State Universities Civil Service System
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9.5 Oral Board Examination Process

Manual: Examination Procedures

Subsection: Administering Police Officer Examinations

The Oral Board examination component consists of an evaluation of the oral presentation by the applicant in response to a series of defined questions, reactions to scenarios, or other defined exercises. The Police Officer examination includes an Oral Board component conducted by a panel of three (3) assessors and monitored by a Human Resource representative. The Police Corporal, Police Sergeant, and Police Lieutenant examinations all include an Elongated Oral Board component conducted by a panel of  three (3) assessors and monitored by a University System office representative.

In a skillful Oral Board examination, the presentation of the questions usually takes far less time than the applicant’s responses.  During the Oral Board examination, an Oral Board assessor is not to indicate agreement or disagreement with the applicant’s responses or to offer any opinion on the response.  Follow-up questions from the Oral Board assessors are not permitted.

The Oral Board examination is designed to reveal the applicant’s strengths/weaknesses and provide another abstract venue for further evaluation.  While the Oral Board examination need not be timed to exactly the same number of minutes, an effort should be made to give all applicants approximately equal time.  The questions should be uniform, and may be repeated once if requested, but never paraphrased.

Oral Board examination questions have been furnished to elicit the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • ability to Communicate Orally
  • ability to Make Decisions and Exercise Sound Judgment
  • ability to Meet Demands of University Police Work

Applicants should not be informed of the identity of the panel of Oral Board assessors until entering the examination room.  Oral Board assessors should excuse themselves from rating any applicant when, in their judgment, it would be difficult to rate the applicant impartially or if there is any appearance of impropriety.  (In these instances, the Total Rating should be divided by 2 rather than 3.)

A separate Applicant Rating Sheet for each candidate will be provided to each Oral Board assessor at the time of examination.  The University System requests that any notations by Oral Board assessors be recorded on the individual Applicant Rating Sheet during the oral examination.  Ratings of whole numbers or decimal increments i.e., 3.5, 4.1 may be assigned.  Ratings may be changed until the time that the completed forms are collected.  Exceptionally high ratings should be given only for exceptionally well-qualified and outstanding applicants.  Such high ratings should not be used to simply differentiate among a group of mediocre or poor applicants. 

Oral Board assessors should not reveal their individual ratings or the final Oral Board ratings.  The score given to an applicant is an average score and scores of the individual Oral Board assessors are never revealed.  Following the completion of the rating process, there should not be any additional discussion of the examination, examination process, or examination participants.

An orientation session shall be provided to the selected panel of Oral Board assessors immediately before the Oral Board examination is scheduled to begin.  A local Human Resource representative will conduct this orientation for the Police Officer Oral Board process.  Usually a member of the University System office staff, or designee, will conduct this orientation for the Police Corporal, Police Sergeant, and Police Lieutenant Elongated Oral Board process.  These orientation sessions are to be conducted at least one (1) hour prior to the commencement of the Oral Board examination, unless a previous orientation has occurred.

  1. Orientation of Assessors for Police Officer Oral Board

    Assessors for this panel are usually selected from a group of local or other university police officers. The orientation for this panel of assessors should include:

    1. A 15-20 minute presentation by the Examining Institution's Police Chief or his/her designee on the department's philosophies and issues.
    2. A review of the Police Officer job description.
    3. A review of the Police Department's Organizational Chart.

    Following this presentation, the Human Resource representative shall:

    1. Designate a Chair of the Oral Board panel.
    2. Review the Oral Résumé Guidelines and Interview questions.
    3. Explain the Evaluation/Rating Forms and weighting of examination sections.
    4. Provide each member a copy of the Ethical Guidelines for Assessors (see Section 9.6 of Examination Procedures Manual) and ensure that each Oral Board Assessor has reviewed and confirms compliance with the Ethical Guidelines for Assessors. 
    5. Present each Oral Board assessor with a copy of the resumes of each Oral Board assessor assigned to this examination.
    6. Provide each Oral Board assessor a copy of the Police Officer class specification, the schedule of examinations, and a copy of each applicant's Oral Board Supplement.
    7. Inform the Oral Board assessors that they should limit duration of the oral interview to between 30 and 45 minutes.

