This is Part II in our blog series on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. To read Part I, click here.
In the testing industry, we need a united vision and shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). We must work together – and work harder – to ensure all groups have access to fair testing, because a lack of DE&I in testing is a wider social justice issue.
DE&I in test booking and delivery
Your test takers work hard and deserve a secure, seamless and equitable testing experience. This includes:
- Those requiring accommodations such as physical equipment, additional time or support.
- Accessible pricing structures that research every location and set fees that are appropriate to the local population.
- Reasonable eligibility requirements so no individual or group of test takers is unfairly excluded.
The entire test taker journey demands an unwavering focus on DE&I. Starting with an accessible scheduling platform that is easy to navigate and understand, through to an easy-to-use test delivery platform.
Power of choice
Multi-modal testing gives your test takers options, to ensure your tests are as accessible and inclusive as possible:
- Remote testing with secure online proctoring. So a test taker doesn’t need to travel to a test center.
- In-person testing at a secure test center in an accessible location. So they have access to the infrastructure and technology they need to take a test.
Offering options when it comes to test delivery modalities will ensure your tests are as accessible and inclusive as possible. With equity across secure test centers and remote proctoring, your test takers will be assessed fairly on a level playing field. Where it meets the specific requirements of a testing program, continuous testing can also give test takers the flexibility to take a test at a time that suits them best.
Keep it simple
Before test day…
Single sign-on makes test booking simple and a pull API means test date and time availability is always up to date. Functionality that makes it easy to request and book accommodations is also essential during test booking.
On remote test day…
DE&I as a priority continues into test day with a convenient and flexible online proctoring platform. This balances test security with the test taker experience – and the needs of individual test takers. Whether that’s the flexibility of scheduling on demand, no remote access by online proctors to a test taker’s device to protect their privacy, or the quality assurance of weekly proctor audits.
For testing in-person…
Similarly, if a test taker prefers – or needs – to take a test in person, your test center network needs to be both accessible and secure. Physical equipment should be provided to accommodate test taker needs. For example, special monitors, adjustable height tables and keyboards, alternative mouse and keyboard types, and noise-cancelling headphones. Accommodations might also include Braille and oral examinations, a separate room or dedicated proctor for individualized testing, extended time or a reader for a test.
These facilities and accommodations can be combined with rigorous checks and audits to ensure all DE&I policies and protocols are adhered to.
Continuous improvements to DE&I
Quality assurance measures will not only ensure you stay focused on DE&I principles day to day, but also that you take every opportunity for continuous improvement.
Improvements can come from the insights provided by data forensics services that use psychometric analysis of testing data, alongside complete transparency in account metrics. For example, data forensics of test results can reveal unintentional bias in the test content.
- Differential Analyses (DIF) assesses whether certain demographic groups perform differently on specific test items.
- Items identified that might disadvantage certain groups and require further investigation.
- Disparities addressed by implementing targeted interventions or adjustments.
Test taker surveys
Test taker satisfaction surveys from a particular test center might show that the accommodations provided are making it harder for test takers to demonstrate their knowledge. For example, noise or visual distractions in the testing room. Facilities can then be improved to make the testing experience more equitable and inclusive.
Regular review of research and best practices
In addition to quality assurance and data measures, at PSI we have an internal Center of Excellence that meets every other week to review research and best practices. This serves to both support our products and guide / enhance our own DE&I programs and initiatives. The members of the Center of Excellence represent multiple countries from around the globe and a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Marketing for DE&I
As well as developing and delivering tests with DE&I in mind, it’s important to market your tests to a diverse audience, in an inclusive way. Representation matters. Advertising or promotional activity should showcase diversity in your campaigns and the images you use. You can’t be what you can’t see, so this might involve including currently underrepresented populations.
Much as you do in your test content, your marketing content and language should also be inclusive. This involves using appropriate:
- Person-first and identity-first language, for example “person who uses a wheelchair” rather than “wheelchair-bound”.
- Identity-related terms around age, disability status, sexual orientation, gender diversity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and culture. For example, “visually impaired” rather than “visually challenged”.
It’s good practice to regularly audit your website and other marketing materials for diversity, accessibility and inclusive language. The American Psychological Association has useful ED&I Inclusive Language Guidelines for more information.
Ask your testing provider about their own DE&I. Of course, if your testing provider doesn’t have a diverse workforce, along with an equitable and inclusive culture, then your tests won’t be diverse, equitable and inclusive. It’s important to have the DE&I systems and processes outlined in this guide in place throughout the assessment lifecycle, but that’s not enough. What about your testing provider’s employee lifecycle?
Here are some questions you can use to assess a testing provider’s commitment to DE&I and how this will be reflected across the assessment lifecycle.
Recruitment and selection
- Do they use practices that promote a more diverse candidate pool?
- Do they use proven fair and job-related selection techniques during the recruitment process?
Learning and development
- When people are in role, do performance management programs include embracing diversity as a key performance indicator?
- Are specific goals set for all members of the leadership team around DE&I?
- Does the testing provider connect diverse employees in conversations about their differences to promote understanding?
- Is this supported by communications tools such as a website, e-newsletter, or events on related topics?
Measurement and data
As well as using data in your testing programs, does the testing provider use data analytics to measure progress on DE&I. For example:
- Identify underrepresented groups at all levels and functions.
- Identify the variance in employee experience across diversity categories.
- Track promotions, pay, performance reviews and learning opportunities to identify / rectify existing bias.
Read more about DE&I Across the Assessment Lifecycle in our new guide: