Perhaps the most exciting feature of this year’s ATP Innovations in Testing Conference was that it presented the first opportunity in a long time to connect with industry colleagues in-person. In addition to that, people who were only able to attend virtually were given the chance to be equally engaged. With the conference theme being about bridging opportunities for better assessments, the opportunity to connect more broadly with participants, regardless of location or limitations related to travel, was timely and very fitting.
The ATP Conference program was truly hybrid with many presentations, including keynote and general sessions, were live streamed and/or recorded for virtual attendees. This approach maximized value for all types of attendees and created a sense of engagement that went above geographic frontiers.
Equity and fairness in testing
With a theme focused on bridging gaps, a lot of content focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) topics, starting with the opening session about bias and sensitivity, and workshops around innovations in test development, panel discussions about fairness in assessment and diversity initiatives, and sessions covering inclusion and testing accommodations. All were designed to facilitate in-depth knowledge sharing and thought-provoking conversations, and the sessions I attended certainly achieved just that. It is humbling to hear about challenges and opportunities related to DEI and how our assessment industry raises the right (and sometimes tough) questions so we can think outside the box and continue to grow and evolve.
The PSI team was directly involved in many of these sessions and discussions, including a panel facilitated by our Chief Science Officer, John Weiner, titled Assuring Measurement Integrity in Remote Online Assessment: New Challenges and Opportunities. The conversation explored the digitalization of assessments over the past two decades, and how this has been driven by the evolution in testing methods – including high-stakes online testing.
The panel discussed how the rapid move to online testing accelerated by the pandemic has led to concerns about test integrity, soundness, and comparability of test scores. They also noted how as an industry we must now review our methods and explore potential new approaches and frameworks, including elements related to access, while maintaining the integrity of the assessment.
Test security and stackable credentials
I had the privilege to participate in a number of sessions with industry experts and colleagues which allowed us to do a deeper dive on topics like test security, testing accommodations, and stackable credentials. I presented with our data forensic expert, Nicole Tucker, to discuss test security considerations throughout the assessment life cycle and how data forensics can be used to proactively identify trends, issues, and action items to protect the integrity of an assessment program. We were able to continue the discussion in a “Peas in a Pod” format and engaged in insightful conversations with participants to identify key concerns and opportunities linked to test security.
I also worked with one of our psychometricians, Kate Kahoa, and two industry thought leaders, Kim Cohen from ISACA and Johanna Gueorguiva from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) to deliver a workshop titled Stack ‘em Up: Building a Stackable Credential. It was a great opportunity to showcase two concrete case studies on how stackable credentials can be used and discuss key considerations with workshop participants from various industries, including IT, Healthcare, and Finance. We are very proud of our partnership with ISACA over the years in developing and delivering multi-modal IT certification testing and it was a great opportunity to showcase their innovative thinking related to stackable credentials.
Stackable credentials fit the theme of DEI as they make access to credentialing accessible to a wider group of individuals. They support flexible learning paths and different learning styles. They also break down education and testing into more bite-sized components than more traditional qualifications, which can take a long time to earn and be more costly.
Partnerships in testing
From Courtship to Marriage: Finding a Long-Term Partner was a follow-up to a previous ATP session. Part one covered what it takes as a test sponsor to find the right testing partner to meet your business needs.
This second session, co-led with Danielle Geddes, an industry colleague and friend, took participants through the next stage of the partnership lifecycle and what it takes to execute on the commitments made in the discovery phase. One of the main questions we sought to address is ‘How do we strengthen relationships and provide continued value to all involved?’
We know clients value the partnership approach we bring to our relationships. Our willingness to be flexible and consultative – rather than purely directive – is a strength of the PSI team. It was encouraging to hear how important collaboration is from session participants while further discussing what success looks like to them, where there might be gaps, and how these could be mitigated.
The ATP Innovation in Testing Conference is an opportunity for industry thought leaders to get together and exchange on best practices and innovations, regardless of where people are from or who they represent. Not only do we partner with our clients, we also collaborate across the whole industry. This approach allows us to continuously improve what we do, evolve, and advance for the greater good of our testing community. In doing so, we continue to address key opportunities for growth and learning as it relates to important topics such as fairness and equity in assessments, test security, and access through various testing modalities. I am proud to be part of such a collaborative and forward-thinking community and look forward to our continued work together. See you in Dallas in 2023!