Test Rental

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I request sample copies of your tests?
What is a TRA?
What are the similarities and differences between the tests for which you have multiple forms?
Can I mix and match from multiple tests to create an exam?
May I create a customized exam?
What are source lists?
Do you offer candidate preparation manuals?
Do you offer online tests?
What is a personality test?
Are candidates allowed to use calculators on your exams?
How do I choose the right test for my agency?
What is the cost to rent a test and what is included in the base fee?
What information should I have ready before placing an order?
How do I place an order?
What are my shipping options? How long until I receive my tests?
What steps should I take upon receipt of my testing materials?
What should I do with test materials after my test administration?
When will I receive my scoring results?
What should I do if a candidate has special needs that require my agency to make a test accommodation?
How do I read the test analysis I received with my score results?
Does CPS HR have recommended pass points or cut scores for their written tests?
What is adverse impact?
How is the 80% (or four-fifths) rule calculated?
What do the terms validity and reliability mean, and why are they important?
What is a job analysis?

Can I request sample copies of your tests?

Yes, you can order a review copy for any of our test materials free of charge (e.g., tests, supplements, structured interview packages, and specialized item sets). A Test Rental Agreement(TRA) will need to be in place before any materials can be shipped or before online access can be given. The TRA outlines our policies regarding the safeguarding of the materials and outlines the client’s responsibilities. It also clearly defines to whom at your agency we may send review copies or exams. Review copies are available in paper or on-line format.

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What is a TRA?

A TRA is a Test Rental Agreement, which is a two-year contract that defines the terms, policies, and procedures of the CPS HR Test Rental program. The CPS HR TRA is intended to protect the mutual interests of our clients, our Test Rental program, and the candidates who take our tests. The agreement covers important security aspects that help ensure that no candidate is allowed unequal access to test materials and that test materials that may be used across agencies are handled with the utmost security.

A TRA must be completed and signed by the head of each agency, and must be on file with CPS HR before test material may be sent for review or administration. To learn more about our TRA or to obtain a TRA for your agency, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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What are the similarities and differences between the test for which you have multiple forms?

Our tests are developed to measure essential skills required on the job. For commonly ordered tests (e.g., entry clerical, entry firefighter, or entry law enforcement), we offer different forms with similar or the same content areas. These different forms will typically contain a different set of items across the forms, and may sometimes differ slightly between the number of questions for each content area. Multiple forms are often helpful when an agency wishes to administer a test that is similar to one that was recently given in the past, but does not want to use the exact form.

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Can I mix and match from multiple tests to create an exam?

Yes, you can utilize any of our stock material to create a semi-stock test. Test questions can be added or deleted from any of our stock or semi-stock tests. This type of customization allows agencies an affordable method of assessing competencies that are important for effective performance at different ranks within their specific departments.

The pricing for our semi-stock test products is provided in our Test Rental Pricing Matrix. If you are interested in learning more about our semi-stock test services, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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May I create a customized exam?

Yes, our consultants are available to assist with custom test development for your agency. The custom test option allows greater flexibility for developing a test to specific criteria, such as policies, procedures, and other agency-specific reading material.

The pricing for our custom test products is provided in our Test Rental Pricing Matrix. If you are interested in learning more about our custom test services, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us. Because custom tests often require more development time, custom test orders should be placed at least 8 weeks in advance of your test date.

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What are source lists?

CPS HR provides source lists for stock promotional examinations in which items are referenced to specific texts and/or sources. Because entry level examinations are designed to measure only general knowledge (such as mathematical ability or reading comprehension), these tests are not sourced to specific books and typically do not require a source list. A CPS HR staff member can assist you with questions regarding our source lists, or provide you with the source lists for your selected stock test.

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Do you offer candidate preparation manuals?

