Controversial Essay Exam for Probation Officers is Being Cut

The test to become a probation officer was developed to ensure a fair and objective hiring and promotion system. However, a controversial essay portion of the exam is being thrown out after many testing officers took it themselves and failed. Now it will be simply looked at and considered during evaluations, but not weighted on the actual exam score.

The court faced pressure to dismiss the results after a dozen officers were looking at possible demotions and pay cuts this past March. Officials delayed the consequences for the officers after the probation officers’ union claimed that the test was biased, as the officers who failed were all minorities.

Court administrator Harry Spence composed a letter to probation employers stating that the essay results “will not be a bar to application.” With these changes, any candidate for employment who passes the multiple-choice portion will have the ability to gain promotion.

Also coming with these changes is a difference in how PO jobs are posted. More advanced jobs, including assistant chief and chief probation officers, will now be posted and candidates will be able apply directly for these positions as well.

These changes come with the desire to make the test more fair and objective for all candidates, minority or not. With the dismissal of the essay portion, the hope is that more candidates will have a better opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills, and therefore gain employment, and eventually, promotions.

As for the employees who faced demotions and pay cuts earlier, they can rest easy knowing their results have been changed to a passing grade.