Test security and test taker experience
A guide for your finance certification programs.
There’s a huge array of options for test takers in the finance certification market – for instance financial planners, accountants, analysts, consultants and risk professionals. What’s more, finance certifications have seen significant growth in recent years as professionals seek to enhance their skills, credibility, and career prospects in the industry.
We are also working in an industry undergoing significant challenges and changes. This includes political change, regulatory change, digitalization, artificial intelligence, market volatility and new professionals joining the industry. As well as concerns around fair access and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I).
In this environment, you need to stand out from the crowd – amongst test takers and employers. Two key areas will support you to do this:
- Rigorous test development and delivery: that meets all test security requirements and protects the integrity and credibility of your certification.
- An exceptional test taker experience: that boosts the reputation of your certification, extends your reach, and reduces the administrative burden on your team.
To be successful in both areas you need fully secure testing – that also offers flexibility, convenience and a consistent experience for all your test takers.
On this page you will learn:
Top 4 trends in finance certification
- Specialist certifications for professionals seeking expertise in emerging fields such as sustainability, fintech, and data analytics.
- Blended learning and flexible assessments that combine online and in-person learning, supported by convenient computer-based testing options.
- Emphasis on ethics and professional conduct with modules and assessments to ensure professionals uphold high standards.
- Continuing education and lifelong learning for finance professionals to stay updated with industry developments, regulations, and best practices
How to develop valid, high-quality test content?
A partnership of industry experts, working alongside a team of experienced psychometricians and test developers, is the best practice way to develop high-quality test content. Supported by secure technology and processes for item writing, review, storage and data transfer throughout the process.
This alliance of subject matter experts with testing expertise, using the latest technology and rigorous processes, offers the assurance of legally defensible test content that reliably attests to the competence of your test takers. At the same time, following best practice is likely to uncover opportunities for specialist certifications and micro-credentials in emerging topics that will extend your market.
What are the secure testing delivery options for reliable results?
Computer-based testing with secure transfer of test items and test forms protects the integrity of your tests. Options for secure test delivery include:
- Remote testing using secure online proctoring, with highly trained human proctors supported by the latest technology.
- In-person testing at secure, audited test centers that provide a consistent experience across a national and global network.
- Multi-modal testing that gives your test takers choice and delivers a comparable experience regardless of modality.
What strategies enhance test security?
Reinforce your secure test development and test delivery strategies with the tightest possible data security, handling and integrations at every step. This might include:
- ID verification – Multi-step identity checks with multiple layers of ID verification.
- Trained proctors – Malpractice is reduced if a high stakes test is proctored.
- Data privacy – Secure collection, storage, and transfer of data.
- Secure test content – Change content regularly, vary items or generate random forms.
Data forensics will further enhance the security of your tests. This uses statistical detection methods to help recognize anomalies in testing data that are consistent with fraudulent testing behavior. Those anomalies can then be investigated, for example for further evidence of proxy testing or collusion.
A web monitoring component adds another layer of security by monitoring the internet for proprietary test content that is offered for sale or shared on social media.
Fairness in testing
Fairness is important throughout the assessment lifecycle. Safeguard Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) through valid and reliable content, alongside accessible, consistent and comparable test delivery.
How to create exceptional test taker experiences?
A test taker journey map will help you understand the testing experience from the test taker perspective. And then make enhancements and improvements at every possible stage.
For example, offering straightforward registration and test booking, including the ability to request accommodations. Or finding the most beneficial timing and tools to provide test preparation materials and practice tests during the test taker journey.
Pro tip: While supporting your test takers to succeed, test preparation materials and practice tests are also a revenue raising opportunity for your organization.
How to minimize stress and administrative burden?
Plan and prepare for the best test day possible with a minimum of test taker issues for your team to handle. This involves all elements that are important for your test takers.
Before their test this might include:
- Straightforward online proctoring with flexible scheduling options, such as extended testing windows or continuous testing.
- Accessible and comfortable test centers in a wide variety of global locations.
- Power of choice with multi-modal testing options.
- High-end, seamless and convenient testing experience with intuitive software.
After their test this might include:
- Access to timely results and score reports where relevant.
- Clearly communicated opportunities for further certifications or re-certification.
- Opportunities to connect and network with other certificate holders.
What data to collect for valuable insights?
Gather insights into where you are now using available data and statistics:
- Audit results from online proctoring and test centers to uncover any compliance or quality issues in test delivery.
- Test analytics to discover how your test content is performing.
- Ticket / case response and closure rates for test taker support.
- Test taker volume increases and decreases.
Test taker feedback and satisfaction ratings also provide valuable insights into your test taker experience. For example:
- If you offer paper-based testing would your test takers appreciate a move to computer-based testing?
- If you offer testing in just one or two short windows per year, would your test takers value more or expanded windows or even continuous testing?
How to evolve your finance certification program?
Are there ways you could enhance or improve how you deliver tests? For example, moving from in-person testing to remote or multi-modal testing. Or transitioning from paper to computer-based testing.
It’s a good idea to do some market research and discover:
- What do potential test takers and employers want and need from finance certification testing?
- What do regulators expect from finance certification testing?
- Are there gaps in the market you could fill? Either in terms of new and emerging topics for test content, or an opportunity to provide more accessible and convenient testing?
You want to offer your test takers the best possible high-end testing experience. With tests that are accessible, flexible and convenient. But test security and the prospect of failing to meet compliance and regulatory standards is what keeps you awake at night.
You need a testing partner that can deliver what you need in both areas – and guide you through the period of challenge and change to come.
At PSI, we have decades of experience in achieving a balance between test security and test taker experience. Our team of experts, working with the latest technology, protect test integrity throughout the assessment lifecycle – from test development to test delivery and beyond. Without needing to compromise on test taker experience.
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Whatever your testing needs, our friendly, experienced team is here to provide guidance and answer your questions.