Early-Bird Conference Special Ends Today

Questionmark Conference 2017 is where you will want to be for three intensive days of learning and networking in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 21-24.

Early-bird registration ends TODAY, February 22. This is your last chance to save $100 on this outstanding professional development opportunity.

Why attend?

  • Learn best practices for assessment authoring, delivery and reporting
  • Make the most of Questionmark features and functions
  • Meet with Questionmark technicians and get answers to your questions
  • Influence the product roadmap
  • Network with your peers

See the full conference program & register by the end of the day for early-bird savings!

 

Final Early-Bird Discount Ends Next Week!

Register for Questionmark Conference 2017 by Wednesday, February 22, for a chance to take advantage of of our final early-bird discount.

Register now and save!

Here are some highlights from the agenda:
  • Assessments as Career Development Tools at Caterpillar Inc.
  • BYOL: Next Generation Assessment Authoring Using Demographics and Jump Blocks
  • Secure Authentication: Single sign-on for Questionmark
  • Staying Ahead of Evolving Security Threats
  • Setting a Fair, Defensible Cut (Passing) Scores

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to:

  • Maximize your Assessment Value
  • Harness the Power of your Results
  • Innovate with us on Future Assessment Technologies

Register now for early-bird savings
Book your room at the Inn and Spa at Loretto before Thursday, Feb. 16 to take advantage of our special rates

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 21-24 for our most important learning event of the year!

Seven tips to recruit and manage SMEs for technology certification exams

imagePosted by John Kleeman

How do you keep a certification exam up to date when the technology it is assessing is changing rapidly?

Certifications in new technologies like software-as-a-service and cloud solutions have some specific challenges. The nature of the technology usually means that questions often require very specialist knowledge to author. And because knowledge of the new technology is in short supply, subject matter experts (SMEs) who are able to author and review new items will be in high demand within the organization for other purposes.

Cloud technological offerings also change rapidly. It used to be that new technology releases came out every year or two, and if you were writing certification exams or other assessments to test knowledge and skill in them, you had plenty of notice and could plan an update cycle. But nowadays most technology organizations adopt an agile approach to development with the motto “release early, release often”. The use of cloud technology makes frequent, evolutionary releases – often monthly or quarterly – normal.

So how can you keep an exam valid and reliable if the content you are assessing is changing rapidly? Here are seven tips that could help – a few inspired by an excellent presentation by Cisco and Microsoft at the recent European Association of Test Publishers conference.

  1. Try to obtain item writing SMEs from product development. They will know what is coming and what is changing and will be in a good position to write accurate questions. 
  2. Also network for SMEs outside the organization – at technology conferences, via partners and resellers, on social media and/or via an online form on your certification website. A good source of SMEs will be existing certified people.
  3. Incentivize SMEs – what will work best for you will depend on your organization, but you can consider free re-certifications, vouchers, discounts off conferences, books and other incentives. Remember also that for many people working in technology, recognition and appreciation are as important as financial incentives. Appreciate and recognize your SMEs. For internal SMEs, send thank you letters to their managers to appreciate their effort.
  4. Focus your exam on underlying key knowledge and skills that are not going to become obsolete quickly. Work with your experts to avoid items that are likely to become obsolete and seek to test on fundamental concepts not version specific features.
  5. When working with item writers, don’t be frightened to develop questions based on beta or planned functionality, but always do a check before questions go live in case the planned functionality hasn’t been released yet.
  6. Analyze, create, deliverSince your item writers will likely be geographically spread and will be busy and tech-literate, use a good collaborative tool for item writing and item banking that allows easy online review and tracking of changes. (See https://www.questionmark.com/content/distributed-authoring-and-item-management for information on Questionmark’s authoring solution.)
  7. In technology as in other areas, confidentiality and exam security are crucial to ensure the integrity of the exam. You should have a a formal agreement with internal and external SMEs  who author or review questions to remind them not to pass the questions to others. Ensure that your HR or legal department are involved in the drafting of these so that they are enforceable.

Certification of new technologies helps adoption and deployment and contributes to all stakeholders success. I hope these tips help you improve your assessment programme.

Sneak Peek: Conference Agenda & Special Workshop in Santa Fe

Posted by Julie Delazyn

Certified Performance Technologist Jim Parry

Questionmark Conference 2017 is the place to be for vital info and training on the latest assessment technologies and best practices. This event will give you the tools you need to take your assessments to the next level and harness the power of your results.

Register by February 22 — your final chance to save for early-bird discounts.

This year, we’re offering a special pre-conference session. Advanced Test Item Writing Workshop – Learn how to test more than just knowledge. Join Certified Performance Technologist Jim Parry – an expert user of Questionmark technologies – in this fast paced, high-powered workshop.

What’s on the agenda? Here’s a sneak-peek of what you can expect in Santa Fe March 21-24:

  • Explore the Advanced Editor in Next Gen Authoring
  • Avionics: A hands-on, performance-based certification using Questionmark at SpaceTEC
  • Certifying Services-Oriented Associates at PetSmart
  • Setting a Fair, Defensible Cut (Passing) Scores
  • Staying Ahead of Evolving Security Threats

FBI and Homeland Security advice on trumping cybersecurity attacks

Posted by John Kleeman

There’s a lot in the news recently about possible cybersecurity attacks on the political process. Here are some thoughts on how we can learn from this and apply it to assessment security.

One of the most interesting documents I’ve read on this subject is the Department of Homeland Security and FBI’s joint analysis report  JAR-16-20296 titled GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity.  This presents evidence on how a cybersecurity attack was made on a US political party in 2016 and gives some practical advice on how others can set up their systems to avoid such attacks.

Whoever the attack was performed by (and there has been some debate about this), the practical advice is useful to anyone who wants to improve their security. I was particularly struck by a section in the report which offered questions to ask your organization to see if they have good cybersecurity practices. I’ve taken the liberty of including the questions in the graphic below:

See Grizzly Steppe report for text here

I’ve shared various sets of security questions in this blog, including Eight ways to check if security is more than skin deep and 24 midsummer questions to ask your assessment software provider, but here are some questions from a very credible source!

I’d encourage you to pose these questions within your organization and with your suppliers to check that you are well protected in case of a cyberattack. Questionmark, like all sensible organizations, believes in continuous improvement in our security, and listening to sources like this analysis informs our improvement.

I hope highlighting the report and these questions helps strengthen your defenses against cybersecurity and acts as a guide in choosing your vendors.

Hurry! Early-Bird Registration Ends Today

Posted by Julie Delazyn

Today is the last day to save on your registration for Questionmark Conference 2017… And seats are going fast!

Take advantage of the early-bird discount and save $200, if you sign up by the end of the day!

Aside from some fantastic social events that are designed to assist you in networking with other assessment professionals, we have a jam packed agenda covering topics such as:

  • Avionics: A hands-on, performance-based certification using Questionmark at SpaceTEC
  • Assessments as Career Development Tools at Caterpillar Inc.
  • Explore the Advanced Editor in Next Gen Authoring
  • Why Use Performance-Based Testing? Why Test at All?
  • Test Security for Grown-Ups: Enhancing exam integrity through proctoring, recording and monitoring

Bring your colleagues! Group discounts are available. Save up to $200 for additional registrants.

So meet us in enchanting Santa Fe, New Mexico March 21-24 leap into the future of assessment and authoring!

Book your room at the boutique Inn and Spa at Loretto at our special rate, while they are still available. Rates expire February 17, 2017.

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