Dover Testing

Basic Information

The Dover System of testing is an Austrian-developed testing concept. It is marketed / distributed in South Africa as the Dover test / Vienna Test.

This Form of Psychometric Skill Testing was introduced to South Africa in Approximately 1982 to the mining community and since then South African norms have been developed.

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.

An objective evaluation / assessment of required skills and reaction abilities is based on the objective scoring of item response – the risk of tester bias is reduced as objective manual-based scoring is conducted

What it is used for

The Dover is used as a competency measurement tool e.g.: to enhance operator safety, performance and productivity in mining, industrial and transport industries. It does not assess whether or not candidates can actually do their jobs for which they have been trained (i.e.: it does not emulate actual machines used in the industrial field) – rather, it acts as a ‘risk detection and accident reduction tool’ by identifying candidates weak areas in their fundamental skills (which then underlie their training on specific machines) and to correlate people to the specifics of te required job (candidates can receive appropriate training to improve their weak areas). This reduces accident potential, the cost of production losses, losses on equipment etc.

The Dover Explores a multitude of necessary fundamental practical skills, so it is comprehensive e.g.: eye-hand-foot co-ordination, auditory discrimination, visual perception, speed / direction estimation of moving objects, decision-making abilities and concentration levels under monotonous circumstances.

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.

Summary of Conducted Tests

1) Determination Test (DT) – This looks at the 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

a) Normal Conditions (e.g.: how the candidate responds to driving in normal traffic, such as having to respond to signals such as robot changes).

b) Crisis Conditions (e.g.: how the candidate responds to crisis, such as a sudden nearby accident or other stress-related incident).

c) Crisis-recovery Conditions (e.g.: how the candidate responds after the crisis is over and he/she has to return to normal levels of reactive functioning).

2) Time Movement Anticipation (ZBA) – This looks at the candidate’s ability to estimate both the speed and direction of moving objects, such as other vehicles on the road (e.g.: when having to turn in front of an oncoming vehicle, candidates need to be able to estimate how quickly, and in what direction, the vehicle is coming).
3) 2-Hand Co-ordination (2HAND) – 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.
4) Signal Detection (SIGNAL) – This looks at the candidate’s ability to maintain concentration and respond to environmental stimuli in routine or monotonous conditions (such as long-distance road trip or doing repetitive work daily).
5) Cognitrone (COG) – This looks at the candidates’ basic environmental shape recognition ability combined with basic decision-making ability (e.g.: the ability to recognise road signs, such as stop streets, and make appropriate decisions in time, such as to stop on time).


These tests are different to most other available tests in South Africa as they interactively assess practical skills, using specialized keyboard and foot pedals, where candidates have to react physically in response to stimuli. Most other tests use 2D images or verbal concepts, either in pencil-paper format or on computer screens.
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