We can now Repurpose MCQ in a Performance-Based Exam
I am excited to share a couple the trends we are seeing from customers and industry insiders regarding how they want to consume performance-based assessment. In many ways, the future of performance-based assessment is still being defined, but some of what we have learned over the years represents a foundation for what performance-based assessment will become. We are careful not to assume too much and instead rely on data gathered from many conversations with customers and potential customers to guide our product roadmap. We speak with as many educators and corporate consumers as we can at conferences like ASU-GSV, the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) and one of our favorites, the Performance Testing Council (PTC). These events are important for engaging the front lines of industry trends and testing insights which always yield valuable input.
TrueAbility entered the skill assessment and certification markets as one of the first to offer Pure Performance-Based assessment – meaning that a person could demonstrate their skill and ability by performing real tasks in a live hands-on, computer environment. Customers that have certifications and talent assessments that only rely on candidates performing hands-on tasks, get a purview into their ability and skill. It’s true that performance-based assessment captures more of the desired educational objectives than Multiple-choice questions (MCQ) alone, but a key take-a-way over the last 18 months is that program managers love the flexibility and potential of a blended exam – that is, a hybrid of both traditional MCQ and performance-based test items in one exam – to capture a much larger set of educational objectives. Utilizing MCQ in a performance-based environment allows for quick implementation of a performance-based exam by allowing the use of existing test content. Further, asking a multiple-choice question with the answers found by performing a task in a live environment presents a new dynamic to skill assessment and testing that hasn’t been utilized in online exams before!
Another trend evident to anyone attending ATP or ASU-GSV in the last couple of years, is the increasing momentum of companies moving exams out of physical testing centers and allowing test takers to perform their work from anywhere around the world. This is beneficial to a certifying body in that it removes the geographical limitations and opens a larger potential market for those who may not have access to a test center location. Doing this creates a true global presence. Also, it eliminates the costs associated with leveraging a global physical test center contract. For Talent Assessment, recruiters can now evaluate a candidate’s hands-on skills before accumulating sunk costs involved in on-site interviewing. Operating in a global economy has tremendous value, and technology makes this trend possible. TrueAbility deploys exams regionally around the globe from data center partners like Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace Hosting, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure that exams are located close to the test taker for a high-value candidate experience. Test security and test-taker verification is still important. A significant reason for physical test centers is to ensure that candidates are who they claim to be, and to ensure integrity of the exam by limiting opportunity for cheating. Today, online remote test proctoring utilizes web cameras, microphones, screen sharing, mobile phone cameras, artificial intelligence, human proctors and strict guidelines to provide an equal or greater proctoring capability than traditional physical test centers, at a fraction of the cost.
Blending performance-based scenarios and multiple-choice questions open a new dimension to certification and skill assessment. Add to that the latest, enterprise technology in remote online proctoring and you start to see the future of assessment and testing and how exams will be administered going forward. Events like Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), ATP, PTC, and ASU-GSV are great ways to stay abreast of these trends as companies push for global dominance and their programs meet that desire.
Frederick “Suizo” Mendler is the CEO of TrueAbility and an advocate for the benefits performance-based assessment provide, such as objective data, elimination of cheating and test breach, elimination of bias and confirmation that a test-taker has real-skills. TrueAbility is a pioneer in applying the benefits of performance-based assessment to the computer working world. Using technology, TrueAbility can duplicate the actual work or classroom environment—with access to tools, documentation, and software, but in a controlled testing environment. In addition to pure performance-based assessment, TrueAbility is the first to introduce blended exams that combine performance-based assessment with multiple-choice questions. Multiple-Choice Questions, Performance-based Answers. Ask the question, with the answer found by performing a task in a live environment.