Written by John Fremer, President, Consulting Services
May 10, 2016
Which of these have you done in the last year?
- Changed the batteries in your smoke alarm?
- Had your car inspected?
- Seen your doctor for a physical examination?
- Had an external test security check of your testing programs policies, procedures, and materials?
Guess which one I would like to talk with you about? Even though all of these things are important, it is the test security review that is my professional domain. I want to urge you to do such a review if you have not done one in a while. How we run testing programs has changed, and there are new challenges to the integrity of your test scores. As a consequence, the reputation and viability of your program could be at stake.
At a conceptual level, test program managers readily acknowledge the importance of preventing and detecting cheating and other factors that are addressed by a thorough test security review. However, I often hear these comments:
- I simply don’t have the time for such a review. It is as busy as it has ever been and I see even more work coming down the road at me and my staff.
- We can’t afford it.We have lots of work but many other demands on our budgets and such a review is “discretionary.”
I want to maintain good relationships with clients and prospects so I am careful about how I respond to these kinds of observations. They are usually being made by quite thoughtful testing professionals. How I proceed depends on the nature of my relationship with the speaker and the context within which the program functions.
- For program managers with formal training in educational measurement – I call attention to the threats to score validity when cheating occurs, and especially evidence of widespread misbehavior impacting many test takers.
- For program managers facing particularly intense budget pressures – I point out that preventive measures such as independent security reviews are often much less expensive and disruptive of test program operations than having to respond to a security breach.
If you are interested in upgrading the security of your tests and programs, but are facing different challenges than either of these, I invite you to send me an email or give me a call. I would be very pleased to try to understand your situation and testing program, and to provide advice. I am, of course, interested in describing the Caveon Test Security Audit process and how we apply 300 test security standards to a testing program. I am also very willing to talk about publicly available test security resources and what you can do on your own to upgrade the security of your items, tests, and other valuable intellectual property.