Automating the creation of customized assessment completion certificates – Q&A

Joan Phaup 2013 (3)Posted by Joan Phaup

I spoke recently with Justin Devine, CIO of The Aurelius Group, a consulting company that works with federal government agencies. Justin and the company’s system administrator, Brandon Funkhouser, will be among the case study presenters at the Questionmark 2014 Users Conference in San Antonio, Texas, March 4 – 7.

The Aurelius Group’s client, a large federal agency, required a solution that would allow the delivery of web-based assessments to a large workforce in support of these objectives:

•    Provide individuals with an objective assessment of their individual strengths and weaknesses coupled with a recommended list of targeted learning interventions based on assessment results and tailored to the individual’s development needs.
•    Provide agency leadership with aggregate reports revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce as a whole.

I’m looking forward to the case study presentation about this and asked Justin for some background on it.

Justin Devine1

Justin Devine

What’s the Aurelius Group?

We are a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that provides services primarily to the federal government.  We offer management consulting with a focus on acquisition and procurement solutions, human capital analytics, and IT solutions around the Microsoft Office 365 platform.

How do you use Questionmark assessments?

One of our principal projects uses Questionmark Perception to deliver assessments to a federal workforce of approximately 4500.  Charged with managing the Federal Government’s buying activities, these employees require a great deal of knowledge about approved regulations, procedures, and rules governing the federal acquisition and procurement process. The cornerstone of this knowledge, spanning over 2000 pages, is the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Considering the breadth of knowledge required of federal acquisition workers, the capability to regularly measure and respond to individual strengths and weaknesses allows participants to focus their development efforts on the areas that are most valuable for each individual. To facilitate this, our program uses diagnostic assessments to provide Targeted Training Recommendations (TTRs) to participants based on topic level benchmarks.  After completing an assessment we use the outcomes to direct them to courses that will shore up their weaknesses. For example, if a user doesn’t reach the cut score for a particular competency, they are immediately led to targeted training recommendations that would help them improve in that area.  We also send them their topic results table, which contains the training recommendations, by email.

How else do you use the information from diagnostic assessments?

We also roll up all the data and give our client information about the entire workforce and subsections of the workforce.  Along with its inclusion in the agency’s strategic human capital plan, leaders can use the data to adjust their HR strategy for hiring, selection and promotion. They can adjust their strategy to leverage their employees’ strengths and correct or minimize the impact of their weaknesses.  If you have a bunch of workers who are strong some areas, you can use that information to balance your hiring criteria. You can also take advantage of the strengths people have instead of just reacting to their weaknesses. This can bring about more efficient use of resources and a better performing workforce.

So where do the completion certificates come in?

To encourage participation in the assessment and the recommended learning opportunities, the agency offers continuing education credits to participants.  In addition, participants are getting recall practice while they take these tests and reinforcing their learning so they deserve some learning credit.  These tests last four to five hours, so people need some encouragement and incentive to take them!  To provide participants with proof of participation, we developed a solution for generating custom completion certificates.

What are you looking forward to at the conference?

This is the first time Brandon and I are participating as presenters, so that’s really exciting for us. Last year we were consumers. Now we hope we will be in a position to help others.

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Congratulations to Anne Dunsmore of CFA Institute on winning a free conference registration in our sweepstakes on Facebook!

You have the opportunity to save $200 on your own conference registration: Just sign up by December 12th to receive this special early-bird discount.

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