulfillment of Freedom of Information requests.

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