I occasionally have the opportunity to write/edit/implement and score performance-based exams. I also occasionally support performance-based exam candidates by responding to queries about the exams and their experience and explaining some of the inner workings of the exam world.
Here are a few fake questions, possible outcomes and resulting score.
Install a standard mirror located on shelf 1A on to the door located at space 2B. Fasteners are packaged with mirror.
Take mirror w/ powerharness on shelf 1A and install on space 2B using the bolts and weatherstripping in a bag attached to the mirror.
1 point for correct installation of weatherstripping
1 point for correct routing of power harness inside of door.
there are no points awarded for actually installing the mirror as it is determined that 99% of candidates achieve that properly
there are no points awarded for correct torque on mounting bolts or use of Loctite as information varied between mirror documentation, car documentation and follow-up bulletins
Notices paint doesn’t match between Mirror and door. Finds matching door paint and paints mirror. Installs but forgets to route powerharness around window guide and continues.
Outcome: 1 point. Spent 5 extra minutes on an unneeded task and may not have sufficient paint when is is required later.
Attaches mirror. Notices power functionality of mirror doesn’t work. locates a car the door might fit on, installs door and power wiring. Installs battery. Verifies power mirror now works.
Outcome: 2 points. spent 35 extra minutes and is likely to need to undo some of the tasks performed.
Quickly attaches mirror, carefully adds Loctite and torques bolts perfectly. Forgets weatherstripping and harness.
Outcome: 0 points.
Later writes angry letter after seeing “Mirror install” noted as area to improve on fail report. Claims the mirror was installed properly and demands the result be rechecked.
Install seats located in bin 37a into Car 2. Fasteners are already in the car. Supervisor states old seats repeatedly got wet during inclement weather. Resolve issue.
Candidate notices car still has shipping parts installed in seat pan (which is an uncommon-yet-known issue. Blueprint for the exam includes a link to the removal documentation.) Remove shipping parts, reuse hardware to install seat.
Investigate sunroof with auto-close feature, notice it is not functioning due to blown fuse. Replace fuse.
1 point for seats installed
1 point for fuse replaces with correct amperage
Reads item and skips forward to see what else is on the exam. Performs some of those items.
Returns later and finds there is no Car in space 2.
Outcome: 0 points. Also, if the later item involving Car 2 required seats, additional points may have been “lost” on that item as well.
Doesn’t know what to make of shipping parts in Car 2, decides Car 3 is the actual car for this scenario, installs seats. Doesn’t find a leak in Car 3.
Outcome: 0 points
Installs seats in Car 2 over the top of the shipping parts using ingenuity. Fixes fuse.
Outcome: 2 points. Note that if noticed by exam developers, this work around *might* be accounted for in the item by something like “make sure only required components are left installed”.
Installs seats. Notices seats are dry.
Outcome: 1 point.
Candidate writes in complaining the test is vague.