New York Fire Department Testing Success

Case Study

New York Firefighters High-Stakes Assessment Delivery

Breakthrough Technologies, PSI Services, and FDNY Deliver For New York Public Safety

In 2010, a federal judge ruled that the applicant exam taken by prospective firefighters for the city of New York was discriminatory. Informed by this, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) prepared its high-stakes adult assessment with PSI Services and Breakthrough Technologies, their technology partner.

To keep one of the world’s greatest cities staffed with qualified firefighter candidates, California-based PSI Services, a leader in the adult licensure and assessment industry, administered an inclusive and progressive firefighter exam that would both comply with the FDNY’s new mandate and help identify candidates for the ranks of the city’s courageous public servants.

42,161: total number of tests taken

19,260: test-takers who identify as minorities

130%: the increase in minority test-takers over the previous exam

1,952: the number of women who took the test

1,788: the combined total number of women who took the three firefighter exams
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"The new test brings together an unprecedented level of exam research and technology to successfully meet the challenges faced by the City of New York."
John Weiner, PSI Chief Science Officer

Dependable Delivery Under the Scrutiny of the City of New York

Breakthrough Technologies extended PSI’s existing test driver, incorporating new content such as multimedia formats, innovative item types, video hot spots, and other materials to assess the creative thinking of adult applicants. The result: a stable, proctored, and secure high-stakes assessment.

Diversity has been a top priority for the FDNY over the last decade, and a user-friendly and advanced platform was just what was required. PSI and Breakthrough Technologies worked together to create a seamless blend of testing material and system that’s simple, secure, and above all, fair for a diverse population of adult test-takers. If that weren’t enough of a perk: modern delivery meant no more paper and pencil. 

“We have hired more than 1,400 outstanding firefighters who performed well on the exam, and will continue to use the civil-service list from that test.” – FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon