Interior suppresses spelling as an exclusive selection test within the “improvements” in its process of accessing the body
The General Directorate of the Police has updated the rules that regulate the bases of the calls for admission to the body and among them is the elimination of spelling as an exclusive selection test. This part of the examination to which the applicants are subjected had been highly criticized by the police unions, who denounced “anomalies” in it.
In this way, future candidates will no longer have to undergo a specific test to assess their knowledge of the correct use of the Spanish language, both in terms of spelling and punctuation. However, the new regulations specify that, despite excluding this type of test, the court may assess this matter within the knowledge test. So misspellings could somehow complicate the final result of the test.
In any case, the controversy over the spelling tests to enter the Police come from afar. They have not only affected the examinees, but also the examiners. And it is that after the 2015 exams, the cascade of faults committed by the court itself of the institution’s Training and Improvement Division, the criticism of the applicants and various language specialists meant that the Ministry of the Interior itself had to cancel part of this exam to try to avoid an avalanche of challenges, which threatened to block the public tender.
It all happened on May 30, 2015. Thousands of applicants to get one of the 259 places called for the basic scale of the Police faced one of the most feared tests of the opposition, along with physical and psychotechnical tests: the test of knowledge in which -in addition to legal, social or technical questions- there was a spelling test. The applicants had 25 minutes to identify the misspellings of a hundred different sentences.
This test is traditionally considered the revenge of the ‘nerds’ applicants against the ‘athletes’ and served to level the scale between the two ‘sides’. But this time the surprise jumped. Many of the higher graduates, among whom there was a philologist, ‘punctured’ incomprehensibly on the spelling. And all, apparently, by excess and not by default. That is, they saw more errors than there were in theory.
But only in theory. When the Police published the applied correction template, the mystery was revealed. The court in his test had included, without even realizing it, numerous misspellings, which did not count when correcting the exam. Moreover, they deducted points. From the laughter the opponents immediately passed to anger and to organize themselves to challenge the test. The matter reached two of the then largest unions in the body, the SUP and the UFP, which reported the case to the Training Division.
errors of all kinds
The lace to the Ministry of the Interior was given by Desafío Ñ, a group of specialists and philologists who defend the proper use of Spanish and who made an exhaustive report on the exam. The study, based on the rules published by the RAE, revealed that the correction template used by the Police contained up to 37 misspellings.
According to Desafío Ñ, the errors were of all kinds. Misuse of colons, excessive use of commas between the subject and the predicate, syntactic incoordination between sentences, accents in terms that take them to us, lack of temporal concordance, words already integrated by the RAE in Spanish and that the police still does not recognize, confusion about the meaning of words and, above all, the ruthless abuse of the use of capital letters for names that are not official such as “State Security Forces and Bodies.” Faults everywhere, and that Desafío Ñ said to have been benevolent in his report, in which he did not count as errors “aspects of the exam that we consider may be interpretable.”
Given the forcefulness of the report, the Ministry of the Interior had no choice but to rectify. Thus, he officially informed the police unions that he had canceled twelve of the questions of the spelling test and three more of the knowledge test due to his own faults.
Another example of the orthographic controversy in the entrance exams to the National Police Corps occurred in 2017. In that call, the Interior also annulled the spelling test due to its complexity. This consisted of identifying for eight minutes which words from a list of one hundred were correctly written. As the SUP denounced at the time, the selection of words for the exam included terms that “are never used in police work and are reserved for scholars.”