Adapting to remote assessment with Public Works and Government Services Canada

Suzanna Doran
February 10, 2022

Photo from British Columbia, Canada by Photerrestrial on Unsplash

It almost goes without saying that the past two years have changed nearly every aspect of life. Pre-2020, it wasn’t unheard of for interviews and pre-employment assessments to be held online. But it was more common to go to the organisation’s office and complete these tasks in person. Now, it’s often the other way around and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is one organisation that’s seen the benefit of this. 

PWGSC is the Government of Canada’s common service organisation. PWGSC in the Western Region employs builders, buyers, architects, engineers, auditors, management consultants, environmental scientists, and real estate professionals. 

As part of the hiring process, PWGSC carries out pre-employment assessments. Prior to the pandemic they, like many organisations, held assessments in-person using pen and paper. However social distancing guidelines necessitated a more flexible, remote approach.


Ultimate flexibility 

PWGSC began looking for a digital assessment platform in Spring 2021. They needed something that offered maximum flexibility in assessment creation and delivery, allowing them to deliver their assessments to their own specification. In particular, PWGSC wanted a platform that allowed them to be able to set windows of time in which assessments were open for completion. Additionally, it was important that exam authoring and editing was fully customisable so that the creation process was as efficient as possible. Finally, PWGSC needed a platform that facilitated collaborative and blind marking so that graders could work together and so that they couldn’t see the candidate’s name until after grading was complete. 

After exploring a number of platforms Maria Dumitrescu, Regional Director, decided to work with Inspera based on the flexibility of the platform. Maria’s team also appreciated the thorough training and onboarding provided, saying “your client service is above and beyond.” 


Candidate integrity 

The format of the assessments delivered by PWGSC varies but usually comprises a scenario-based question for which the candidate has to give a written response. For the most part, these questions are designed so that it would be difficult for a candidate to look up an answer online or collude with someone else. 

However, the integrity of the assessments is important to PWGSC and so they make use of Inspera Assessment's Safe Exam Browser to prevent candidates from navigating away from the test. Although Maria notes that this method isn’t infallible, it goes some way to prevent dishonesty. 


An easy user experience

At the end of 2021, PWGSC had delivered approximately 400 assessments with Inspera. Initial feedback has been positive, with many candidates saying that they feel the platform is easy to use. The team have also enjoyed delivering assessments with Inspera because it has helped them to save time and keep each part of the process in a unified space. Maria says “Whatever role they’ve had, whether it’s planners or graders, have found [Inspera Assessment] very easy to use.”

If you’d like to find out more about PWGSC’s experience researching, implementing and using Inspera, download the PWGSC case study. To learn how Inspera could help you to provide greater assessment flexibility and a better user experience, you can get in touch with our team to schedule a consultation.

Download PWGSC Case study 

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