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Training and Experience (T & E) Evaluations

A traditional T & E evaluation, sometimes called a crediting plan or rating schedule, is a systematic method used to assess previous experience, education, and training information provided by job applicants. These assessment factors are based on critical job requirements and competencies identified through a job analysis.

Rating factors generally include the amount and quality of the applicant's previous job-related experience, as well as any other information deemed important to performing the duties of the position. Typically, information on the assessment factors is reported by applicants as a supplement to the application blank. This information is evaluated against education and experience benchmarks to generate scores for selection purposes. Benchmarks are often developed by Human Resource Specialists familiar with the occupations covered with the T & E evaluation.

T & E evaluations are relatively easy to develop and may apply to multiple occupations sharing the same requirements and competencies. For the most part, these assessments are used for entry level positions. Most often, T & E evaluations are used as a screen early in the selection process to identify applicants who meet the minimum proficiency levels on the rating factors. While most rating factors are usually broad, more specific factors tailored to a particular occupation or organization can be developed.

A variation of the traditional rating schedule based on training and experience rating factors is a task-based rating method. The task-based method is used to assess applicants' training and experience in relation to descriptions of tasks performed on the job to be filled. Specifically, the task-based rating schedule is developed from a list of tasks performed by incumbents in the target job. Applicants read each task statement and indicate whether they have ever performed such activities. Some versions ask applicants to also indicate the level of proficiency at which the task was performed. Generally, the more tasks performed, the higher an applicant's score will be.

As with most self-report instruments, applicant inflation or distortion can threaten the validity of a T & E evaluation. Two approaches can be taken to combat the problem of rating inflation: (1) creating applicant expectations that responses will be verified, and (2) carrying out verification procedures, making adjustments to scores based on the findings.

Other self-report measures that collect additional types of training and experience information are available as alternatives to the traditional T & E evaluation. An example of such an alternative is the competency-based self-report method. This method functions much like a traditional rating schedule in terms of ease of administration and scoring. However, in addition to rating the extent to which a critical job competency is demonstrated, accomplishments, (e.g., written statements of personal accomplishments that best illustrate an applicant's proficiency on critical job dimensions) are collected to support the self-reported information. This is very similar to the accomplishment records method discussed earlier in this section. Another option with the competency-based self-report method is the inclusion of a process requiring formal verification (e.g., via reference checking) of the information provided by the applicants in their written self-ratings and/or accomplishments. This verification information is often used to limit, as much as possible, the rating inflation typically observed with applicant self-reports of accomplishments.


  • Validity - The content of the training and experience items on a traditional rating schedule and the task items on a task-based rating schedule are often highly representative of actual job performance (i.e., they show a high degree of content validity); Generally, performance on rating schedules does not relate well to performance on the job (i.e., they show a low degree of criterion-related validity), with length and recency of education, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities demonstrating the weakest relation to job performance
  • Face Validity/Applicant Reactions - Reactions from professionals who feel they should be evaluated on their experience is typically favorable; Less favorable reactions may be seen if used for younger, less experienced applicants with few previous related experiences to describe
  • Administration Method - Can be administered via paper-and-pencil or electronically
  • Subgroup Differences - Generally little or no performance differences are found between men and women or applicants of different racial or ethnic backgrounds
  • Development Costs - Takes less time to develop than other measures of training and experience (e.g., the accomplishment record)
  • Administration Costs - Takes a very short time to administer and for applicants to complete; Administration time is shorter than other measures of training and experience (e.g., accomplishment record)
  • Utility/ROI - Return on investment for training and experience measures can be moderate to high if the same rating schedule instrument can be used to assess for various positions
  • Common Uses - Commonly used as a screening device prior to another selection tool (e.g., structured interview) for both entry level positions across various professional occupations (e.g., trainee positions) and jobs requiring prior preparation.


(See Section VI for a summary of each article)

Lyons, T. J. (1989). Validity of Education and Experience Measured in Traditional Rating Schedule Procedures: A Review of the Literature. Office of Personnel Research and Development, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Washington, DC, OPRD-89-02.

Lyons, T. J. (1988). Validity Research on Rating Schedule Methods: Status Report. Office of Personnel Research and Development, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Washington, DC, OED-88-17.

McCauley, D. E. (1987). Task-Based Rating Schedules: A Review. Office of Examination Development, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Washington, DC, OED 87-15.

McDaniel, M. A., Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1988). A meta-analysis of the validity of methods for rating training and experience in personnel selection. Personnel Psychology, 41, 283-309.

Schwartz, D. J. (1977). A job sampling approach to merit system examining. Personnel Psychology, 30(2), 175-185.

Sproule, C. F. (1990). Personnel Assessment Monographs: Recent Innovations in Public Sector Assessment (Vol 2, No. 2). International Personnel Management Association Assessment Council (IPMAAC).

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