Yes, we offer off-the-shelf candidate preparation manuals. We sell candidate preparation manuals directly to the agency ordering the test. We do not distribute candidate prep manuals directly to candidates. Currently, we offer candidate prep manuals for the following tests:

  • Entry-Level Firefighter (now available online)
  • Entry-Level Law Enforcement (now available online)

CPS HR recommends a study period of 4-6 weeks once the candidates have received the preparation manual.

The pricing for our candidate preparation manuals is provided in our Test Rental Pricing Matrix. If you are interested in learning more about our preparation manuals, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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Do you offer online tests?

Yes, CPS HR offers online computer skills and personality testing. Our online skills testing utilizes realistic simulations of popular software applications (e.g., Access, Excel, Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, etc.) as well as basic computer literacy, data entry, proof reading, transcription, and typing, among others. In addition, we are able to offer online tools which assess normal personality traits, derailment characteristics, job fit, and core values through the use of several inventories. The personality factors measured are proven to predict job performance based on more than 15-years of accumulating evidence.

Please contact CPS HR for more information at (916) 263.1800 or visit our website.

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What is a personality test?

The intrapersonal, interpersonal, and leadership skills of an individual are primarily made up of non-cognitive competencies that are often assessed using a measure of personality. The goal of a personality test, like any other personnel selection test, is to improve the likelihood that an agency will select the best employee for a particular job. In other words, selection tests help those making hiring decisions predict with greater accuracy which job candidates will be successful if hired. Personality tests can often provide a standardized and accurate method for assessing personality as opposed to intuitive and subjective methods (e.g., hiring interview) (Hogan & Kaiser, 2010), a more holistic assessment of the job applicant beyond cognitive ability (Hogan, 2. Davies, & Hogan, 2007), and a likelihood that the personality measure would result in no or less adverse impact than a cognitive measure (Oswald & Leaetta, 2010).

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Are candidates allowed to use calculators on your exams?

Our math questions are designed to be answered without the use of calculators. However, if an agency wishes to allow candidates to use calculators, they may. The agency must ensure, however, that if one candidate uses a calculator, all candidates are allowed the same opportunity. CPS HR also strongly recommends clearly specifying to candidates the types of calculators that are allowed and monitoring the use of calculators during the test administration.

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How do I choose the right test for my agency?

CPS HR offers a wide variety of test materials, from off-the-shelf stock products to fully customized tests. Our testing products are listed in our online Test Rental Catalog.

When choosing any tool in your selection process, it is important to match the essential knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) of the job to the KSAOs that are being measured in the test(s). The Uniform Guidelines indicate that a KSAO measured by a selection procedure should be one that is “used in and is a necessary prerequisite to performance of critical or important work behavior(s).” With absolutely no obligation to order, our test review program allows your agency to receive full online or hard copy test booklets for review before a test order is made. In addition, upon request, CPS HR consultants are available to assist in providing test content for review that may best fit your agency’s needs.

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What is the cost to rent a test and what is included in the base fee?

Our rental rates, including any special services, can be found in our Test Rental Pricing Matrix. You will find that our rates are very competitive and include services not necessarily offered by other test providers. With each test order you receive:
  • Consulting services from trained psychometricians to direct you through our wide variety of test content, review test results with you, discuss pass point setting methodologies, and discuss administration considerations.
  • Scoring services and provision of scores either in hard or electronic copy within 48 hours of receipt of completed answer sheets.
  • Preparation of the Proctor Manual and Scoring Manual and provision of CPS HR scannable answer sheets.
  • Access to continually-updated test content that has been developed through the use of job analysis.
  • Outstanding customer service and access to a team that strives to exceed your expectations every day.


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What information should I have ready before placing an order?

Please provide us with the following information to process your test order:

  1. The name and number of the test(s) would you like to order. Please refer to the test number(s) when ordering (for example, stock test 0126 or semi-stock test SS12345).
  2. The scheduled test date.
  3. Your candidate count. To ensure that test materials are received on time and with the standard shipping rates, please notify CPS HR at least 10 business days prior to the test date of the total number of candidates intended to test.
  4. How tests will be scored. Tests may be scored by your agency, by CPS HR, or both. The options are listed below.

