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An Interview with Dr. Isabelle Gonthier: A Fresh Perspective on Psychometrics at PSI

October 29, 2021

PSI is proud to welcome Dr. Isabelle Gonthier to the organization as Senior Vice President of Assessment Services. She brings with her over 20 years of industry experience in both the licensing and certification space. She is actively involved with groups like the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE) and the Association of Testing Publishers (ATP). We recently sat down with Isabelle to learn about what attracted her to the business in the first place and where she sees it going in the future.Isabelle

What initially drew you to the credentialing world?

Always an interesting question! I don’t think a lot of people grow up wanting to be a psychometrician or an assessment professional, as it seems to be somewhat of a foreign concept for a lot of people outside of our industry. My background is in experimental psychology with a heavy emphasis on statistics and research methods. My first job was in a testing organization where I discovered the world of credentialing. I was immediately quite taken by the industry, considering the importance of valid, reliable, rigorous, and defensible assessments to confirm competence in critical professions like nursing, engineering, and financial planning just to name a few. Working with professionals in various domains was eye opening. Being able to provide guidance and expertise in the development and administration of valid and reliable assessments while contributing to the overall mission of the credentialing organization was very rewarding.

What are you most passionate about?

People and connections. This is so important as people are what makes our industry vibrant, innovative, and resilient. I love being engaged within the industry and I have found that getting involved in committees and initiatives is one of the greatest ways to give back to our professional community and make great connections. And while the world of assessment is very traditional, it is also very innovative – what a paradox! We have had to adapt to a lot of changes over the years, especially over the past 18 months. It is amazing to see how the credentialing industry has come together to ensure continuity. We have assisted each other in identifying and implementing solutions to keep testing candidates, helping them to progress in their career goals, and, ultimately, keep the world going .

What do you find is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with talented individuals, whether it is team members, clients, industry friends, or colleagues. I love what we do and how we connect with one other, wanting to support and grow our industry as well as our credentialing community. I love engaging with people, discussing challenges and potential solutions, sharing innovative ideas, discussing standards and best practices, and learning from our diverse group of professionals.

The pandemic brought on challenges for so many industries. What would you say are the biggest challenges we saw in the testing space, and what did we learn from them?

Although remote proctoring was a modality available and used prior to the pandemic, there was a huge pivot to that modality over the last 18 months to ensure continuity for credentialing programs. We learned a lot as a result and were able to gather more data on comparability, which was extremely useful as we continue to deliver secure examinations through different modalities. The pandemic also generated a lot of pressure on programs as to the need and requirements for specific tests. This led to a lot of time and effort spent on defining the value and importance of testing. We are constantly challenged as an industry and we need to continue to collaborate. Using data to inform our decisions and actions will enable us to maintain the necessary assessment rigor while also ensuring accessibility.

What changes have you seen implemented in the last 18 months? Do you anticipate that those changes are here to stay?

Remote work, remote learning, remote proctoring. Our flexibility and ability to adapt to a remote environment from all angles was critical to allow for continuity and sustainability. Remote learning and remote proctoring are vital for continuity. Keeping up with the continued evolution of technology offerings is critical while also considering the flexibility of those offerings (multi-modal/hybrid). This is the “new world” and hybrid is the new reality not only for testing but for meetings and continued collaboration.

Where do you see the industry going from here?

We need to continue to focus on innovation and leverage the technology available to us both from an exam development and delivery perspective. We need to push our limits to consider different ways of testing that utilize different assessment types, formats, and processes while leveraging the technological innovations and data available to us.

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Dr. Isabelle Gonthier Dr. Isabelle Gonthier is the Senior Vice President of Assessment Services at PSI. She has been highly engaged in the testing and credentialing industry for nearly 20 years. Most recently, she has held the position of Chief Assessment Officer for Meazure Learning (Yardstick-ProctorU) where she oversaw and provided strategic direction for all aspects of the professional credentialing business, including psychometrics, exam development, and business development. Isabelle was the President and COO of Yardstick Assessment Strategies for three years before the company became Meazure Learning.