All Posts By

Frederick Mendler

How to Design Performance-Based Exam Questions

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Learn how to design performance-based exam questions and get your team and SMEs ready.

Transitioning from multiple choice question (MCQ) to performance-based certification (PBC) isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Tech leaders who have already made the switch —  Google, SUSE and Chef — are enjoying benefits like trustworthy channel-partner relationships, greater brand recognition and increased sales opportunities.

If you’re not a huge company, with an unlimited budget, one of your biggest challenges will be navigating the exam design process with minimal errors. Obviously, no small or medium-sized business wants to waste time, energy and resources on designing a mediocre certification exam.

The good news? Learning how to design performance-based exam questions is relatively straightforward. That’s because the process of creating PBC questions is surprisingly similar to that of MCQ.

However, there are some key differences certification managers should familiarize themselves with before getting started. In this article, we’ll outline what those things are and why they matter.

We’ll also discuss why mentally preparing subject matter experts (SMEs) early-on is vital to growing a successful certification program. Let’s get started:

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Get ready for performance-based certification

Get Ready for Performance-Based Certification: 5 Team Training Tips

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What a waste of time…  

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase after attending an employee training program, you’re not alone. Despite U.S. companies continually spending more money on training, 75 percent of respondents surveyed by McKinsey & Co. indicated such efforts did not improve employee performance.

The primary culprit? Marathon learning sessions that overload team members with information that is never revisited.

“Decades of research on knowledge retention has proven that fire-hose training events deliver astonishingly bad results,” says Forbes contributor Stephen J. Meyer. “The human brain simply wasn’t designed to learn this way.”

Obviously, software and platform certification managers aren’t designing typical employee training programs. However, they are responsible for educating team members on how these certifications fit into “the bigger picture.”

If you’re in the process of transitioning to performance-based certification (PBC), it’s imperative that you approach team member training with the same level of care as the exam development process. Your program’s ultimate success will directly correlate with how much key stakeholders understand its value.

Organizational leadership, team members and channel partners alike should feel comfortable articulating why PBC enhances the capabilities of platform users, how it works from a technological standpoint and how the exam benefits everyone involved.

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Multiple Choice Question Exams

Why PBA Is Better Than Multiple Choice Question Exams for Software and Platform Certification

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How knowledgeable are you when it comes to MCQ exams?

Would you win a round at trivia night, answering the following?

True or false:

  • The longest answer on an exam is usually the correct one.
  • Exam answers hardly ever repeat consecutively.
  • The answers “none of the above” and “all of the above” are correct responses on multiple choice question exams 52% of the time.

If you answered “true” for all of the above, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for being a big nerd! Regardless of your score, read on to learn why performance-based assessment excels where MCQ fails.

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Dispelling the Myths About Performance-Based Assessment

Dispelling the Myths About Performance-Based Assessment

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Expensive. Complicated. Time-consuming.

These are some common misconceptions held by software and platform companies considering Performance-Based Assessment (PBA).

What has motivated companies like Google, Elastic and Chef to make the switch in recent years, despite these misconceptions?

Instead of presenting candidates with only multiple-choice questions — that don’t accurately measure true ability — these organizations can now test users and channel-partners in real world environments that emulate actual project scenarios.

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Helping Google Power 30,000 Certifications in Africa

TrueAbility Powers Google’s Pledge to Certify 30,000 Developers in Africa

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Google recently announced plans to offer certification scholarships in support of its efforts to train and empower Africans to develop world class apps on Android, web, and cloud technologies. They’ll be training and certifying a generation of developers just as a global rollout of 5G networks is about to get underway. As you can imagine, this will undeniably spur a much-needed economic transformation in the region.

Interestingly enough, this announcement is also a milestone for the team here at TrueAbility. Because unbeknownst to many, TrueAbility is the performance-based delivery platform that’s powering two of the three certification programs announced by Google, namely the Android and Mobile Web Specialist certifications. So, Google’s announcement impacts us in three very important ways:

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Performance-Based Certification Program

How DIY Can Stall Your Performance-Based Certification Program

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Her toes were in the sand.

A piña colada was in her hand.

And Lauren wasn’t worried about a thing.  

This was the vacation she had needed — a complete break from tech troubleshooting, exam proctoring and certification grading.

Everything was going great until a blaring car alarm began to overpower the sound of the ocean waves. The noise became louder until Lauren opened her eyes and realized it was her cell phone.

She reached for the phone, looked at the clock and rolled her eyes as she read the time: It was 2 a.m. Her husband woke up and gave her that familiar look that said, “Is this seriously happening again? Please quit, and find a new job, so I can get some sleep.”

Lauren managed the certification program for a growing SaaS provider that had recently launched its first performance-based certification program. This was the third time this week she had awoken to a call from a test-taker halfway around the world.

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Software Performance-Based Assessment: Your Secret Weapon for Impressing IT Buyers

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Last week, you may have “met” Edward — the sales rep tasked with expanding his software company’s reach into APAC.

Despite the fact that Edward possessed more than a decade of SaaS experience, he was having trouble closing deals.

Interestingly, his disappointing conversion rate wasn’t due to poor product knowledge, distracting coworkers or lack of sleep; it actually stemmed from venturing into uncharted territory.

Last year, his organization surprised everyone when it quietly skyrocketed to $100M ARR. Suddenly, IT buyers of enterprise-level companies were contacting the sales rep with increasing frequency.

The problem?

These individuals were significantly more risk-averse than the decision-makers whom Edward was accustomed to working with.

Each lead peppered the sales rep with numerous questions in an attempt to answer one indirect question: Are you credible enough to ensure that MY organization will get what IT needs without fail?

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