  • Key sheet: If your agency uses its own electronic scoring equipment, you may request a key sheet at no additional charge. The key sheet is a simple list of question numbers and correct responses. Please note that if you request a key sheet, CPS HR does not provide our scannable answer sheet with your order as our forms are customized and only compatible with electronic scoring completed by CPS HR.

  • CPS Scoring: Electronic scoring is provided by CPS HR and is included in the cost of your base fee for each order. After scoring is complete, a test analysis report is provided in .pdf format. All scores are provided via e-mail within 48 hours from the time CPS HR receives the scannable answer sheets for scoring.


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How do I place an order?

For ease of use by our clients, orders for test material may be placed in a variety of ways. Regardless of the method in which you submit your order, an e-mail response with the order confirmation will be sent to your agency within 24-48 hours of receipt of the order.
  • E-mail: Contact us with the relevant details for your test order via e-mail at testrental@cpshr.us.
  • Phone: Call us at (916) 263.1800. Orders may be placed by phone during regular business hours.
  • Fax: Complete the test order form and fax the order to (916) 921.6240


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What are my shipping options? How long until I receive my tests?

All secure test materials are shipped via Federal Express. Standard shipping costs (10% of the total cost of your order) apply to orders completed at least 10 business days prior to the test date. Expedited shipping/handling (15% of the total cost of your order) applies to orders completed less than 10 business days prior to the test date. Orders completed less than 3 business days prior to the test date will be charged at the premium shipping rate (20% of the total cost of your order).

Once your test order is on its way, you will receive an e-mail confirmation from our shipping department that will include a tracking number for your order. For orders with standard delivery, your test materials will be shipped to arrive 2-3 business days before your test date.

All outgoing shipments originate from our headquarters office in Sacramento, California. Federal Express shipments will vary in delivery time from 1 to 3 business days, depending on final shipping location.
All shipping charges are provided in our online Test Rental Catalog.

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What steps should I take upon receipt of my testing materials?

As soon as you receive your test materials, please open the package and inventory your materials using the enclosed packing slip. It is important that you inventory all materials – books, key, proctor instructions, and scannable answer sheets, as many or all of these materials may be necessary on the day of your test administration.

CPS HR recommends that you inventory materials prior to your test administration to ensure sufficient time should additional materials be required. CPS HR goes to great measures to ensure each order is complete and correct before it is shipped. However, if you believe that something is missing from your test order, please contact us immediately at (916) 263.1800.

Once you have completed your inventory check, please place all materials in a locked and secured location until you are ready to administer the exam.

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What should I do with test materials after my test administration?

All exam materials, both used and unsused, must be returned to CPS HR. Per our Test Rental Agreement (TRA), agencies are not permitted to keep any exam materials in their possession once the administration is complete. Using the packing slip sent with your order, please re-inventory the materials following your test administration to verify that all materials were collected from candidates and are accounted.

Once re-inventoried, please include all materials in the return box and ship to CPS HR with the pre-paid airbill provided with your order. Please do not make any changes to the airbill as this may result in your agency incurring additional shipping charges. If expedited scoring services are requested, you must return the scannable answer sheets separately at your agency’s expense. All materials must be received by CPS HR no later than 2 weeks after your scheduled test date.

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When will I receive my scoring results?

Score results are provided within 48 hours from the time CPS HR receives an agency’s scannable answer sheets. An e-mail confirmation that the scannable answer sheets have arrived for scoring will be sent upon our receipt of the materials.

Once the scanning of the answer sheets is completed and the score report has been reviewed by a consultant, your agency will receive two e-mails. One e-mail will contain the password for your score results. The second e-mail will contain a .pdf copy of the test analysis. If you need a hard copy test analysis, please feel free to print a copy of the electronic results provided.

