How to Build the Perfect Exam Process for Your Certification Program

Running a successful certification program and remaining an esteemed professional association depends heavily on reputation. To provide certifications to trade professionals, you need your industry to trust the rigor and quality of your exams. If your certification is valued and respected in your industry, employers will value it more, and participants will be more inclined to obtain it.

In this post, we’ll discuss how delivering your online proctored tests securely preserves your brand's reputation and upholds high standards.

The Importance of Building a Solid Exam Process

Frequently, professional associations focus on marketing their brand and offering high-quality learning materials, with the exam experience falling by the wayside. However, sitting down to take the exam is the most pivotal moment of your candidates’ certification journey and leaves a lasting final impression.

For this reason, it’s worth it to invest in the right technology to deliver a superb exam experience. The following are benefits that a streamlined remote exam process can provide for your organization:

Ensures that your organization is accurately assessing knowledge

The purpose of your exam is to gauge how well test-takers retain and can act on pertinent information. To do this requires creating fairly-worded questions and answers, eliminating testing bias, and believing with certainty that the professionals we trust are capable of performing the responsibilities they hold.

Enhances the exam process for test-takers

Fast, seamless digital experiences are becoming the norm across every aspect of life, from banking to shopping online. Learners enjoy high-quality user experiences on online learning platforms that provide engaging learning opportunities. The exam process should also be seamless for candidates.

Mentally prepares test-takers

Put yourself in your test-takers’ shoes. To prepare for high-stakes exams, candidates may have to invest considerable time and money in learning materials and even the exam itself. Your certification program opens doors to jobs and careers for many professionals. The more seamless your exam process is, the less stress it causes candidates, which in turn allows them to focus on their test-taking skills.

Bolsters your organization’s credibility and reputation

Certifications have an impact on your business on two levels: credibility and reputation. If your certification is deemed the gold standard, employers will be inclined to hire candidates who hold it. As a result, students will choose your certification program over your competition because they know it will make them more competitive in the job market.

Widens your organization’s reach to increase memberships

By lowering barriers and decreasing obstacles to obtaining certification, you automatically increase participation. Some people don’t commit to certification programs because of obstacles like commute and family obligations. Knowing that they can take the exam from the comfort of their homes provides convenience and makes the goal more attainable, which can encourage candidates to pursue certifications in the first place.

Poor Exam Processes: Preventing the Risks

Your certification program represents your company's dedication to building valuable members of a trade. Unless your licensing body streamlines its exam process, employers will lack confidence that candidates are genuinely qualified.

Organizations that want to grow their certification programs should avoid these common pitfalls:

Risk #1: Certifying the wrong people

Assessing a candidate's knowledge and skills accurately gives employers peace of mind hiring capable individuals. Furthermore, it prevents the right talent from being overlooked. As certification programs play a significant role in improving a career field, having the top candidates in a field is essential.

Risk #2: Weakening your certification program’s authority and reputation

An unorganized or easily falsified exam could cast down on the credibility of your certification or organization. You may be accused of discrimination if you allow testing bias to continue unchecked.

Risk #3: Declining membership numbers

A steady increase in memberships and certifications is a sign of a healthy and stable company. For your business to succeed, you need substantial enrollment numbers and revenue. The result of certifying the wrong people and a dwindling reputation is a decline in participants, which hurts your bottom line.

How to Create a High-Quality Exam Process for Your Certification Program

It's no secret that companies invest a lot in certification programs. It takes time, money, and buy-in from senior leaders within your company to build a solid program. The effects of brand perception are felt throughout your company and customer base. Exam design and administration have a profound impact on candidates so getting it right on both fronts is critical.

1. Remain focused on the main goal: accurately assessing knowledge

Creating fair questions and answers is crucial to accurately determining test-taker knowledge. Eliminating any potential test bias is critical to ensuring that your tests measure what they were designed to measure. For example, tests involving non-native English speakers need to gauge a candidate's knowledge of the topic versus fluency in English. A high-quality exam is one that measures learning objectives correctly.

2. Create a fully digitized exam process

Remotely administering knowledge and exams may require moving your paper materials online. You should ensure that the translation of written materials is error-free on your technology platform. You may need a testing expert or consultant who specializes in translating printed materials into digital formats to review your exam. By taking this precaution, you can be confident that your content reflects the correct information. Additionally, if you’re providing multiple question formats or embedding videos into exams that require licenses, you must double-check for accuracy.

3. Prevent tech issues to reduce test-taker anxiety and distractions

Test takers should feel comfortable with the exam technology that they use. Create an environment that prepares them for success. Candidates should be concentrating on completing the exam rather than tech issues, so your proctoring brands’ tech support becomes critical for ensuring an effective exam. As a rule of thumb, test-takers' questions and concerns should be answered within two minutes or less.

4. Choose a seamless test delivery platform

You may already be using a learning management system (LMS) to facilitate learning materials for your certification candidates. The best way to simplify the process is to integrate your existing LMS with an online proctoring solution. Not only will this create a seamless experience for candidates, but they'll feel more comfortable being tested inside a platform they're already familiar with. Candidates should be able to log in as usual and launch their exam in just a few clicks. This process should require no extra effort on your or the candidates' part.

5. Ensure you have the proper security protocols

Secure online proctoring software protects both the candidate and your organization. A secure system will make test-takers feel comfortable providing personal information to verify their identities. You then become responsible for safeguarding private personal data, so select a proctoring service that prioritizes safe data handling.

Look for These Security Features

Look for the following security features when evaluating online proctoring solutions:

  • Identity verification

    Put simply, the person receiving the certification needs to be the one taking the exam. With online testing, it becomes more difficult to verify whether that’s the case. Therefore, every proctoring software should include comprehensive ID verification as a standard feature. Upon launching an exam, the proctoring software will prompt for identification verification, automatically capturing an individual's photo and ID information.

  • A secure web browser

    Your online proctoring solution must offer a secure web component that opens the exam browser instead of their default browsers when allowing test-takers to use their own devices to take tests. Locking down the web browser creates a distraction-free exam environment, reducing temptations and deterring cheating.

  • Data sharing protocols

    During the recent spike in remote exams, data lifecycle awareness has become a hot topic. Online testing is becoming more and more prevalent. Nonetheless, test takers should not feel that their data is at risk. In addition to ensuring that your online proctoring vendor is up-front about data-protection policies, you should encourage test takers to get in touch with you if they have concerns.

  • A blend of AI and human monitoring to ensure academic integrity

    Depending on your certification program, you may offer a variety of certifications and exams, ranging from high stakes to low stakes. Proctoring for low-risk exams can be fully automated, but more critical tests should be audited by AI and a human. Flagging suspicious behaviors and passing them off to a second layer of judgement prevents inequity and bias issues.

Offering a Seamless Exam Process for Your Certification Program

You can protect your certification programs’ reputation and boost enrollment numbers by delivering online proctored tests securely. A streamlined exam process ensures accurate assessment of candidate knowledge, strengthens your credibility, and provides an enhanced test-taking experience.

Using online exam proctoring solutions helps to avoid common licensing risks such as certifying the wrong people, tarnishing your reputation, and lowering your enrollment. For a high-quality exam that benefits your organization, choose a tech platform that integrates a 100% digital exam experience, mitigates technology glitches, and has the security features you need to protect yourself and your candidates.

Ready to learn more about online proctoring and how it could benefit your organization? Create your free ProctorFree account now to connect with our expert team.

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