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Frederick Mendler

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

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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

PRESS RELEASE: TrueAbility Introduces Worldwide Partner Program to Accelerate Access to Validating Employability

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Strategic program allows partners to bundle existing certification and talent assessment programs with TrueAbility’s performance-based assessment solutions to help enterprise organizations better verify knowledge and skills through real-world emulated testing

TrueAbility, the hub for validating employability for the future workforce, today announced the worldwide availability of its partner program. The new program is designed to help partners expand their footprint by packaging existing products with TrueAbility’s solutions to deliver performance-based assessments to enhance skill verification through unbiased real-world testing environments. Armed with a comprehensive offering, partners can help enterprise organizations remove the skills gap and empower employability to retain a strong digital workforce.

“Our partners are an integral part of the TrueAbility community, and we strive to help them innovate their offerings to better service their clients,” said Frederick Mendler, CEO, TrueAbility. “With skills as the currency for hiring the best talent, TrueAbility is aiming to help bridge the skills gap by giving access to performance-based testing for customers worldwide regardless of location or structure. Working together with our partners moves us one step closer in this mission.”

Large certification, training and talent assessment partners are able to white label or refer the TrueAbility platform within their customized products to create scalable, high fidelity live environments for demonstrating and measuring hands-on skill. The program offers partners access to an array of resources for success including collaborative demos, sales collateral, and training. At completion of training, partners have the opportunity to take an exam to become a TrueAbility Certified Sales Partner.

Current partners include PSI, Prometric, PearsonVue, Examity, Credly, Alpine Testing Solutions, Hale Associates, and others.

“With events over the past 12 months having instigated a major shift for companies to adapt to a remote workforce, they are also now faced with the challenge of how to securely and accurately evaluate candidates and employees. Online proctoring has emerged as the primary technology employers are turning to for these assessment needs,” stated SVP of Certification, Rory McCorkle, PSI. “Partnering with TrueAbility allows us to further improve the security and reliability of high stakes assessment and certification programs for our customers and their candidates. Our long-established integration with TrueAbility for performance-based testing means we can develop more customized solutions for our clients that are fair and balanced.”

TrueAbility recently announced its integrated partnership with Prometric to provide performance-based exams to leading credentialing and licensure organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies around the world.

Visit TrueAbility to learn more about performance-based assessment offerings. Like TrueAbility on Facebook, follow on Twitter @TrueAbility.

About TrueAbility
TrueAbility is validating employability for the 21st century workforce. The company aims to be the de facto platform for IT certification and digital skill assessment, proving an individual can do the job, in the most sought-after fields. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit

PRESS RELEASE: TrueAbility and Prometric Partner to Deliver Fully Integrated Performance-Based Assessments

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Collaboration between industry leaders expands access to testing programs incorporating live, emulated environments to verify professional skills and abilities

San Antonio, Texas (December 7, 2020) – TrueAbility®, the hub for validating employability for the future workforce, and Prometric®, a global leader providing end-to-end assessment services, have formed an integration partnership to provide performance-based exams to leading credentialing and licensure organizations, academic institutions and government agencies around the world. The partnership leverages unparalleled technological capabilities to create enhanced value for current and prospective customers worldwide.

“Prometric recognizes the significant value that the TrueAbility solution offers the performance-based assessment market,” said Prometric Chief Client Officer, Sean Burke. “Integration of the TrueAbility platform into the Prometric Assessment System enables IT certification and other test sponsors to greatly expand secure, reliable access to their testing programs through in-center and remote assessment delivery.”

TrueAbility’s performance-based platform gives customers a high-fidelity means to verify and measure a person’s proficiency level in digital skills through demonstration in a real work environment as proof and validation of knowledge and ability. The integration with Prometric gives test sponsors the added flexibility to create exams in multiple assessment formats including performance-based with multiple-choice questions (MCQ), furthering the enhancement of the testing experience.

“Accelerated by recent events, companies are embracing a ‘remote first’ workforce,” said Frederick Mendler, CEO, TrueAbility. “Without traditional in-person interviews to confirm employability skills, companies must rely on objective assessments such as certifications. With Prometric, we are able to expand our global footprint to reach enterprise organizations who need an accurate and cost-effective way to verify software and technology skills like they’ve never been able to do before. This partnership validates the value of hands-on assessments, and together we look forward to continuing to increase the value of certification.”

