An observational assessment is a type of exam where an employer or observer watches someone perform a task and rates their performance on a set of skills. For example, a company may want to observe a technician install an HVAC system (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).
Observational assessments are sometimes referred to as BARS; Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale. BARS is a tool for evaluating employees whereby subject matter experts identify a range of outcomes, then describe the behaviors that create those outcomes
Since observational assessments take place in real-time the observer can share the outcome with an employee immediately if they desire.
Traditional online assessment in a testing center
During a BARS exam an observer watches someone perform a set of tasks and grades each one.
Observational assessments or BARS exams are commonly used for the following:
- Some certifications require an observational module such as medical and dental schools, and driving tests
- Customer service
- Equipment operation to observe an operator’s skills and safety practices
- Retail stores to observe how staff interacts with customers
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