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Annex E – Basic Standards for Testing the Office Support Classification (Stream 1)

1. Provision of Examinations

Standardized examinations must be provided for the assessment of the qualifications in the Classification and as a minimum, Offeror/Suppliers must have available the following four types of examinations for the selection and classification of its resources. Public Service testing will be accepted where appropriate and relevant to the Designated User requirements.

1.1 Keyboarding Examinations

Keyboarding examinations must be available separately in English and French to evaluate the following:

  1. Keyboarding skill in English or French or English and French at a speed of at least 40 words per minute with not more than 5 percent error rate,
  2. keyboarding skill in English or French or English and French, at a speed of at least 25 words per minute with not more than a 3 percent error rate.

1.2 Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Proficiency Tests

A good knowledge of the fundamental rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation is normally required.

1.3 Clerical Ability

These examinations, generally administered in the candidates' official language, are designed to assess basic abilities required in satisfactorily carrying out office duties. Although the number and types of abilities measured may vary from one examination to another, a clerical test should normally contain a series of sub-tests designed to evaluate:

  1. filing ability,
  2. coding ability,
  3. checking ability,
  4. arithmetic ability.

1.4 Commonly Used Software

Testing of commonly used software such as Word, WordPerfect, Excel, Powerpoint, depending on the candidate's abilities and desired classification must be performed by Offeror/Supplier.

2. Identification of Examinations

Where the Offeror/Supplier develop their own examinations, either with staff trained or experienced in test development or with assistance from outside consultants, such examinations must be consistent with the standards set out herein.

A number of commercial tests also exist which meet the minimal requirements outlined below.

3. Administration of Examinations

The Offeror/Supplier must ensure that individuals responsible for administering these various examinations possess adequate training and experience to carry out this function. The task of administering an examination to one or more individuals cannot be carried out without preparation; it requires a good knowledge of the examination itself and the conditions of test administration.

The Offeror/Supplier must ensure that the individual assigned to administer these examinations be completely familiar with the oral and written instructions that are to be given to the candidates. The Offeror/Supplier must ensure that the test administrator periodically verifies that all test equipment is in good working condition and ensure that general test conditions permit candidates to perform at their best (e.g. that there is adequate lighting, sufficient work space, a quiet environment, and accommodation of any special needs a candidate may have.)

3.1 Time Limits

The Offeror/Supplier must rigorously apply and adhere to time limits, if applicable, established for examinations or examination sections. It is strongly recommended that the Test Administrator ensure the accurate timing of the various sections of the ability tests.

3.2 Examination Scoring

The Offeror/Supplier must score skill examinations according to precise guidelines and procedures outlined in a clear scoring guide or manual.

The Offeror/Supplier must ensure that test scorers have adequate training and experience in the scoring of skill examinations and are completely familiar with the scoring guidelines provided for each examination.

Scores for each ability must be totalled for each section of the examination and/or for the examination as a whole.

3.3 Security of Examination Material

All examination material which may include answers, tests and manuals must be securely stored. Only those individuals responsible for administering and/or scoring examinations should have access to examination material.

4. Examination Specifications

4.1 Keyboarding Examinations

  1. Two equivalent versions in each language must be available for the assessment of the skills listed in section 1. above, that is two parallel forms of the French keyboarding test and two parallel forms of the English keyboarding test.
  2. The equivalency of the two forms of the examination will be determined by an evaluation of the following two factors:
    • stroke intensity
    • syllabic intensity
  3. Each equivalent form must comprise the following:
    • a page of general instructions preceding the test,
    • a practice keyboarding text of approximately 150 words (3 to 5 minutes),
    • a first examination text of 1,350 to 1,550 strokes in narrative format (that is not containing numbers or symbols) with a time limit of 5 minutes,
    • a second examination text of 1,350 to 1,550 strokes in narrative of 5 minutes duration.
  4. For each keyboarding text the mean number of strokes per dictionary word must fall between 5.90 and 6.10. The average stroke intensity may be calculated by dividing the total number of key-strokes in the keyboarding text by the total number of words.
  5. The syllabic intensity of each keyboarding text must fall between 1.45 and 1.55. The average syllabic intensity can be calculated by dividing the total number of syllables by the total number of words in the text.
  6. At the completion of the examination the candidates will be asked to decide which of the two examination texts typed they wish to be scored. Only the one text designated by them will be scored.
  7. The scoring of the examination must take into account the two criteria below:
    • the speed in number of words typed per minute, determined by dividing the total number of keyboarding strokes by 25,
    • accuracy by percentage of errors, determined by dividing the number of errors by the total number of words typed.
  8. The pass mark required on the keyboarding examination is either:
    • a speed of 40 words per minute with no more than 5% error
    • a speed of 25 words per minute with no more than 3% error.
  9. To be fully qualified each candidate must be able to meet the criterion for both speed and accuracy. Failure on either one or the other of these criteria will result in a failure on the examination.
  10. In the case of a failure the candidate may be re-tested within a reasonable time. However in this case a different form of the examination must be used and the examination administered under the same conditions as in the first test session.

4.2 Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Tests

  1. An examination of grammar, spelling and punctuation must be available in each official language to evaluate the knowledge qualifications, that is a separate English and a separate French test of grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  2. The examination must be able to provide a reliable measure of fundamental rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation at the tenth grade level.
  3. The examination and related material (i.e. answer sheet, administration and technical manual) must be accompanied by appropriate normative data, based on one or more properly identified norm groups. Among these may be 10th grade students, applicants to clerical positions or incumbents.
  4. The pass mark on the examination must be established according to appropriate norm group data. When this data is expressed in terms of percentiles, it is recommended that the pass mark be established at the 40th percentile.
  5. A candidate who has failed the examination may be tested again within a reasonable time.
  6. The raw scores obtained on this examination (including scores obtained on each sub-test of the examination) together with data recorded on the candidates must be filed systematically and maintained.

4.3 Clerical Ability Tests

  1. An examination of clerical abilities must be available in each official language to evaluate the qualifications.
  2. The examination must provide a reliable and valid measure of abilities judged necessary to successful office work:
    • speed and accuracy in activities related to filling, coding and checking of numerical and/or alphabetical material,
    • arithmetic abilities
  3. The examination and related material (that is answer sheet, administration and technical manual) must be accompanied by appropriate normative data based on one or more carefully identified reference groups. Among these may be students and incumbents of clerical positions.
  4. The pass mark for the examination must be based on the normative data available. When this data is expressed in terms of percentiles for female and male subjects separately, it is recommended that a pass mark corresponding to the 40th percentile for each normative group be established.
  5. A candidate who has failed the examination may be tested again within a reasonable time.
  6. The raw scores obtained on this examination (including scores obtained on each sub-test of the examination) together with data recorded on the candidates must be filed systematically and maintained.