Dispelling the Myths About Performance-Based Assessment

Dispelling the Myths About Performance-Based Assessment

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.

Essentially, the new technology is a win-win for providers and test-takers alike: users and partners can now demonstrate their knowledge from the comfort of their own web browsers and providers can now assess their skill levels with infallible accuracy.

Based on our experience, performance-based assessment often translates to trustworthy channel-partner relationships, increased enterprise sales, enhanced credibility and happier customers.

Unfortunately, many SMBs aren’t yet enjoying these benefits due to understaffing, lack of knowledge and budgetary constraints. And, while some ambitious certification managers do manage to cobble together homemade PBAs, they often run into unanticipated problems post-launch.

Challenges in registration, proctoring, delivery and grading force maxed out employees to balance competing responsibilities of managing and scaling programs. Then, stakeholders wonder why their company’s certification programs aren’t growing faster!

This is the dilemma we found Lauren in at the Association of Test Publishers Innovations in Testing conference. Not only was she consistently awoken at 2 a.m. with troubleshooting questions, but she also spent several hours grading exams and “retraining” subject matter experts in exam design each week.

However, that all changed when Lauren convinced her company to partner with TrueAbility. We provided her organization with 24/7 dedicated tech support, advanced proctoring and latency-free global delivery so Lauren was free to focus on what mattered most: Building new exams and expanding the certification program to new regions. Oh, and we also implemented a high-tech, automated grading solution that made Lauren think she actually might be able to take that beach-side vacation she had been dreaming about.

Lauren’s only complaint? She wished she had enlisted TrueAbility’s help before she went $40,000 over budget collaborating with an overseas development team. Here’s what we might have suggested had Lauren found us earlier:

How to Transition to Performance-Based Assessment with Minimal Risk

After talking with Lauren, and understanding her certification requirements, we would have recommended beginning with a Proof-of-Concept (POC).

This would involve transforming a small, pre-existing MCQ exam into a performance-based assessment for a reasonable fee. Depending on her company’s preferences, our recommended POC would follow one of the following formats:

  • Low Stakes Performance-Based Qualification Exam: A 100% time-bound PBA exam with minimal proctoring.
  • High Stakes Performance-Based Certification Exam: A 100% time-bound PBA exam with robust proctoring.
  • Hybrid Exam: A mixture of PBA and MCQ testing with robust proctoring tailored for both exam types.

While PBA-based POCs are the best option for companies seeking the immediate benefits of performance-based assessment, hybrid exams are the best option for companies wanting to mitigate the risks of transition. If you’re anticipating potential backlash from channel-partners, customers and users who are accustomed to MCQ exams, hybrid exams are a reliable way to changeover to PBA. They are also easier to produce considering that less exam material need be adapted.

Hybrid exams can either consist of a). PBA combined with knowledge-based questions or b). PBA combined with MCQ that leverage live environments in order to obtain answers.

At this point, you may be wondering: Why is building a POC with TrueAbility more affordable than going DIY?

The answer is simple: We’ve already built the world’s best platform for performance-based certification that can be customized to meet any tech company’s needs.

TrueAbility is on a mission to make performance-based assessment convenient, scalable and accessible for today’s emerging tech leaders. If that’s you, we should talk. Feel free to give us a call at 877-461-8702.


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TrueAbility is on a mission to make performance-based assessment convenient, scalable and accessible for today’s emerging tech leaders. If that’s you, we should talk.

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Performance Matters

Performance issues during your PBA-based exams is a recipe for failure. Your growing success eventually leads to frustrated users, refunds, and the type of negative word-of-mouth marketing that can kill your certification program.

Delivering a remarkable exam experience anywhere in the world is challenging, but we can help. Download our guide to understand what it takes to ensure that your certification program succeeds, even in the face of unprecedented demand.

Avoiding Test Day Latency: Preventing Internet Interruption for Performance-Based Assessment (PBA)