The Creation of the Present Day Online Test

By Bill Rose // National Officials Committee, Online Testing Sub-Committee


Way back in 1998, when I was a new Officials Chair in my LSC, I would get one master copy of all the Official’s Tests that were in use at that time. They would be sent to all of the LSC Official Chairs in big envelopes, so that we could do as we wanted. I would always go through each question on every test, to make sure that the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed.


At that time, there were many true and false questions, to go along with other questions that didn’t have question marks at the end of the question. The questions and answers didn’t always match the current Rulebook.


There was no machine to grade the tests. I made an answer key, so the grading would be easier for me, but some people would enlarge or reduce the answer key before they entered their answers and you can guess what happened then.


The technical references were not listed with each of the original test questions. There were no choices and there was no statement, saying that the Test Taker had to find the correct technical reference to prove that the multiple-choice was correct.


After many years of proofreading the tests before printing them for all of my LSC certified Officials, I got the call to join the Online Test Team.


There were originally four Editors who were assigned to the questions that matched positions around the pool deck. After a few years, the YMCA was interested in using our testing system, but wanted the results sent to them, so we added another Editor to help with this branch of the testing system.


Each year, about a month before the testing site would be shut down, the Editors would find the questions that were missed more than 25% of the time and make suggestions for improvement, so the passing rate could improve.


In the beginning, we wanted all questions to end with question marks. We didn’t want any more true/false questions. We wanted all the answers to come directly from the Rulebook. We really didn’t want situation questions, which would be hard to answer from a technical reference not found in the Rulebook. We wanted certain words to be capitalized consistently throughout each of the tests.


Once the Senior Editors approved all of the old questions' edits, we would recommend to the Editor that they could make these changes when the testing site went inactive. Once the recommended changes were made, the questions would be proofread one more time.


We would write new test questions each year from the new rules added to the Rulebook. Before we could add them to our list of master questions, these questions would be sent to the Rules and Regulations Chair for approval.


Over the years, we have made more new questions and added more tests. We now have enough questions to randomly choose different questions for each Test Taker. The Open Water leadership wanted to have some questions dealing with Open Water, so we wrote questions and had them approved. A few years later, the original Open Water questions were made into two tests, the Open Water Judge and the Open Water Referee.


Three years ago, the National Officials Committee recommended that taking the Administrative Referee test, the Clerk of Course test, the Timer test and the Timing Judge test in becoming an Administrative Official was too much to ask, so we condensed questions from these four tests into one test.


We now have an Editor dealing with Open Water questions, an Editor dealing with Administrative Referee and Administrative Official questions, an Editor dealing with Starter and disability questions, and Editor dealing with Stroke and Turn and Timer questions, an Editor dealing with Timing Judge and Clerk of Course questions and an Editor working only with the YMCA.


For the 2015 testing year, the Test Team was asked to do a major shift from the way we have presented the test questions in the past. The National Officials Committee suggested that we do away with Part 2 of the online tests. This was the technical reference part of the tests.


When I first joined the Test Team, Paul Jones would send me Test Taker’s concerns almost weekly. Each year our product got better and better and the passing rate improved. We still have a few questions that might have slipped through our yearly review, but for the most part, each question is reviewed if it is missed more than 25% of the time.


We hope that the tests we have prepared for you are outstanding teaching aids in your education in becoming the best Official you can be for our swimmers.

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