At the heart of architectural profession regulation in the United States lies the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), a non-profit organization. To uphold the competency and professionalism of architects, NCARB conducts the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a series of tests evaluating candidates’ knowledge and skills required for architectural licensure.
In their quest to enhance the candidate experience and streamline the testing process, NCARB sought a solution that could seamlessly integrate with their existing systems and vendors, allowing candidates to remain within the NCARB ecosystem throughout their journey. Throughout this case study we highlight the partnership between NCARB and PSI, a leading global provider of assessment services, as both organizations collaborated to develop and implement a unique testing solution, creating flexible solutions that adapted unique requirements.
"Our candidates really liked the new user experience flow because it gave them more flexibility to come in and explore their testing options."
Vice President, Examination, NCARB
Before partnering with PSI, NCARB faced challenges in maintaining an entirely in-house solution that delivered a consistent and smooth candidate experience. NCARB had a multi-vendor testing integration for years with their previous test delivery vendor, alongside other vendors like Alpine Testing Solutions and Zoomorphix. The main objective of the project was to maintain this multi-vendor solution, with one partner for test delivery, another for test driver/item banking, and a third for candidate management and eligibility.
NCARB envisioned a more controlled and integrated process.
NCARB envisioned a more controlled and integrated process, enabling candidates to access all services within their platform, from eligibility requests to score reports. The primary goal was to enhance the candidate experience across all phases of the testing experience including scheduling, delivery, and score reporting for both online proctored and test center delivery. The key traits they sought in a testing vendor were openness, transparency, and collaboration, with a shared focus on providing a superior candidate experience
Following an in-depth analysis of the testing industry, NCARB partnered with PSI, drawn to their strong test center network and proven track record in online proctoring. This partnership led to the creation of a custom testing solution that flawlessly integrated with NCARB’s existing vendors.
The integration process involved close communication between the NCARB and PSI teams, ensuring seamless candidate scheduling and information exchange.
The primary aim was to establish a seamless connection with vendors through their API systems, allowing NCARB candidates to access all testing-related services within the NCARB ecosystem. This involved a multi-vendor approach, working together to establish common API protocols, ensuring data privacy and security.
Throughout the integration, technical challenges in syncing appointment scheduling across all vendors were met with open collaboration between NCARB and PSI, always prioritizing the candidate experience. Regular calls with IT teams from both organizations facilitated open communication and joint decision-making. Importantly, the integration process included allocated times for testing before implementation, allowing for the identification and resolution of issues, ensuring a seamless integration launch.
"NCARB and PSI partnered to conduct extensive testing during the integration process, both for online proctored delivery - with PSI’s live proctoring team - and for test center delivery - using a mini-test center inside NCARB’s office. This was tremendously valuable, allowing us to identify bugs and solve problems throughout the scheduling, delivery, and score reporting processes before going live with our candidates.”
Assistant Vice President, Examination, NCARB
"Our candidates are testing 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We deliver tests all around the globe with PSI. Enhancing candidates’ ability to log into our system and shop test options and times that fit their schedule was super positive. It allows candidates to find a date, time and delivery method that works for them before paying. They do it seamlessly in one system with one experience."
Vice President, Examination, NCARB
The testing partnership and flexible integration between NCARB and PSI yielded numerous significant benefits to their multi-vendor testing solution:
Maintained Multi-Vendor Integration: PSI successfully collaborated with NCARB’s existing vendors, resulting in a highly customized solution for NCARB’s candidates.
Enhanced Candidate Experience: NCARB’s candidates appreciated the user-friendly interface that enabled them to find, book, and modify test appointments conveniently. Flexibility in scheduling exams, even on weekends and holidays, greatly improved the overall testing experience.
In-House Testing Experience: The integration with PSI helped maintain a fully in-house testing experience for NCARB candidates, ensuring a consistent experience throughout their journey.