The global pandemic forced us to quickly evolve and adapt to new technologies. As a result, our economy is facing an incredible technology demand that impacts not only how businesses operate, but the job market and required skills needed for the positions of the future. According to a U.S. Department of Labor report released last spring, a record 4 million workers quit their jobs in April alone, creating a record-breaking 9.3 million job openings. With the growing skills gap threatening economic stability, there simply aren't enough qualified workers to fill these highly skilled positions within certain industries, such as education, healthcare, finance, technology, etc. For example, technology professionals must have advanced knowledge on software development tools like C#/.net, etc.; while finance experts need significant financial qualifications, such as portfolio and wealth management, tax planning, etc.
As the pandemic brought in-person activities to a grinding halt, the education and assessment industry, test owners, and test-takers were all forced to quickly adapt to this new normal. The pandemic not only transformed the way we deliver assessments but also accelerated the need for new technologies that provided a superior remote experience. In comparison with other industries such as banking, healthcare, and entertainment, the education industry has historically been slower to adopt such advancements in technology; however, in the last year and a half, the education industry has witnessed a digital transformation that, when correctly used, can prove to be substantial for both test-owners and test-takers.
With this evolution in technology came greater advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). By leveraging AI, examinations can more accurately assess the skills required for the jobs of tomorrow by providing a more personalized and accessible learning experience. Online learning has been shown to increase the amount and speed of information retained between 25-60%, allowing job candidates to build skills at an exponential pace. The one-size-fits-all educational approach is quickly evolving into a more customized learning experience that better equips candidates with the correct skills they need for the workforce. By providing test-takers a more tailored exam experience, candidates receive a customized learning solution that meets their individual needs while sharpening skills and helping them to retain knowledge longer term.
Technologies such as Al and ML have expedited advancements in the learning and assessment space and are prime examples of how technology has assisted test owners in keeping up with the demand for remote assessments during the pandemic. For example, AI has been leveraged as a tool to provide added layers of security to ensure the capabilities of each candidate being tested are properly assessed. Methods for incorporating AI functionalities include reviewing candidate behavior for anomalies, such as unusual movements, keystroke detection, gestures, etc., which may be flagged for potential cheating.
Prometric, a global leader in test development and delivery, uses technology-assisted measures as a complement to live proctors and security agents. Al-enabled technology, combined with expert human proctors, provides immediate alerts to proctors if a potential issue is detected. Proctors can then review the issue and choose to escalate as appropriate. In addition, facial recognition measures leverage AI enhancements to ensure the test-taker who checked in to complete the exam is the correct candidate, and that the same person remains throughout the entire exam duration. With technology-driven enhancements such as AI, students can become more engaged through a personalized learning experience that provides a more accurate assessment of their skills. These types of advancements have become a critical component in the evolution of the testing industry to not only enhance the candidate experience but also to provide consistent exam security measures across in-center and remote testing modalities.