CASPer, or the computer-based assessment for sampling personal characteristics, is a test that causes all the fuss in the academic world lately. It seems that this test is setting a precedent to the way students are being assessed and evaluated during their university application process. Because CASPer is still a novelty in the academic world, many students are not familiar with its concept. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we are going to take a brief look at what this test is, what it comprises and how it looks like.
What is CASPerTest?
For those who are not familiar, the application process for colleges and universities does not solely revolve around your grades. Sometimes, other student’s skills, that don’t include academic or cognitive, have to be taken into consideration during the application cycle. That is why CASPer is a test designed for that purpose specially. CASPer is a test that is supposed to help schools, universities and colleges choose their students based on the so-called people skills. The test was designed by researchers Dr. Harold Reiter and Dr. Kelly Dore at McMaster University. The test has been in use at this university since 2010 but has been officially used for the first time by another university (Northern Ontario School of Medicine) since 2014. Ever since then, other schools and universities have adopted this assessment and evaluation application process. But, it is important to point out that CASPer is a test intended for medical schools and universities only, and is used by dozen universities in the US, Canada, New Zeland and Australia.
What does the CASPer Test Evaluate?
This test has a form of a situational judgment test. This means that it is a type of psychological test where the participant is presented with realistic and hypothetical situations where their response to these situations is evaluated. To be more precise, what is being evaluated is the appropriateness of response as well as the ability of the participant to rank the responses according to their efficiency. Because in the medical field it is not simply enough to be knowledgeable and have the academic and cognitive background, this test is there to evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. It assesses the applicants’ non-academic skills that include communication, collaboration, empathy, ethics, equity, complex problem-solving skills, professionalism, and motivation.
How does the CASPer Test Look Like?
The format of this test revolves around 12 sections that are either video-based or word-based; to be more precise, each section contains specific scenarios; there are 8 video-based scenarios and 4 text-based scenarios. The video-based scenarios contain short videos, that are followed by three follow-up, situational judgment questions. The word-based scenarios contain paragraphs describing specific scenarios where you may be placed in different situations (at the workplace, at a party, at dinner with friends or family, etc.). Of course, these scenarios are also followed by three open-ended questions. Each section will last 5 minutes; during that time you have to watch the video/read the paragraphs and answer the questions. The video-based scenarios play the video only once, and you cannot replay it.
How Long Does the CASPer Test Last?
The CASPer test takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. The test consists of the introductory part, followed by 65 minutes set for the 12 sections of the test. As mentioned before, each applicant has 5 minutes per each section, to view the video, read a paragraph and provide responses to the questions. Of course, each applicant can take a 15 minutes break during the mid-part of the test; however, applicants may complete the testing without taking a break.
How is the CASPer Test Scored?
When it comes to the evaluation of the test, it is important to point out that each of the 12 sections of the test is evaluated by a different person. These independent human raters are trained to evaluate the designated sections accordingly. These raters are also of different backgrounds (nurses, physicians, educators, etc), of different races, social status, and overall demographics. Each rater is also trained to focus solely on the content of the answers, rather than spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or ill-formed sentences.
However, applicants are advised to write clearly and make sure that their answers are, in fact grammatically correct, spelled properly and without typos. The scores for each section are standardized to represent the applicant’s ranking compared to other applicants. The scores are sent to the applicant’s selected program, and they cannot see their scores. Each medical school applies the results of the CASPer test differently, so there is no way of knowing how the scores will affect one’s application.
How Can You Prepare for the CASPer Test?
Now, there really isn’t a way you can prepare for this test. It does not require studying, additional learning or research. Since it is based on the assessment of the people skills, the only thing you can do is rely on yourself and your personal skills. This is a behavioral test, and in that sense, you can not simply change your ‘behavior’ to make it fit the requirements of the test. However, what you can do is following;
- You can familiarize yourself with the CASPer test and its concept.
- You can check the CASPer test concept and preparation questions.
- You can create the CASPer account, where you can register for the test and receive the test date and time.
- You can ensure a reliable computer, Internet connection and a place where you cannot be interrupted for 90 minutes.
- You can ensure to have preferably noise-canceling headphones.
Can You Fail the CASPer Test?
CASPer test is not created to be a pass or fail type of test, therefore, you cannot fail it. The test is designed to simply assess the applicant’s interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. The scores of the test are sent to individual programs, where they are incorporated differently into the final application decision. So, there is no need to worry about failing this test, as it is not designed to fit the concept of passing or failing. For this test, you will never receive the results, feedback or your score; the test is an evaluation of your behavior, situational judgment skills as well as inter- and intrapersonal skills; hence the ‘no pass or fail’ concept.
How Many Times Can You Take the CASPer Test?
CASPer test can be taken once per single admission cycle. It can also be taken once per specific program you wrote it for or used to apply for. Of course, if you need to take the CASPer test in future admission cycles, you will be able to do that, as the exams and admission cycles change every year. Bear in mind the fact that you will never receive the results for the test you took.
The fact that tests like CASPer exist is great; this means that each applicant and students is more than their grades, GPA or MCAT scores. Behind every application is a personality that can contribute in a way that is not solely academic, intellectual or cognitive. The medical field also needs people who are empathetic, people-oriented, professional yet friendly and approachable. Therefore, this test enables such applicants to have a fair chance of getting admitted into the medical school of their wish without fearing scores.