    The Human Resource representative should discuss the following Oral Board examination procedures:

    1. There are 11 sets (Set A – Set K) of the Oral Interview Questions.  Each time the Oral Interview is administered by the employer, a different set of questions is to be used until all 11 sets have been administered.
    2. An Oral Résumé is provided by candidates to the Oral Board panel of assessors.  There is a 5-minute time limit.  Experience and training attained by the applicant up to the time of the Oral Board examination shall be considered. Common topics discussed during the Oral Résumé include:
      • Personal Data
      • Education
      • Law enforcement or military training
      • Honors/special awards in the area of law enforcement
      • Law enforcement specialty skills
      • Community service
    3. Oral Board Guidelines, Observation Guidelines, Applicant Rating Sheets, and Final Report for Oral Board Rating are provided to the Oral Board assessors to assist with scoring this examination. 

    4. The Chairperson of the Oral Board panel of assessors will conduct the Oral Board examination in the following manner:
      • Introduce the applicant to the Oral Board assessors.
      • Identify and introduce other persons in the examining room, if applicable.
      • Request the applicant to state his/her name, address, and class of the position for which he/she is applying and obtain the applicant's signature in the log provided by the HR representative.
      • Explain the exercises to each applicant informing him/her that there will be a 5 to 8 minute time limit for each question. There will be a 5 minute time limit for the oral résumé. Inform the applicant that he/she should listen carefully. An Oral Board question may be repeated only one time, if the applicant requests, but it should not be paraphrased. The actual applicant time spent in the Oral Resume and Interview should be between 30 and 45 minutes.
      • Inform each applicant that they will be notified by mail of their final score.
    5. The Chairperson shall collect the rating sheets and immediately examine them for variations in ratings. The Chairperson should require a review of scores if there is a wide divergence of scores and/or if one score is so skewed that, in and of itself, it causes the applicant to fail or pass.
    6. After the rating process has been completed to the satisfaction of the Chairperson, all materials are to be returned to the HR representative for handling.
    7. Each Oral Board assessor should record the applicant's performance for each element on the Oral Board Evaluations (Applicant Rating Sheet) as indicated. Each Oral Board assessor should sign and date each Applicant Rating Sheet and indicate which set (A-K) of Oral Board questions was used for this session.
    8. The Chairperson will complete the Final Report for Oral Board Rating for each applicant. Each assessor will sign and date this form.
    9. Each assessor is then asked to provide an evaluation of the oral board process by completing the Evaluation of Oral Board Process Form (Form 9.5a) and submit these to the Human Resource representative.
  2. Orientation of Assessors for Police Corporal, Police Sergeant, Police Lieutenant Elongated Oral Board

    Oral Board assessors for this panel are appointed from a group of supervisory or administrative police personnel employed within the University System and previously trained and mentored in the Elongated Oral Board process. The University System office maintains a list of qualified assessors for this Elongated Oral Board process.

    The orientation for this panel of assessors includes:

    1. A review of the relevant classification specifications for the position.
    2. A review of the Ethical Guidelines for Assessors (see Section 9.6) to ensure that each Oral Board Assessor has reviewed and confirms compliance with the Ethical Guidelines for Assessors.

    Following this review, the University System office representative shall:

    1. Designate a Chair of the Oral Board panel.
    2. Review each item contained in the informational packets previously sent to each assessor.
    3. Explain the Evaluation/Rating Forms and weighting of examination sections.
    4. Provide each Oral Board assessor a copy of the schedule of examinations, and a copy of each applicant's Oral Board Supplement.
    5. Inform the panel of assessors of any time limitations.

    The University System office representative should then review the applicable Oral Board examination procedures and obligations of each assessor and the Chairperson. Upon completion of the Oral Board process, each assessor will be asked to provide an evaluation of the oral board process by completing the Evaluation of Oral Board Process Form (Form 9.5a) and submit these to the University System office representative.


Revised 7/16/2008