If you sponsor a certification or credentialing program, it’s vital to prioritize your candidate’s overall experience. You can differentiate your institution, while potentially growing the notoriety of your program by providing your candidates with a world-class testing experience.
When it comes to testing, while the end result is most important, the overall experience shouldn’t be overlooked.
This experience starts the moment the test candidate schedules the test and concludes when the candidate receives their results. And for some, the experience may even start before the scheduling, going as far back as their first interaction with your institution. There are numerous things that could go wrong in an exam and affect your candidates’ testing experience. Your candidates could be unable to log in to the system delivering their online exams or an upload of a mandatory piece of information, like a picture of their ID card could fail. The system could completely crash in some candidates’ laptops, causing them to stop their exams midway.
While many of these factors could be out of your control, all these would leave your candidates with a bad image of your institution. On the other hand, if things went smoothly and they had very little to complain about, your candidate is more likely to perform at their best, which in turn, provides a more prestigious outlook of your program.
If your prerogative is to make the candidates’ testing experience world-class, based on the test delivery option you provide, here are a few ways you can ensure that’s what you deliver.
Design for Accessibility by All Candidates
It’s expected that your test will meet modern standards for accessibility, of course. Your test must be able to work with assistive technologies that would otherwise exclude some candidates who require special circumstances. But it’s important to think beyond assistive devices and testing centers that are accessible by those with mobility issues.
While many organizations already have a variety of accessibility measures in place, there are other ways to support inclusivity as well, like offering your test in the test-taker’s native language. Similarly, ensure that your security procedures support the religious liberty of your test candidates. For example, there have been several news stories covering instances in which people wearing religious garments, including turbans and hijab, have been forced to miss an exam due to a conflict with exam security. Such an occurrence is not good for the candidate –or the reputation of the exam sponsor.
Candidates are from diverse backgrounds and they need to be able to access the test in a way that provides a level playing field and upholds the value of your credential.
Ensure Ease of Use for Candidates
Make the experience, from test registration to results receipt, easy on your testing candidates. Ensure the testing platform you use is simple and intuitive enough for candidates to quickly learn and use, while providing detailed communication outlining where to schedule, how to set up any required exam software, etc.
Do they know how to access the exam? Do they know what kind of information they need to bring with them, such as identification? And, once they are done, how and when should they expect to receive their results?
Ensure the platform you use is simple, and offer candidates the option to complete a post-exam survey for feedback on areas that may need improvement for a better overall testing experience.
Maintain Exam Integrity
The last thing you would want associated with your brand as a test sponsor is the perception of weak security that could ultimately lead to integrity issues. A rumor that people cheated in your assessment lowers your authority in your industry. It could also ruin the perception of all other candidates where people start to doubt the integrity of their performance. A test that isn’t fair harms all honest test-takers.
In addition to robust security practices, your exam integrity can be supported by using Computer Based Tests (CBTs), which can include performance-based assessments, question randomization, and, by pulling from an extensive question bank, a test that is different for every test-taker. A world class testing experience calls for high ethical standards from your team and the remote proctoring partners you pick to ensure no cheating occurs.
Protect Exam Content and Candidate Data
Apart from maintaining exam integrity, secure exam delivery is also necessary. In an age where data is king, and everyone is scrambling to get their hands on some data to use in their business, your candidates’ privacy is essential, especially where they provide confidential information.
It’s the proctor’s job to ensure that candidates don’t cheat. For this, they may require information including live video recordings of the candidate and their surroundings, keystroke records and data that identifies the individual. However, if obtained in the wrong hands, such information may be used maliciously by cyber criminals and attackers. And, where the proctor service providers are unethical, they may sell the data to third parties.
Establish the security of your students’ data by using vetted remote proctoring systems in order to provide the utmost level of candidates’ privacy. You can opt for safe ways of delivering the exams such as CBT for further protection.
Offer Personalized Services for Candidates
You can’t always anticipate issues that arise in the assessment process. Your candidates face a diverse range of issues, and often, the ability to cater to their needs in a personal capacity is important to them.
For example, if medical attention is required while in the middle of the test, what are the proper procedures the candidate should follow to escalate appropriately? Then you may offer them a chance to retake the exam at a later date. In addition, an individual who has learning challenges could benefit from retaking one section of an assessment that was unclear to them.
By anticipating possible issues candidates could face during their testing experience, your program will be better prepared to quickly face any challenges as they arise, ensuring issues that are beyond the candidates’ control do not lead to them withdrawing or failing the exam for which they have prepared.
Providing personalized services like these to your candidates not only improves their experience and what they need to successfully sit for your exam, it also reduces test anxiety, thus possibly leading to improved test results.
Give Your Candidates a Smooth Testing Experience
A great online testing experience is in the details. Map out your process to see how the students move along the map and iron out any kinks before. Make the testing experience smooth for your candidates to help their test scores, and your reputation, increase.