The Test Security Profession Grows Up

Written by Jamie Mulkey, Vice President, Client Services

February 28, 2014

It wasn’t that long ago that the first Test Security Summit was held in conjunction with the annual ATP conference. Many testing program representatives came together to share their best practices in combatting test theft and fraud. Individuals learned they weren’t alone in their concerns about making sure the integrity of their tests and their candidates’ results was sound. The Summit was deemed a success and a vow was made to carry the conversation forward as a committee of like-minded professionals. This group would invite others to join them and would collaborate as an ongoing community to address test security concerns throughout the year; not just at a single annual meeting.

The group also wanted a place to collect meeting artifacts; such as slides, working papers, and test security best practices. So a test security wiki was built. Test security documents, presentations, and standards were contributed, reviewed, and shared. Not too long after that, job descriptions began to appear for managers and directors of test security. Testing organizations realized the importance of having an individual manage the test security function.

In every case, the conversation around test security has continued. There are now multiple test security groups that serve professional credentialing and education. There are test security standards, guidebooks and survey reports that have been developed and shared. There is a Handbook of Test Security and the third conference on Statistical Detection of Potential Test Fraud will be held in October 2014. The dialog has persisted and a profession has emerged.

Test security has really grown up. We have matured in terms of our knowledge of the profession in the language we use, the test security activities we perform as testing professionals, and the reliance on community members and experts in the field for guidance. Even more remarkable, is that although we may be competitors in some regards, we all agree on the importance of vigilant test security practices.

It is interesting to note that studies in the area of profession development suggest patterns similar to what we have been experiencing; there is an unmet need in an important area, individuals coalesce to discuss the need, standards of practice are defined, then the profession is formalized through training and qualification.

However, there is one thing missing from our test security scenario that encapsulates a profession. Any idea of what that is? If you know, please send me a note. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until this professional capstone gets announced next week at ATP.

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