The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education Leverages the Value of Test Content

Background

The CareerTech Testing Center at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education (ODCTE) maintains a system of competency assessments that enable students in CareerTech programs to demonstrate their mastery of knowledge related to their chosen occupation.

Scenario

The testing center offers more than 100 multiple-choice exams covering a variety of occupational areas. It currently sells and administers tests both in-state and nationally, delivering more than 90,000 assessments each year to proctored sites across Oklahoma and throughout the United States.

The tests include:

  • Program exams and high-stakes certification examinations (including nurse aide, medical micro-pigmentation, and home care administrator)
  • Technical Skills Assessments in Agriculture, Health, Business & Information Technology, Trade & Industrial, Marketing, and Family & Consumer Sciences.
  • The National Health Science Assessment and the National Law, Public Safety, Security and Corrections Core Assessment.
  • Tests for student organizations and competitive events (HOSA, Skills USA, etc.)

Switching to Online Tests

ODCTE has come a long way from the days when it administered all of its occupational exams using scan sheets, which were then mailed to the CareerTech Testing Center for scanning and scoring. Starting in 2002, the center began working with Questionmark to administer online tests in proctored environments to educational institutions statewide. The switch to online tests enabled the testing center to administer tests in many different environments including competitions for CareerTech student organizations. Other states began taking an interest in the center, which began partnering with high schools, community colleges and skills centers in different parts of the country.

Selling Tests to Out-of-state Customers

ODCTE has worked together with Questionmark to find efficient ways to distribute tests to its growing family of customers, which at this writing includes government, education, and industry partners in 23 other states. Using Questionmark Technologies for Selling Tests and QuestionmarkOnDemand, ODCTE can provide tests to a wide array of out-of-state customers.

Customers purchase tests from ODCTE’s catalog, and then fill out a testing agreement and a roster template and an instructor worksheet. Information about the instructor, students and test schedule are loaded into a dashboard customized for ODCTE by Questionmark’s consulting team. The dashboard can then be used to create students’ accounts, schedule tests and arrange for statistical reports on test results.

Each test is categorized in the dashboard and promoted by ODCTE on its own content management system. Once a roster is set up in the dashboard, local test center administrators can manually add students and run reports to view overall assessment data and topic-level student reports.

Flexible Administrative Tools

. ODCTE Assessment Specialist Jennifer Lathem, who oversees the day-to-day technical aspects of delivering tests, appreciates having flexible tools for delivering tests and reporting on the results.

“The custom dashboard that Questionmark created for us allows us to easily catalog our tests, push the content to our partners and give them the support that they need to deliver the tests in their test centers,” Lathem explains. Using the dashboard, ODCTE can also select Questionmark reports for local administrators to run on their tests results. Item analysis and question statistics reports help pinpoint any problematic questions, which test center staff then review and revise as needed.

Round-the-Clock Hosting

ODCTE delivers the tests to other states 24/7 using Questionmark’s OnDemand hosting services. This frees the testing center from concerns about hardware, power supplies and system maintenance. This arrangement has also made it possible to drastically increase the number of tests ODCTE delivers.

Jennifer Nuttle, assessment manager at ODCTE, says the scalability of hosting tests at Questionmark’s data center is essential.

“Questionmark OnDemand has given us the infrastructure and technical support we needed in order to administer a large number of tests throughout the US,” says Nuttle. “We a ’t have handled this kind of growth on our local servers, but the strong hosting infrastructure has allowed us to be just about anywhere.”

Saving Time and Money

Browser-based, collaborative authoring via Questionmark Live and the ability to delivering tests from a centralized base make for a cost-effective solution.


“It used to be that a lot of these organizations had to send their employees or students away to take various assessments, but now with travel budgets being slashed we give them the ability to administer their tests in their own states, in their own test centers,” explains Nuttle. “Questionmark Live has helped us as we create tests for our national partners; we can involve national committees in creating strong test questions without having to travel and be in one room to work together.”

Future Expansion

Having established a solid foundation and attracted clients who wish to buy and administer tests in their own tests centers, ODCTE is looking forward to continued growth.


“We’ve invested in a sound new system and now we have the ability and the confidence to be able to support all of the growth that we foresee,” Nuttle explains. “Questionmark is allowing us to focus on standardizing the way we do business so that we can focus on growth while helping organizations effectively do more with less.”