Testing is changing across the whole assessment lifecycle. Discover emerging themes to look out for in 2023, starting with test development trends.
In the past, the approach to test security across the industry has often involved looking at specific areas of the assessment lifecycle in isolation. This is evolving. We work with clients to improve test security by interconnecting all aspects of their testing programs, including secure test delivery, item banking and authoring, or engaging and training Subject Matter Experts. . Which is why my first test development trend to look out for in 2023 is the adoption of a more holistic approach to test security.
This holistic approach involves looking at every area of the assessment lifecycle in more detail than ever before. But it also entails looking at the entirety of the process and the integrity of the testing program as a whole. We involve all our teams to examine issues and potential issues at every level. For example:
- Our data forensics team work closely with our security team, to maintain test center security.
- We empower our psychometricians and test developers with data and tools, to ensure secure SME involvement during item writing and reviews.
- We harness the latest technology for secure item banking, test assembly and test delivery.
In 2023 we look forward to working in partnership with our clients across the whole PSI business. To connect the dots and bring test security under an overarching umbrella – starting with test development.
Experience plus technology
We ensure all testing programs have what is needed to maintain test integrity across the whole assessment lifecycle. And this holistic approach to test security starts with our test developers and psychometricians. Combining experience and best practice with technology to guarantee the test development process is as secure as possible.
Secure exam content access is just one development, where our teams worked with clients during the pandemic to improve security while increasing convenience and efficiency.
Harness emerging technologies
Automatic Item Generation (AIG) is another evolving area we are looking to continue to expand. As interest and demand for many client testing programs increases, there is an inevitable need for more test content. This is combined with a growing interest in continuous testing to support test takers, and Linear On The Fly Testing (LOFT) to improve test security. All these changes are positive, however they do intensify the pressure to develop more content.
Equally, while ‘anytime, anywhere’ testing offers flexibility and convenience for test takers it does come with the risk of increased item exposure. We are continuing conversations around AIG and harnessing its ability to build items that are current and cover all aspects that need to be tested – while minimizing exposure. AIG is a potentially powerful tool for creating not only more items, but also more complex items – watch this space!
Flexibility with limited resources
While increased demand for test content is a growing trend in test development, client and SME resources are limited. This pressure to produce more items to minimize exposure and ensure security is one the industry will continue to face. In addition to AIG, flexibility around how we involve SMEs will be another important way to address this demand.
Flexibility will be key to accessing and engaging more SMEs. As well as ensuring we are involving a diverse range of SMEs in test development. Involving people from different levels of education, experience, locations, gender, race and ethnicity.
Virtual meetings with SMEs were essential during the pandemic. Now many programs have discovered the benefits and are adopting a mix of virtual and in-person interactions while keeping the process secure. For example, conducting item writing and reviews online for efficiency, with test reviews that need a more hands on approach taking place in-person. We expect to see this hybrid approach adopted more widely in the coming year.
Currency of content
It’s not just the world of testing that is changing. Rapid change is taking place across almost every sector and industry. With this change comes a need to keep test content current and in line with emerging trends, such as the introduction of new technologies or techniques.
IT is a prime example. One of our IT clients is at the forefront of certification for information security and IT professionals. They are conscious that technology in their industry moves fast. They work hard to ensure test content reflects emerging trends. Collaborating with our psychometricians to keep test content current, while staying aligned with the test specification and leveraging pre-test items for emerging technology.
The challenge of obsolete test content is going to become more common. And we see the tactics already adopted by testing organizations to address this becoming increasingly popular across a broader range of industries.
Of course, test development is only the beginning of the assessment lifecycle. Change is taking place across all areas. We will explore testing trends in two fields that we see changing most rapidly – test delivery and data forensics – in upcoming blogs. All linked by an overarching trend towards a holistic approach to test security.
Dr. Isabelle Gonthier is the Senior Vice President of Content Science at PSI Services where she leads psychometric and consulting services, test and content development, content management, data forensic and analytics, and research across certification, licensure, and qualification markets globally.