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Posted by: John Kleeman, Founder and Executive Director

The COVID-19 crisis is challenging for all organizations.  From remote working to online assessments, many are rapidly adapting by moving their operations online.  

Some test publishers and certification bodies have received calls to waive the testing requirements for certification or credentialing programs and educational qualifications. However, tests are there for good reason, to allow participants to demonstrate their skills and to gain certifications and qualifications that society values. There are many ways to deliver assessments fairly with remote test takers, so I suggest organizations resist such pressure to waive testing and let standards slip.  Instead, they should be making the case for continued testing and assessment in a Covid-19 world.

This was the central message from an Association of Test Publishers (ATP) virtual panel in which I recently joined Rob Waldron from Curriculum Associates, Marten Roorda from ACT, Alex Tong from ATA in China and Kelly Testy from the Law School Admission Council.

If you are interested in the event, you can see a recording here. These are my five key takeaways from what the panel discussed to help make the case for testing:

  1. Testing upholds the standards that makes education treasured: testing creates a level playing field which enables individuals to demonstrate their true potential, even if they are disadvantaged.

    What’s more, because testing allows organizations to genuinely measure skills and knowledge, it helps them to select candidates on merit, not just on who interviews well. 

    This is especially important in a COVID-19 world.  Testing and certification also helps ensure that people that have responsibility for life and limb are properly qualified.   

  2. Online proctoring empowers remote assessments: online proctoring is already widely used in IT certification.  Now many other organizations are now beginning to embrace it.  Across all sectors and industries, crucial credentialing or certification programs must continue.

    Online proctoring enables exams and tests to be taken remotely without compromising the security and the integrity of the assessment.

  3. Privacy is vital: organizations delivering remote assessments with online proctoring need to be transparent about privacy.  They should make it very clear that any data collected is only being used for the assessment and nothing else.

    For those that need guidance, the ATP has published a remote proctoring security bulletin on its website.

  4. Assessments help inform better decisions: organizations that are serious about getting the best out of their people and processes need to be serious about assessments.  That way employers and employees can learn, adapt and improve the decisions that matter the most.

    In the post-pandemic education sector, testing will help address the serious gaps in education that have arisen worldwide.  Assessments will play an important role in identifying those gaps and informing educators about what students know so learning is at the right level.  

  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate: we need to repeat the message that assessments are important because they level the playing field and allow individuals to demonstrate their true potential.  Assessments make a society’s allocation of people more efficient, allowing skilled people to flow to areas where they are needed and helping people learn new skills.

    Without assessments, we will fail to maintain standards and lack the information we need to make informed decisions.  As we come out of COVID-19, assessments can help make the world a better place.

We all have a role to play in ensuring that this message is widely communicated and understood.