Dover Testing

Basic Information on Dover / Vienna System

The Dover / Vienna System of testing is an Austrian developed testing concept – it does not train people; rather it finds suitable people for training. This form of Psychometric skill testing was introduced to SA in approximately 1982 to the mining community and since then South African norms have been developed. 

It is a basic skills-competency measurement tool - looks at fundamental practical skills: eye-hand-foot + basic manual co-ordination; reactions to stimuli in various environmental conditions; auditory discrimination; estimation of the speed / direction of moving objects, basic decision-making abilities and concentration levels under monotonous circumstances. It can also be used in recruitment to narrow down large numbers of applicants for a job. 

It is a ‘risk detection and accident reduction tool’ - the Dover Tests identify candidates’ weak / problematic areas in their fundamental skills (which underlie their training on specific machines) candidates can receive appropriate training to improve their weak areas). This reduces accident potential, the cost of production losses, losses on equipment etc. 

It does not assess whether or not candidates can actually do the jobs for which they have been trained (such as driving a truck) – it is not a simulator program, but looks at the basic foundation skills upon which more specific skills can be built – Poor / weak areas indicate a potential risk in the specific skill area, it does not mean that candidates will definitely have an accident but rather that they are at greater risk of potentially having one. 

For example:

  • If a person has a cholesterol test done at the doctors, and their cholesterol is high, this means they are at greater risk of potentially having a heart attack in the future. It does not guarantee that they will, but they are at risk – their cholesterol is a basic risk factor that underlies, and can directly affect, the more specific / complex aspects of normal daily living. However, they do not stop doing normal things such as driving / going out (their lives do not stop because of this) – rather, they are now aware of their potential health risks and address these through changed diet, more exercise etc. 
  • In the same way, the Dover Tests assess underlying risk areas that could potentially affect a candidates performance – the candidate with risk / problematic areas can receive appropriate interventions such as training in order to improve problematic areas. These candidates are not suddenly unfit to do the specific jobs for which they have been trained / on which they have developed their expertise, they are just at greater risk of those identified poor areas affecting their future performance.

Problematic areas can be addressed through training (such as Rehacom or in-house programs). 

The testing system is Culture Fair – if administered properly, every step of each test gets explained by the administrator and the candidate need never have operated a computer before in order to do the test/s. Thus prior computer experience is not required as the administrator ideally controls the process. Even illiterate candidates can do the tests as the administrator ideally explains the basic concepts of the tests, then assists candidates with the standard practice examples before allowing them to continue – administrators control the assessment process, with candidates being required only to listen and respond to instructions. 

It does not take other factors that affect a candidates performance into account, such as physical illness, emotional factors (such as aggression) and other things such as drug / alcohol use (although indications of these may be apparent in the practice rounds for each test, the Dover assesses practical skills only). 

There is no available assessment tool that can completely eliminate ‘human error’, and many other factors can contribute to candidates having accidents – the Dover is very effective in accident reduction (as no industry will ever have accident-free candidate performance). 

It is only a part of the selection / assessment / recruitment process and should NOT be used on its own for hiring / retrenching etc – it needs to be used in conjunction with other procedures such as interviews, practical tests etc.

Please Note: regardless of a candidates overall score, any C/Poor area in the individual test scores needs to be considered as an area of potential skill risk

  • Candidates overall skills are assessed as being GOOD.
  • Candidates overall skills are assessed as being AVERAGE.
  • Candidates overall skills are assessed as being POOR/ PROBLEMATIC, and need to be improved such as through training. 

As far as re-testing is concerned, it is the companies prerogative to decide when to re-test candidates after the recommended 6-month period - based on their individual procedures and protocols, some companies do the Dover tests yearly with the annual medicals, others do them every 2 years. It is important to remember that various factors can affect a candidates performance (such as age-related factors, illness/medical conditions/diseases, substance/alcohol use etc), so leaving many years between testing periods may not be optimal. 



The 5 Main Tests

Determination Test (DT)

Determination Test (DT)

Multiple Stimuli Reaction Test

Measures identification and reaction to external stimuli- ideal for operator, driver, technical personnel, mining, manufacturing and aviation. Eye-hand-foot co-ordination and reaction time are variables.

This looks at basic reactive functioning, assuming how candidates will respond to stimuli in various environmental conditions. Candidates have to respond to visual and auditory stimuli, using eye-hand-foot co-ordination to accomplish this, in 3 types of conditions:

  • Normal conditions (eg: how the candidate responds to driving in normal traffic conditions, such as having to respond to stimuli like pedestrians and robot changes)
  • Crisis conditions (eg: how the candidate responds to stimuli in crises, such as the occurrence of a sudden nearby accident or other stress-related incident)
  • Crisis-recovery conditions (eg: how the candidate responds after the crisis is over and he/she has to return to normal levels of reactive functioning, such as getting around the accident and returning to responding to stimuli in normal driving conditions)

Cognitrone (COG)

Cognitrone (COG)

Attention and Spatial Perception

An essential test of shape recognition and attention. Ideal for mining, manufacturing, technical and transport

This looks at the candidates basic environmental shape recognition ability combined with basic decision-making ability (eg: the ability to recognize road signs, such as stop streets, and make appropriate decisions in time, such as to stop on time).

Signal Detection (SIGNAL)

Signal Detection (SIGNAL)

Visual Structuring, Glare Recovery and Visual Perceptual Field Identification

Concentration in routine conditions is measured. Assessment of visual field difficulties and recognition of light-dark changes can be assessed.

This looks at the candidate’s ability to maintain concentration and respond to environmental stimuli in routine or monotonous conditions (such as a long distance road trip or doing repetitive daily work).

Two-Hand Co-ordination

Two-Hand Co-ordination

Measures the Ability to Co-ordinate Movement and Determine Practical Learning Ability through Speed-accuracy Variables

Ideal for mining, construction operators crane drivers, transport mining and manufacture.

This looks at basic manual co-ordination using both hands together, focusing on speed and accuracy. Basic practical trainability potential (the assumed speed at which new hands-on skills can be learned / acquired) is also assessed.

Time movement anticipation (ZBA)

Time movement anticipation (ZBA)

Measurement of Time, Movement and Distance Estimation

The ability to estimate speeds and distance of moving objects. Ideal for the evaluation of the change of range and estimation of movement ability in any transport, mining and aviation.

This looks at the candidates ability to estimate both the speed and direction of moving objects, such as other vehicles on the road (eg: when having to turn in front of an oncoming vehicle, candidates need to be able to estimate how quickly, and in what direction, the vehicles is coming so that they can safely turn in front of it)