Share Your Story in Napa Valley

Julie Delazyn Headshot Posted by Julie Delazyn

We have officially announced the 2015 Users Conference March 10-13, and we look forward to seeing you at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa for this important learning event.

In order to create a rich and varied conference program, we have opened a call for proposals and invite you to submit your idea for case study presentation or a peer discussion soon.collage

How do you know if you should submit a proposal? If you can answer yes to any of the questions below, we look forward to hearing from you!

  • Your experience with Questionmark technologies will help others
  • You have found innovative ways to use online assessments
  • You can explain how you organized your assessment program and what you learned
  • You have gained a lot from previous conferences and want to contribute in 2015
  • You are using assessments to support organizational goals
  • You have a unique application of online or mobile assessments
  • You have integrated Questionmark with another system

We are seeking case study and discussion proposals from now until November 20, so consider what you’d like to contribute.

Aside from helping your fellow Questionmark users by sharing your story, please note that presenters will also get some perks.

grape iconPresenters and discussion leaders will receive some red carpet treatment — including a special dinner in their honor on Wednesday, March 10. And we award one 50% registration for each case study presentation.

Click here  for more details and proposal forms.

Even if you are not sure you’ll attend the conference, we would like to hear from you! And whether you plan to present or not, plan now to have the conference in your budget for 2015. You will find information about conference return on investment and an ROI tookit here.

See you in Napa Valley for the 2015 Users Conference

Julie Delazyn HeadshotPosted by Julie Delazyn

We’re very excited to announce plans for the 2015 Questionmark Users Conference.Fall_in_Napa_Valley

Questionmark users will get together to learn best practices and discover new uses for online assessments from …Drumroll please…March 10 to 13 in the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa in the heart of California Wine Country.

Mark your calendar now for this important learning event, and register as soon as you can.

grape iconHere’s what you can expect during this gathering:

  • Real-world case studies by Questionmark users
  • Introductions to new solutions and featurescollage
  • Sessions explaining Questionmark features & functions
  • Presentations about testing and assessment best practices
  • Opportunities to influence future solutions
  • One-on-one meetings with Questionmark technicians
  • Plenty of time to network with your peers

grape iconHere’s some of the feedback we’ve received from people who joined us at this year’s conference:

“Excellent conference every year.”

“Really good sessions. I learned a lot of things that will help me improve our operation.”

“I got all the answers to all my questions and met the right people within my first day here. This conference is an experience I would do again in a heartbeat.”

“I learned so much! … The conference is three days of fun, learning, and meeting people who are going through the same things that you are.”

Early-bird registration discounts are available until January 29th 2015, so sign up soon and start making your plans for Napa Valley.

Item Development – Benefits of editing items before the review process

Austin FosseyPosted by Austin Fossey

Some test developers recommend a single round of item editing (or editorial review), usually right before items are field tested. When schedules and resources allow for it, I recommend that test developers conduct two rounds of editing—one right after the items are written and one after content and bias reviews are completed. This post addresses the first round of editing, to take place after items are drafted.

Why have two rounds of editing? In both rounds, we will be looking for grammar or spelling errors, but the first round serves as a filter to keep items with serious flaws from making it to content review or bias review.

In their chapter in Educational Measurement (4 th ed.), Cynthia Shmeiser and Catherine Welch explain that an early round of item editing “serves to detect and correct deficiencies in the technical qualities of the items and item pools early in the development process.” They recommend that test developers use this round of item editing to do a cursory review of whether the items meet the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

Items that have obvious item writing flaws should be culled in the first round of item editing and either sent back to the item writers or removed. This may include item writing errors like cluing or having options that do not match the stem grammatically. Ideally, these errors will be caught and corrected in the drafting process, but a few items may have slipped through the cracks.

In the initial round of editing, we will also be looking for proper formatting of the items. Did the item writers use the correct item types for the specified content? Did they follow the formatting rules in our style guide? Is all supporting content (e.g., pictures, references) present in the item? Did the item writers record all of the metadata for the item, like its content area, cognitive level, or reference? Again, if an item does not match the required format, it should be sent back to the item writers or removed.

It is helpful to look for these issues before going to content review or bias review because these types of errors may distract your review committees from their tasks; the committees may be wasting time reviewing items that should not be delivered anyway due to formatting flaws. You do not want to get all the way through content and bias reviews only to find that a large number of your items have to be returned to the drafting process. We will discuss review committee processes in the following posts.

For best practice guidance and practical advice for the five key stages of test and exam development, check out our white paper: 5 Steps to Better Tests.

Podcast: Alignment, Impact and Measurement With the A-model

Julie Delazyn HeadshotPosted by Julie Delazyn

The growing emphasis on  performance improvement – of which training is just a part – calls for new strategies for assessment and evaluation.

