The worlds of training, testing, & assessment are increasingly buffeted by changes in personal technology, content delivery, content security, and more. Rapid, new developments in these areas can add stresses to existing testing & training programs; and can quickly balloon into serious problems in everything from staff preparedness to security breaches.
How can you focus a QA program to increase effectiveness?
Different testing and training programs will obviously have different needs and nuances. But here at uExamS, we’ve found four key areas where focused attention can quickly identify any serious issues and provide the best returns in terms of risk mitigation.
Personal Technology & Allowable Devices
From smart watches to miniature eyeglass cameras, advances in personal technology have made highly sophisticated devices increasingly affordable and harder to detect, opening the potential for cheating or illicit recording of exam content. Within minutes, test questions can be exposed and shared online, potential destroying millions of dollars of value in test research, norming, etc.
We recommend a periodic QA program that involves “secret shopper” test takers attempting to bring banned technology into test locations. It’s a great way to stress test key chokepoints in your test administration (check-in, registration, etc.), as well as staff preparedness and vigilance.
Staff Knowledge & Professionalism
We now live in a customer-centric world. And with the proliferation of social media, mistakes and miscommunications are instantaneously broadcast to a global audience. High-stakes exams are high-stress environments and any administrative missteps can quickly snowball into public relations nightmares and undermine confidence with future test takers.
Effective QA programs uncover potential problem areas and provide specific feedback on corrective actions. QA experts can highlight gaps in staff knowledge, preparedness, or professionalism, as well as test every step of your test administration process—from registration & customer service to test sites and the exam day experience. This can be especially important as many test developers use third party organizations to administer their exams. With a rigorous quality assurance program in place, you can ensure that your third-party test administrators are meeting the service and policy requirements that you set out for them and are great representatives of your brand(s).
And despite its power to amplify the negative, social media can also provide rich PR rewards when an exam administration goes off flawlessly and your customer service is world class. A great QA program helps ensure that that happens.
Are your test takers who they say they are? Not only has technology made it easier to create fraudulent identification, large test administrations can often involve bottlenecks at check-in and registration. A QA program can ensure that a rush to get the test started doesn’t negatively impact your focus on security and secure identification checking.
With new understandings of learning disabilities and trauma-related injuries, many test providers have seen significant increases in the number of accommodation requests from test takers; and many have been caught unprepared for this increase. With ADA regulations, as well as increased awareness and expectations surrounding test accommodations, it’s vital that exam administrators have effective and quality-assured programs in place to meet test takers’ needs and expectations, as well as mitigate legal risk.
At uExamS, we uniquely combine QA testing with Accessibility Consulting to rigorously test existing accommodations programs, as well as provide the expert guidance and recommendations to ensure the highest quality, the best service, and legal & regulatory standards.
A Testing Program is Only as Good as its QA Safeguards
Technology, the increasing use of third-party test administrators, and rising test taker expectations all bring added risk to exam administrations. By integrating a regular, outside QA assessment into your testing program, you’ll ensure gaps and potential issues are identified and remediated early. Professional QA is a foundational ingredient for the continuing success of any testing or training program. Don’t get caught short.
Interested in learning more? Read more about uExamS QA Programs and our methodology.