Your scannable sheets will be returned via USPS so you may keep them for your records. CPS HR does not store or maintain completed candidate scannable answer sheets for your agency. It is important that you keep a copy of the score report provided; CPS HR does not keep a copy of your score report on file.

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What should I do if a candidate has special needs that require my agency to make a test accommodation?

Since each candidate’s request for accommodation is unique to the individual, CPS HR recommends consulting with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and your agency's legal counsel for more detailed information of possible testing accommodations. Although CPS HR does not have established standard procedures, it is generally recommended that the agency ask that the candidate provide details on the requested test accommodation and proof of disability (e.g., a doctor's note providing documentation of a disability). Some of the more common accommodations may include testing the candidate in a separate environment away from other distractions, providing a reader, or providing extra time to complete the test.

For visually impaired candidates, CPS HR does offer large print test books and/or answer sheets for an additional fee. For more information on our large print test books, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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How do I read the test analysis I received with my score results?

CPS HR test analyses contain multiple pages of helpful test data. The following are some common definitions:
  • RS: Raw Score. This value indicates the number of correct answers on a test.
  • PS: Percent Score. This value indicates a score in terms of the percent correct. (A percent score is calculated by dividing a candidate’s raw score by the total number of possible correct answers in the test.)
  • MEAN: The mean is the average of the test or subtest scores, obtained by summing the scores and dividing by the number of candidates.
  • STANDARD DEVIATION: The standard deviation measures the variability of the test scores. A small standard deviation indicates that the scores tend to cluster about the mean. A large standard deviation indicates a wide variation of scores.
  • RELIABILITY: Reliability is a measure of consistency in a test. The reliability can be as high as 1.00 (perfect reliability). Test reliabilities of .80 or higher are considered satisfactory.
  • STANDARD ERROR OF MEASUREMENT: Standard error of measurement (SEM) is the amount of error that can be expected in a score from a particular test. The smaller the SEM, the greater the accuracy of the score. Thus, if a SEM is 5, the chances are two to one that an obtained score lies within five units of the true score.
  • AVERAGE DIFFICULTY: The average difficulty indicates the average percent of the items that were answered correctly for that particular subtest. The weighted total average difficulty is the average percent of items answered correctly on the whole test.
  • SKEWNESS: Skewness refers to asymmetry in a distribution. A positive value indicates scores are spread out at the upper end of the distribution and that the test is difficult for that sample. A negative value indicates that scores are spread out at the lower end of the distribution and that the test is easy for that sample.
  • KURTOSIS: Kurtosis measures the relative flatness or peakedness of the curve formed by the distribution of scores. A peaked (positive value) distribution means the scores tend to be grouped in the middle for that sample. A flat distribution (negative number) means scores tend to cover a wider range for that sample.


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Does CPS HR have recommended pass points or cut scores for their written tests?

Pass points or cut scores are set by each agency using their own particular criteria and methodology. CPS HR does not recommend the use of mandated or preset pass points because this eliminates the ability to take into account important legal and professional considerations. Test Rental consultants are available to offer assistance in evaluating the many factors that often go into setting pass points, such as the overall difficulty of the test, the agency’s past practices in setting pass points, natural breaks in candidate scores, and standard setting data/methodologies. To speak to a Test Rental consultant regarding pass point setting, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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What is adverse impact?

According to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, adverse impact is defined as a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex, or ethnic group. A common rule applied in adverse impact analysis is the four-fifths (4/5), or eighty percent (80%), rule. In particular, the Uniform Guidelines state that a selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest selection rate will generally be regarded by Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact, while a greater than four-fifths rate will generally not be regarded by Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact.

Adverse impact and the four-fifths rule can be affected by several factors, including the size of the candidate pool or the recruitment practices that were followed for that particular process. For example, a particular selection rate for a group may not constitute adverse impact if the differences are based on small numbers and are not statistically significant, or where special recruiting or other programs cause the pool of minority or female candidates to be atypical of the normal pool of applicants from that group (Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, Section 4D).

