Think back to your grade school days. Do you remember taking tests? If you’re in the majority, test taking wasn’t your favourite activity, and it was one of the many things you were happy to say good-bye to when it was time to enter the working world. However, with the advent of stronger health and safety training legislation, test taking is back on the table for most employees. For some workers, it’s the first test they’ve had to take in many years.
For workplace trainers, having to deliver and mark tests can create anxiety as well. Knowing that many people don’t like tests means that you know people are generally going to have feelings of trepidation when you tell them that you intend to test them. Additionally, marking tests and giving scores can also be difficult. Luckily, there are some strategies to help ensure that the test delivery and marking is an easy and painless process for both the workplace instructor and the test taker.
It will help quell anxiety if you are upfront about the fact that there is going to be a test at the end of the course. People react better to full disclosure than they do to an unsettling surprise. Let them know that you will be helping them through the day by identifying important information. There will be mini module review tests as well, so participants will have plenty of chances to practice and prepare for the real thing.
Establish the “Why”
Learners will be more enthusiastic about taking a test if they understand why they’re taking it. When you talk about the test, explain that it isn’t given so that instructors can count mistakes, or as a way to publically critique. Tests are a way of ensuring that crucial key learning outcomes are met. They aren’t designed to try to trick learners, and they aren’t built to ensure failure. Tests are meant to ensure that the vital safety messages were received and understood, so that participants understand, and can put into practice, the safety principles taught in the course.
Deal with Language Barriers Case-by-Case
Since testing is about ensuring that safety concepts are understood, if reading or writing the test is presenting difficulty due to a language barrier or learning disability, get creative and think of other ways to test the learner. What if you verbally go over the test, and have the learner verbalize the answers? What if you have a learner show you a concept? At the end of the day, whether the test is written, oral, or practical – the outcome is the same; the learner has shown that they’ve met the course learning outcomes.
Make Marking Easy
For instructors, having to mark several tests at once can be daunting. The pressure is on, because everyone is waiting for their grades! Ensure that you have an answer key – it will take the guesswork out of grading. If you have many tests to mark at once, try marking one question at a time to speed up the process, since you won’t have to keep referring back to the answer key. If the tests are coming in at a staggered pace, use the time to mark tests as they come in, instead of waiting for everyone to finish.
Deliver Grades with Grace
If a learner is successful on the test, a simple “good work,” along with a passing grade, is a sufficient way to communicate the grade with grace. However, if the learner is not successful, it is important that you discuss it. Remember that the grade is not a reflection of the person. Ask if there was anything that may have helped the person. Perhaps given some extra time or instruction, they will complete the exercise successfully. As well, note that not passing the test doesn’t mean they didn’t grasp the concepts. Agree to go over the test together, and commit to working out concepts and reviewing safety principles until the learner can pass the test.
OSG Inc. can Help!
Did you know that OSG has trained over 5000 successful workplace trainers? Trainers learn to deliver dynamic and effective programs when they take any of OSG’s Train-the-Trainer courses, which include a mandatory Train-the-Trainer Day where participants learn about adult learning techniques and effective program design. Let us help you train your workplace trainer. View our Train-the-Trainer courses today, or, if you have any questions call 1-800-815-9980 to speak with a Health and Safety expert.Train-the-Trainer Courses
Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
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