POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery
[This guide for the California entry-level dispatcher test was written by the California Highway Patrol and posted on their Web site to assist candidates in preparing for the test. We have added some comments in brackets.]
What the Tests Measure: The POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery was designed to measure your aptitude for performing public safety dispatcher work. The tests measure general abilities that are normally developed over an extended period of time. They are not designed to measure job-specific knowledge or skills that are taught in training. The abilities measured by the tests are summarized below.
Basis for the Tests: The abilities measured by the tests were identified in a statewide job analysis as being both essential for successful performance of dispatcher duties throughout California and necessary for entry-level candidates to possess before hire. The tests were constructed through an extensive process that included: review by job experts, experimental testing of over 1,000 job applicants and incumbent dispatchers, and validation research which has established that scores on the Battery are predictive of both training proficiency and job success.
Test Formats: The Battery is comprised of 11 brief tests. Each test is administered with its own set of instructions and is timed separately. The tests range from about 5 minutes to 15 minutes each. The entire Battery takes about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, including a short break.
Six of the tests use a traditional paper-and-pencil, multiple-choice format. The remaining five tests require that you listen to information and then answer multiple-choice questions contained in a test booklet. Some of the tests require that you take notes while information is being presented. However, your notes will not be scored. Only your final answers marked on your answer sheet will be scored, so you may abbreviate your notes in any manner. Some of the tests are given with very short time limits, where speed of response is important. You should not be alarmed or discouraged if you are sometimes unable to keep up with the rapid pace of the speeded tests --they are designed to test your limits by working up to a pace where no one can keep up.
Descriptions of the test formats and sample test questions are included in this Guide. Please note that the examples are simplified versions of the actual test and are shown for illustrative purposes only.
Preparing for the Test: Because the tests measure general abilities, there is no study guide or reading list for this test. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the test formats shown in the attachment, however, it is not mandatory as the tests will be reviewed at the testing session. If you are not accustomed to test-taking in general, or if you tend to get tense in testing situations, you may find it helpful to practice doing activities similar to those described in the attachment. All necessary materials will be supplied for this test. You only need to bring two #2 pencils.
Taking the Test: When answering the test questions, keep in mind that there is no advantage to guessing at random. A fraction of a point will be subtracted from your test score for each wrong answer. Leaving an item blank will not count towards or against your score. A general strategy for taking this test, like most other tests, is to first answer those questions that you can respond to quickly and then go back to the items that you find difficult to answer. Each of the items within a test counts the same towards your score on that particular test so you are not required to answer the questions in the order that they appear.
[The following sections give examples of the various parts of the test and, if applicable, the correct answer in red.]
1. Public Safety Bulletin: The examinee is given 3 minutes to study a one-page "shift bulletin. "The bulletin contains descriptions of several different events. After the study period, the examinee answers multiple-choice questions regarding facts and details about the events, based solely upon memory.
2. Assigning Field Units: The examinee reads a novel set of rules and then determines which field unit or units should be assigned to various "incidents. "The incidents occur in different geographic regions and are designated emergency or non-emergency. The examinee uses a multiple-choice response format to designate no, one ,or more units to be dispatched to each incident.
3. Evaluating Facts: The examinee reads set of public safety-related facts and then determines whether conclusions that follow are true, false ,or cannot be determined on the basis of the facts.
4.Setting Priorities : The examinee is given a novel set of rules to read and follow in order to assign priority codes to events. The events are presented in sets of three. A multiple-choice response format is used to designate the priority of events in each set as 1st,2nd,and 3rd priority.
5.Reading Comprehension: The examinee reads a brief passage and then answers multiple-choice questions regarding facts and details contained in the passage, as well as the meaning of the information, how it may be interpreted, and conclusions that may be drawn.
6. Sentence Clarity: The examinee compares two versions of the same sentence and identifies the one that is more clearly written.
7. Recalling Facts & Details: The examinee listens to a simulated call for law enforcement service received by a public safety dispatcher. The examinee is not allowed to take notes. The examinee then answers multiple- choice questions regarding various facts and details contained in the call, based solely upon memory.
8. Call-Taking: The examinee listens to several simulated calls for law enforcement service received by a dispatcher. The examinee is allowed to take notes during the calls and is given a brief period to complete the notes after all calls have been presented. The examinee is allowed to use the notes to answer a series of multiple-choice questions regarding facts and details pertaining to the call, as well as interpretations and conclusions regarding the meaning of each call.
9. Oral Directions: The examinee listens to a simulated radio call from a patrol officer to a dispatcher. The examinee is allowed to take notes during the call and is given a brief period to complete the notes after the call is presented. The examinee is allowed to use the notes to answer multiple-choice questions regarding various tasks to be performed, the order in which they are to be performed, various details contained in the call such as names, times, locations, etc., and interpretations and conclusions that may be drawn.
10. Checking Coded Information: The examinee listens to a series of random letter-number codes. The codes range from two to four alphanumeric characters. As each code is presented, the examinee refers to a "Code Sheet," and identifies and marks the same code among 5 written alternatives. The information is presented slowly at first, increasing in speed until the task becomes very difficult. After the information is presented, the examinee transfers his/her answers on an answer sheet.
11. Checking & Listening: The examinee performs two tasks at the same time. Task #1 is to compare a list of names ,addresses ,and license numbers with a "HOT SHEET " and identify as many matches as possible. Task #2 is to listen to simulated radio broadcasts from several field units and record the unit status transmissions on a "RADIO LOG." After the simulated radio broadcasts have ended, the examinee is instructed to stop the "HOT SHEET" comparison (Part 1) and answer a series of multiple-choice questions regarding the various status broadcasts of each unit (Part 2).