For information on calculating adverse impact analysis, please see our frequently asked question regarding how the 80% (or four-fifths) rule is calculated.

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How is the 80% (or four-fifths) rule calculated?

Calculating the 80% (or four-fifths) rule is a four-step process. The steps are listed below.

(1) Calculate the rate of selection for each group. (To determine the selection rate, divide the number of persons selected from a group by the number of applicants from that group.)
(2) Determine which group has the highest selection rate.
(3) Calculate the impact ratios by comparing the selection rate for each group with that of the highest group (divide the selection rate for a group by the selection rate for the highest group).
(4) Determine whether the selection rate for any group is substantially less (i.e., less than 80% or four-fifths) than the selection rate for the highest group. If it is, adverse impact may be indicated.

For example:

APPLICANTS
HIRES
SELECTION RATE/PERCENT HIRED
80 Group A 48 48/80 or 60%
40 Group B 12 12/40 or 30%


A comparison of the selection rate for Group B (30%) with the selection rate for Group A (60%) shows that the Group B rate is 30/60, or one-half (or 50%) of the Group A rate. Since the one-half (50%) is less than four-fifths (80%), adverse impact may be indicated.

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What do the terms validity and reliability mean, and why are they important?

The validity of a test refers to the evidence and theory supporting the interpretations of test scores. The predominant type of validity used in the development of employment tests is content validity. This approach seeks to demonstrate the close correspondence between job/occupation content and the content of the test, including a consideration of the mode of test presentation. The link between the content of the job and the content of the test is generally established through a job analysis process that involves the identification of the important job tasks and the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) required to perform those tasks. The information derived through the job analysis study guides the test development process and provides the justification for test content.

The reliability of a test refers to measurement consistency or the degree to which repeated measurement of the same candidate would (hypothetically) tend to produce the same result. If a test has high reliability, a candidate that performs well on the test on Monday should perform equally well if the test is retaken on Tuesday (with no memory of the first test or without practice effects). This is referred to as ‘test-retest reliability.’ A test must be both valid (i.e., accurate) and reliable (i.e., consistent) for the test scores to be meaningful.

Validity is one of the most important concepts to establish in testing. At CPS HR, we continually develop and expand the validity evidence for our exams so we can provide tools that are job related and are consistent with business necessity. We adhere to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures to comply with legal requirements adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Justice. These efforts allow us to provide valid, reliable exams to our clients. In fact, our exams have never been successfully challenged in a court of law because of the measures we employ to ensure the validity of the test.

It is equally important that agencies using off-the-shelf exams understand that they, too, have obligations in creating validity evidence for the exams they choose to rent. Namely, agencies must take additional steps to demonstrate a link between the exam content and the specific job being tested. To that end, CPS HR offers consulting services to organizations to develop this link (known as local validation or a transportability study) to further increase the validity evidence available in the event of a challenge. To speak to a Test Rental consultant regarding local validation efforts, please contact us at (916) 263.1800 or testrental@cpshr.us.

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What is a job analysis?

A job analysis is a systematic study of a job with the purpose of identifying the behaviors that constitute successful performance of the job, and the personal attributes needed to successfully perform those behaviors. The results of a job analysis may often be used for a variety of employment-related decisions and procedures. The legal and professional guidelines for conducting job analyses can be found in the Principles for the Validation of Personnel Selection Procedures (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2003), the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999), the California Civil Service Act (Government Code § 18500), Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations (§ 7287.4), and most notably, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Section Procedures (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al., 1978). The Uniform Guidelines indicate that a job analysis conducted for the purpose of establishing the content validity of a selection procedure should focus on the job and the work behaviors and tasks associated with successful performance of the job. Some of the basic steps included in a job analysis can be viewed here.

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