A Look Behind the Scenes of Client-Centered Global Test Development

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Even for the most seasoned professionals in the testing and assessment industry, fully understanding the extensive process from test development to delivery can be challenging. This article gives an overview of how Prometric utilizes a collaborative and consultative approach for globally developing testing solutions for our clients.

What premium do you place on knowing that your doctor is licensed by a medical board that certifies he or she knows both the science and ethics of performing medicine?

Why do most people check to make sure the skilled professionals they hire — whether for corporate or trade professions — are accredited as capable in their specialties?

When was the last time getting into college didn’t matter?

Who, in their respective fields, doesn’t want to prove they are the best… and most employable?

These are some of the important questions licensure, credentialing and certification testing can answer. The backstage work of test development and delivery can often go unnoticed, but its impact on everyday life is profound. Plain and simple, it pays to prove your merit.

A natural question is, “What goes in to making a test?” It takes a concerted effort of subject matter experts to author test “items.” From item writing workshops comes review and making sure tests can be flexibly administered, uniquely thousands of times.

At the same time, items require a breadth of knowledge that can meaningfully assess a candidate’s knowledge and skill in her or his respective field. They need a secure, user-friendly technology platform that can streamline the candidate’s test-taking experience and foster an environment to focus exclusively on the test. Security measures that can protect the valuable intellectual property contained in every exam are paramount, and a global network that can deliver assessments anytime, anywhere and any way you require are essential. Not to be forgotten, it all needs to happen within an economically sound budget.

Prometric exists to be a client-centered partner through the entire testing and assessment life cycle. As a trusted thought leader and innovator, and as seamlessly as possible, our goal is to enable you to take for granted that the testing system in place will provide results that are valid, reliable, fair for your candidates, and legally defensible if ever challenged.

A significant challenge to bringing innovation into a proven operation is that structures of efficiency and economies of scale can stand as barriers to new ways of thinking and experimenting with unproven ideas. Prometric, in 2011, took an honest look at itself and decided to launch a specialized group dedicated to test development and generating revolutionary ideas that can transform the industry for the benefit of its clients. The Dundalk headquarters can orchestrate a “follow the sun” strategy that streamlines content development and revisions in a matter of hours versus days or weeks.  Projects can originate in Japan, India, Ireland or the U.S. and flow seamlessly from team to team until their completion.

Prometric established its new global headquarters for Test Development Solutions in January 2012, in Dundalk, Ireland. As part of its effort to build lasting relationships with the Dundalk and County Louth communities, as well as national stakeholders in business, education and the economy, Prometric has initiated a comprehensive outreach plan that includes charitable giving as well as targeted sponsorships to help develop the next generation of highly skilled talent in the country.

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“Prometric Ireland is the core operational center of our global test development operation, giving us a strong European and Middle East presence, while providing innovation that can flow back across the organization,” said Stephen Williams, Prometric’s Senior Vice President of Test Development Solutions.

The company employs a global pool of talent in Dundalk to conceptualize tests from the many regional and cultural perspectives in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas. More than 30 employees have been hired from the local area and in-country. The facility itself was designed with strategic architectural elements — including open team work stations where up to eight project team members face each other and break out areas encourage collaboration and innovation.

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During a recent brainstorming session, Williams was able to see the plan in action. “In less than 30 minutes we had 300 ideas that people had thrown out for new services, new products. Now, 298 of those might only help you eliminate others, but if you get one or two actionable concepts that nobody has ever thought of before than that’s a different — and meaningful — way of doing business.”

The art of test development has been streamlined through significant investments in the U.S. and globally and, in the coming years, Prometric will unveil major innovations in how licensure, accreditation, and credentialing testing is developed and delivered in a technologically advancing space.

“This is an exciting time to part of the testing and assessment industry,” said Williams, “and we’re already seeing results on the investments we’ve made in Prometric Ireland.”