New POST eligibility licensing exam aligns with updated learning objectives

By Nathan R. Gove, Executive Director, MN POST Board

For many of us in the law enforcement profession the POST eligibility licensing exam is a distant memory.  Depending on when you first entered the profession, you may have taken two written exams to become license eligible.  A “blue book” exam after your academic studies and a “red book” exam after practical skills training or the current single bubble test with 275 multiple choice questions.  The POST Board has been in the business of producing and administering the entry level licensing exam since the board’s inception in 1978 and that’s about to change. 

In April of 2015, the board adopted new learning objectives from which the colleges’ and universities build the curriculum for the professional peace officer education programs located throughout our state.  The changes to the curriculum will be fully rolled-out to students beginning in the fall of 2017. 

These changes to the learning objectives required the board to update its licensing exam and provided an excellent opportunity for switching to an on-line delivery process.  Our goal in developing a new professional exam is to ensure it’s aligned with the new learning objectives, meets current professional testing standards, and accurately measures a candidate’s skill, knowledge and abilities required of an entry level Minnesota peace officer.  Additional benefits to computer based testing is the ability to efficiently modify the examination as needed when changes to the learning objectives or state law occur.

The Minnesota POST Board recently entered into a contract with Personnel Services Inc. (PSI), a California based company known for professional examination development.  A cross-section of peace officers from across Minnesota were assembled at the POST Board for workshops this past January and again in February to serve as subject matter experts as part of the exam development phase.  These law enforcement professionals came from municipal, county, and state laws enforcement agencies with backgrounds in patrol, investigations, first-line supervision, k-9, tactical, narcotics, training and administration.   The subject matter experts reviewed and confirmed required knowledge areas, as outlined in the new POST Board Learning Objectives, and rated their importance as they relate to the license eligibility examination.  They also served as a writing panel for specific examination questions, as well as, examining existing test items.  Before final implementation, test items are “field tested” for validation and analysis utilizing industry standard psychometric monitoring plus candidate and subject matter expert comments. 

In addition to the examination development project now underway at POST, we are in the process of developing a Request for Proposal to identify a selected vendor for examination delivery.  The goal is to award a contract within the first quarter of 2017.   Shifting to professional test centers located throughout Minnesota and the United States, offers in state and reciprocal candidates an opportunity to participate in a professional testing process with minimal travel or inconvenience.  They will have more flexibility when scheduling an exam and both candidates and hiring agencies can expect a rapid turnaround of examination results.   

These testing initiatives and recent upgrades to our on-line services highlight the POST Board’s commitment to customer service and leveraging technology to provide more efficient services to our law enforcement agencies and peace officer customers.

Wishing you and your families a happy and safe New Year!   

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the POST Board at [email protected] or call 651-643-3060.