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ATP SESSION PREVIEW: Disruptions in Practice Testing

February 13, 2018

Historically, many certification organizations took a hands-off approach to practice tests and other types of preparatory material. Whether due to accreditation standards interpretation or perception reasons, many credentialing bodies left these types of products solely in the hands of their sister membership associations or training providers. This space is changing, however. Most credentialing bodies now offer practice tests, with some offering more robust suites of preparatory products including courses, mobile apps, and more.

At this year’s Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Innovations in Testing conference, I will be hosting a fishbowl session on disruptions in practice testing, joined by Joshua Hester, a testing industry colleague. The practice testing space is experiencing continued disruption from several sources. Our discussion will focus on several areas:

  • First, the adoption of mobile technology meant that organizations needed to think of innovative ways to deliver content to examinees. This has resulted in the creation of apps, with questions, flashcards, and more. “Question a day” SMS messaging is one innovative method.
  • Second, the growth of crowdsourcing has led organizations to experiment with these methods as a way of generating content for practice purposes – while also being wary of those who may be using these environments to illicitly share actual test content. Similarly, online study groups can provide a great study environment for examinees, but can also result in misinformation and violations of candidate agreements.
  • Third, the growth of different forms of testing, ranging from adaptive to performance testing, challenges the traditional multiple choice based practice test. Organizations have had to find creative ways to deliver practice tests with sufficient parallels to the actual exam, while protecting these delivery mechanisms.
  • Fourth and finally, big data analytics provides credentialing bodies with many data points on their candidates. These can allow organizations to better analyze differences in candidates, and can be used to serve up customized training recommendations, among others.

Come and join us at our ATP session on Monday, February 19th, from 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., where we will explore these topics and more, using the fishbowl session format. This format allows the full group of attendees at the session to participate in the conversation, adding their own experiences to benefit the full group. Learn more and share how the practice test space is evolving for you and your organization!

Rory McCorkle, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President of Certification at PSI.  Contact him at rmccorkle@psionline.com, or by phone at 818.847.6180.

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Lisa Halter


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