As Certification Take Rates Rise, Performance-based Exams Increase Certification Value

Experiential Testing

Hands-on or Performance testing is a no-brainer for organizations that seek to differentiate by increasing fidelity of their certification program.

The message is loud and clear that “certification matters.”  As reported by Global Knowledge in their 2021 IT Skills and Salary report, 76% of IT decision-makers experience critical skills gaps on their teams, a 145% increase since 2016. On the flip side, 80% reported benefits of certification including faster performance, higher engagement, and better work outcomes. Today, more hiring managers are seeking applicants with certifications to fill in-demand roles.

Not only are certifications important, but so is the type of certification. At TrueAbility we often tout the fact that not all certifications are created equal. We base this on how many educational objectives an exam captures, if the exam is prone to test breach (cheating) and if the test-taker can demonstrate real skills.

“Show what you know by doing”

When offering a certification, designing it to include test items that prove not only what an individual “knows”, but what they can “do”, provides the highest value by allowing the candidate to show proficiency in the subject matter. Additionally, a typical performance-based exam can capture all six educational objectives in Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. As an added bonus, the opportunity to cheat is eliminated when a test candidate must prove their skills in a real environment.

The IT and Software industry has moved to embrace implementing high-fidelity, hands-on performance-based certifications and TrueAbility has developed technology in a platform that provides obvious benefits, including:

Scaling – exams that don’t take advantage of technology and automation will struggle to grow.

Remote Delivery + Global Reach – exam candidates are everywhere, and not always within reach of a physical testing center. Offering an online exam with remote proctoring means your candidate can securely take an exam from anywhere that’s convenient for them.

Emulation – Using a live virtual environment, with the real software and tools an exam candidate might use on the job, the exam is as real as it gets.

Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) – Software changes often. Technology is constantly improved. When it does, a certification can not suddenly become obsolete.  TrueAbility’s CI/CD features ensure that your exam is updated and as current as you want it to be.

Some examples of companies that have adapted their certifications to performance-based are:

Amazon AWS
Ping Identity
Linux Foundation
Financial Modeling Institute
Red Hat
National Instruments
Intuit QuickBooks
Society of Actuaries
Node.JS Foundation

Exams built with TrueAbility can leverage performance-based scenarios and traditional test items to provide a comprehensive measure of a candidate’s genuine knowledge, skills and abilities. If you’d like to learn more about TrueAbility’s platform, please contact us at