It appears that OPM is moving forward with the new exam. They recently asked for ALJs to help with the process.
"We are in the final stages of completing the occupational analysis and are now developing examination content. To develop the content, we need to rely on the expertise of ALJs. We are asking for ALJ participation for three different assessments: Situational Judgment Test, Written Demonstration, and Structured Interview. We will have three 3-day panel meetings for each assessment."
The panels start in May and run through the end of August.
My guess is that it will be late winter or early spring 2013 before the new exam is ready.
Well, OPM is in control of the application process for ALJ positions (and other federal jobs). They were asked to change the process, by SSA and perhaps other agencies as well. Whether this will be a better process from the perspectives of the applicants and/or the agencies remains to be seen.
The President put forth a lot of reforms in the hiring process which have been implemented, (others were at least recommended including getting rid of the rule of three), most of which affect positions that don't have all the testing just to get on the register. It's been said here on multiple occasions that SSA wanted changes because they were not happy with the existing process and the results. I suspect it's some of both.
I'm very curious to see what the new system will look like. President Obama's executive order calls for category ratings rather than the "rule of 3." If OPM uses category rating in the new register, applicants' scores will not be as important. Whatever scoring system is used will stratify applicants into categories (highly qualified/qualified/not qualified/etc.) categories, but an agency is free to hire anyone from the highest qualified category without regard to score.
Vet preferences will be even more important than under the current system as preference eligible vets go to the top of the quality category in which they are placed. They have to be chosen before any non-vet in the same category and can't be passed over without OPM approval (near impossible to get). Currently, a non-vet with a high score can be chosen over a preference vet with a lower score, but not under category rating.
Lastly, the three strike/consideration rule does not apply under category rating.
Reading this post I began wondering about a possible new testing method. I did a comparison of the 2009 OPM release (The ALJ Examination involves a multi-part assessment of qualifications, including proof of specific legal experience and submission of a written Accomplishment Record. Individuals with higher scores on their Accomplishment Record will then take a written exam and participate in a structured interview)
And the 2013 new release (The updated ALJ Examination involves a full review of applicant qualifications, including specific legal experience and bar status, and a multi-part assessment of relevant competencies, including online and in-person assessments. Applicants who pass the preliminary qualification screening and proceed past an online assessment process will then be scheduled to participate in an in-person assessment process in the Washington, DC, area. )
Note the difference the new release has added online assessments that have to be “proceeded past” before moving on.
I then did a web search using the specific OPM language found in the 2013 release and got a hit on the ALJ 2013 release notice and multiple hits on a different OPM managed program, the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. The PMF assessment process is untimed and unproctored, which means you can submit it any time between Opening and Closing date. The on-line assessment includes three components:
1. a video-based situational judgment assessment,
2. a questionnaire designed to assesses specific work styles and work-related characteristics required for success and fit in the PMF Program, and
3. essay questions (Maybe ARs in the case of ALJs???) collected during the application process
I have always said don’t reinvent the wheel. With the similarity in the OPM language in the 2013 news release and the OPM managed PMF web site language, I wonder if the PMF program is not the model wheel they used to update the ALJ exam.
May take a little time to look over the basic PMF application process.
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2013 16:35:48 GMT -5 by zebra51
I reviewed the PMF website last night as well as the application process. It was interesting reading. Too bad they were not more specific. In light of a post by workdrone on the board and the SSA OIG report that went with it, I would speculate this possibility has very real potential given OPM's announcement citing the online assessment portion.
Compare the old process in Appendix B to the information contained in the recent announcement given by OPM as well as the information in Appendix I of the SSA OIG report. Again, this is pure and utter speculation, but worthy of consideration, in my humble opinion.