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Testing in the workplace is rapidly evolving as organizations make use of the latest technologies to reach and develop the next generation of talent.  In less than two decades, we have seen technology-driven changes in test development and delivery, adding new capabilities and extending the global reach of testing programs. For example, test development software tools, enhanced item types and Internet delivery have become commonplace as these technology-enhanced solutions have become increasingly effective and affordable.  And while these advances have been impressive, further opportunities to leverage technology lie ahead.

Following are thoughts regarding trends that are driving tests to become more engaging, accessible and secure through enhanced technologies.  These are drawn from chapters that I recently coauthored for a book entitled Next Generation Technology Enhanced Assessment.[1],[2]

Gamification.  A rapidly growing trend is the application of game elements to assessments.  The concept of “gamifying” online systems is attributed to a British game developer in 2003 (N. Pelling), and since then, gamification has become widespread in areas as diverse as marketing and education.  The rationale for adopting game elements is to increase engagement and motivation among participants, enhance learning through practice, and measure and increase results (e.g., points, badges, scorecards).  These objectives may be achieved by applying key principles of gamification, which include: defined goals, scorekeeping, frequent feedback, participant choice, and consistent feedback. Organizations have begun using gamified assessments to attract candidates and to make the candidate experience more engaging than a traditional assessment.

Multi-device (mobile) Delivery.  The use of mobile devices (tablets, smart phones) in assessment delivery has emerged in recent years and is expected to gain in prominence as generations of users have become accustomed to mobile computing in daily life.  Several factors are likely to accelerate the growth of mobile assessment, especially in talent acquisition and development.  Career sites and online training (eLearning) systems are now deigned to accommodate mobile devices, and many people rely on mobile connectivity as their primary access to the Internet.  Another factor is cost- and time-efficiency, as self-service mobile delivered assessments offer more rapid and inexpensive access to a broader pool of candidates.  And lastly, many organizations will turn to mobile delivery in efforts to brand their talent processes as engaging, accessible, and user friendly.

Security Solutions. Technologies are expected to advance in two areas that will benefit test security. These include: (1) Authentication – verifying the identity of the test taker using biometrics such as voiceprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition.  As these technologies become more widespread, they will become increasingly cost-effective to build into assessment systems to support secure remote testing; and (2) Surveillance – an emerging technology is the automated analysis of digital video to detect activity in the video that might indicate potential theft, cheating, and other illegal activity than a proctor would detect when watching the video. As the development of analytics improves though machine learning programming, the application of automated surveillance and analysis is expected to become commonplace and will provide a means for virtual proctoring of tests.

In summary, technology advances are contributing to the rapid evolution of assessment models and approaches to make them more engaging, assessible and secure.  At the same time, these advances raise challenges and opportunities for testing professionals to lead the development of best practices to guide their use.

[1] Weiner & Foster (2018).  Chapter 2: Licensing and Certification Testing.  In Next Generation Technology-Enhanced Assessment.  Cambridge University Press.
[2] Weiner & Necus (2018). Chapter 3:  Infrastructure to Support Technology-Enhanced Global Assessment. Ibid.