Exam Development in a Post-COVID World

Test sponsors recognize that embracing asynchronous exam development will be a necessity for remaining competitive in terms of pricing and speed-to-market.

by Jill Burroughs, Chief Operating Officer

The future of testing changed significantly with COVID-19. We saw the rapid adoption of remote proctoring and the necessity to move away from the traditional test-center delivery model. It also forced us to completely rethink exam development methods. In-person workshops were no longer feasible and the transition to remote proctoring meant much larger item banks were needed in order to maintain security.

In the short term, most programs have tried to recreate their current processes in a remote environment. Zoom calls, Excel spreadsheets and Slack rooms were quick fixes to get up and running. Most programs have found this is neither efficient nor a good experience for subject matter experts and employees. Zoom fatigue is real. Getting SMEs to add hours of additional calls to their weeks is almost impossible, and the lack of engagement in long virtual meetings has produced less than optimal content. It won’t be feasible to count on this method for content creation as in-person meetings remain limited. 

This issue has also been exacerbated by the blurring of home and work. As we all adjust to remote working, regular business hours seem to be a thing of the past. Finding times that a group of people can all get together for several hours in a row, even for a video call, has become increasingly difficult. Staggered re-entry to offices and permanent shifts to at-home and hybrid work environments will extend and likely solidify the need for flexible scheduling.

As we plan long-term solutions, embracing asynchronous exam development will be a necessity, much like remote proctoring has become during the pandemic. Moving toward this model now will not only ease current difficulties but also save time and costs as the industry continues to shift and respond to lasting change. Programs that had already adopted remote proctoring saw little to no decline in volume. Whereas programs that did not see were left scrambling to pivot their delivery while losing thousands in revenue every month they could not deliver exams.

There is no question that the world will look different once we come out the other side of this pandemic. It's hard to say if all the changes we made out of necessity will be permanent, but we should take the opportunity to rethink the old processes. By starting to look at things through a post-COVID lens now, we may see a better way. 

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