About Prometric
Prometric, a global leader in test development, test delivery, and candidate services, enables test sponsors worldwide to advance their credentialing programs through test development and delivery solutions that set the standard in quality and service excellence. Prometric offers a comprehensive and reliable approach to advising, developing, managing and delivering programs in an integrated, technology-enabled environment across the world’s most secure testing network, including 14,000 locations in more than 180 countries or through the conveniences of online assessment services. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @PrometricGlobal and

About TrueAbility
TrueAbility is validating employability for the 21st century workforce. The company aims to be the de facto platform for IT certification and digital skill assessment, proving an individual can do the job, in the most sought-after fields. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit

PRESS RELEASE: Pearson VUE and TrueAbility Announce Partnership Agreement

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Strategic partnership integrates solutions to provide performance-based assessments that deliver flexible, all-in-one testing for worldwide customers

(SAN ANTONIO, TX) – March 31, 2020 – Pearson VUE, the leader in computer-based testing, today announced a multi-year Master Services Agreement with TrueAbility®, a leading performance-based assessment platform that certifies today’s workforce.  TrueAbility’s platform will allow Pearson VUE to deliver innovative certification exams focusing on performance-based assessments while also improving efficiency and streamlining exam operations.

“This agreement with TrueAbility will help us deliver a fully integrated and globally scalable performance-based certification program,” said Bob Whelan, president of Pearson Assessments. “While our Pearson VUE-Certiport group has a rich history of successfully delivering millions of performance-based lab exams over the years, with TrueAbility as a partner, we’re now in a position to give our customers an expanded, one-stop-shop experience with cutting-edge technology.”

Through the integration of TrueAbility’s performance-based assessment platform into Pearson VUE’s test delivery technology, Pearson VUE clients gain the ability to ensure that their candidates can accurately demonstrate their competencies and skills in a real-world environment.

Capable of supporting the wide range of certification program needs across industries, test sponsors can now assess candidates’ abilities by using profession-specific applications and environments through the performance-based testing platform. The integrated solution also enables test sponsors to create stand-alone performance-based exams, or exams that combine performance-based testing with knowledge-based questions, using all of the test design features and flexibility the Pearson VUE platform is known for.

“Performance-based assessment captures more educational objectives than any other assessment method alone by allowing an individual to engage in a live environment to perform real-world tasks,” states Frederick Mendler, CEO of TrueAbility. “As the demand for performance-based assessment increases, TrueAbility is excited to partner with Pearson VUE, a recognized industry leader, to deliver a unified candidate experience.”

About Pearson VUE

Pearson VUE has been a pioneer in the computer-based testing industry for decades, delivering more than 16 million certification and licensure exams annually in every industry from academia and admissions to IT and healthcare. We are the global leaders in developing and delivering high-stakes exams via the world’s most comprehensive network of nearly 20,000 highly secure test centers in 180 countries. Our leadership in the assessment industry is a result of our collaborative partnerships with a broad range of clients, from leading technology firms to government and regulatory agencies. For more information, please visit

About TrueAbility
TrueAbility is validating employability for the 21st century workforce. The company aims to be the de facto platform for IT certification and digital skill assessment, proving an individual can do the job, in the most sought-after fields. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit



Performance-Based Certification Program

The #1 Obstacle to the Success of Your Performance-Based Certification Program

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It was 2AM. After another late night call with a frustrated exam taker in APAC, Jim rubbed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. 

Jim was really worried about the future of his company’s performance-based certification program. Everything seemed to be unravelling at once after a great initial launch in North America. 

As Jim and his small team began to expand the program to Europe and Asia, so too did the support issues related to the delivery of their exams. Network latency, software defects, misconfigured exam environments, challenges with remote proctoring, and a host of other issues were putting an enormous strain on his team. They were up at all hours of the night dealing with unhappy users, which affected their ability to create new exams and market the program. 

The stakes were personally high for Jim too. He had advocated for transitioning the company’s certification program to performance-based exams in order to make the exams more meaningful. He was also the one who decided to build the exam delivery platform in-house.

As the night wore on, Jim began to wonder if the time had come to find a partner to help him deliver and support his performance-based exams. He also wondered if such a company even existed.

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Scale Your Performance-Based Certification Program

How to Scale Your Performance-Based Certification Program

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Subject: Refund Request.

The words practically jumped off Janet’s monitor.

Since launching her organization’s performance-based certification (PBC) program, the certification manager had received more unhappy emails than she cared to admit. The irony? 

The complaints weren’t because there was anything wrong with the program itself. Janet, and her lean team of two coworkers, spent 16 months developing a quality PBC program

In fact, the team went over budget after outsourcing a UX professional, devops engineer and cyber security engineer to leave no stone unturned. Unfortunately, Janet was now dealing with a problem she had never anticipated: Growing pains. 

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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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