Bruce C. Aaron

Bruce C. Aaron

Measurement and evaluation specialist Dr. Bruce C. Aaron has devoted a lot of thought to this. His white paper, Alignment, Impact and Measurement with the A-model, describes a framework for aligning assessment and evaluation with an organization’s goals, objectives and human performance issues.

For more information on the A-model, check out the video and free white paper: Alignment, Impact and Measurement with the A-Model.

Our podcast interview with Bruce about the A-model has been of great interest to learning and HR professionals. The interview explores how this framework addresses the changes that have taken place in recent years and the resulting complexities of today’s workplace.

A-model diagramHere are a few excerpts from the conversation. If you’d like to learn more, listen to the 10-minute podcast below.

“The things that I’ve observed have to do with our moving away from a training focus into a performance focus. So we don’t speak so much about training or even training and development anymore. We speak a lot more about performance improvement, or human performance, or learning and performance in the workplace. And those sorts of changes have had a great impact in how we do our business, how we design our solutions and how we go about assessing and evaluating them.

…the A-model evolved out of dealing with the need to evaluate all of this and still focus on what are we trying to accomplish: how do we go about parsing up the components of our evaluation and keeping those things logically organized in their relationship to each other?

…If we have a complex, blended solution, if we haven’t done a good job of really tying that to our objectives and to the original business issue that we’re trying to address…it becomes apparent through a focus on evaluation and assessment.”

Why should you be using assessments for compliance?

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

The most compelling reason to use assessments for compliance is that they are legally required!

Almost all regulators require that organisations periodically measure employees’ knowledge and comprehension of particular subjects as well as continue to assess their training needs. Without regular testing, how do you know what your employees know?

However, legal requirements are not the only motivation. Testing your workforce will also help them to retain critical information and can even help spot problem areas before they impact your business.

We are pleased to announce a webinar later this month highlighting 7 Reasons to Use Online Assessments for Compliance and hope you will be able to join us for it on Thursday 23rd October at 2 p.m. UK BST (9:00 a.m. US EDT).

Questionmark Solutions Consultant Ivan Forward and Marketing Director Brian McNamara will lead this 60-minute webinar, which will discuss the rationale for using online assessments in compliance, note some examples of how they can be used effectively and offer pointers for incorporating them within your compliance program.check

The presentation will also address these topics:

  • The business impact of online assessments
  • Using scenario-based questions that measure how employees respond to real-life situations
  • Providing feedback at the topic level to show employees where they need to improve

Register for the complimentary webinar, 7 Reasons to Use Online Assessments for Compliance.

This month we also have a webinar on how organisations can use mobile assessments to effectively ensure compliance, identify learning needs and monitor performance. Click here to save your seat for the webinar, Making Mobile Assessments Work for You.

Questionmark not impacted by Bash/ShellShock Internet vulnerability

John Kleeman HeadshotPosted by John Kleeman

You may have heard of the recent “ShellShock” vulnerability where a bug in a program called “GNU Bash” puts Internet systems containing the program at risk. This bug was revealed to the public on September 24th, and here is Questionmark’s response to the bug.

Our internal Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)  immediately reviewed our servers and systems to identify any potential vulnerabilities.  Fortunately, most Questionmark systems use Microsoft technology and do not contain the “GNU Bash” program, and Questionmark software is not impacted by this vulnerability.

Here is some additional information for our customers:

Questionmark’s cloud-based products and services:

Questionmark Live

  • Our collaborative authoring system, Questionmark Live was not vulnerable to the bug.

Questionmark’s US OnDemand Service

Questionmark’s European OnDemand Service

  • Questionmark’s European OnDemand Service was not vulnerable to the bug. One related system uses Linux; this was reviewed and there was no way to exploit the vulnerability, but it has been patched in any case.

If you use Linux or OS X on client computers accessing Questionmark’s cloud-based services, there is no vulnerability directly due to use of Questionmark OnDemand, but you should check with your IT department on whether it would be wise to patch or update these client computers.

Questionmark products for on-premise deployment

Questionmark Perception

  • Our behind the firewall product, Questionmark Perception does not require or use GNU Bash and runs on Microsoft Windows which does not usually deploy GNU Bash. This vulnerability will not impact most customer servers for Questionmark Perception. For the small number of customers who use Linux or OS X within your Questionmark Perception environment (for example to run the Perception database or for participants to take assessments), you should work with your IT department to patch the systems. All customers should also check other non-Questionmark systems in your landscape.

If any Questionmark user or customer has questions, please raise them with your Questionmark account manager or with technical support. I hope that this rapid response and transparency highlights our commitment to security.This also illustrates the value of an OnDemand service. Rather than having to rely on internal IT to catch up and patch vulnerable systems, you can delegate this to Questionmark as your service provider.

Watch this video for more about Questionmark’s commitment to security.


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