Questionmark Secure patent granted

Copy of patent grant imageJohn Kleeman HeadshotPosted by John Kleeman

I’m pleased to let you know that Questionmark has been granted a US patent for one of our innovations in our secure browser, Questionmark Secure.

Questionmark was one of the pioneers in secure browsers. A secure or lock-down browser is designed to help organizations provide a secure environment in which to deliver higher stakes assessments such as tests and exams. It helps prevent cheating in an assessment by disabling functions that participants could use to print or copy exam material, “accidentally” exiting a test, or gaining access to materials on their computers or the Internet that could give an unfair advantage.

Here’s a little history on how we got here:

Our first secure browser called Perception Secure Browser was produced in 1999 – you can see the press release here.

This browser, like many current secure browsers, was started up to run a specific test. But many of our customers requested something slightly different – they wanted a participant to be able to use an ordinary web browser to participate in learning courses, navigate through registration screens and/or use a learning management system, and have the secure browser launched automatically once the assessment starts. This would allow the participant to use standard browser capabilities whilst learning or registering – but when security becomes important, have the secure browser take over. Then when the assessment is over, the participant can revert to the normal browser.

Questionmark Secure splash screenThis required some clever technical work to make happen, but in 2003, we introduced  a new secure browser called Questionmark Secure which did exactly this (you can see the press release here). A participant can use a normal browser to navigate through learning or registration screens, and when they reach the secure assessment, Questionmark Secure takes over to make the assessment process secure. Our current Questionmark Secure product, though hugely improved over the 2003 version (!) uses the same concept – originally invented by Eric Shepherd, Paul Roberts and myself.

Because Questionmark Secure used innovatory technology, we filed for a patent on some of the methods and technology used and related to it . It took over 10 years to be granted but Questionmark is proud to have received U,S. Patent Number 9,055,048 recently for this unique invention.  The abstract for the patent reads:

A method for interacting with a user, comprising communicating with at least one cooperative server through a normal browser; automatically receiving encrypted data having an associated received type code indicative of a requirement for a secure browser having restricted functionality with respect to a functionality of the normal browser; selectively and automatically invoking the secure browser for handling of the received encrypted data based on the received type code associated with the received encrypted data; receiving the encrypted data with the invoked secure browser for handling thereof, wherein the received encrypted data is not available for use by the user in the normal browser and the invoked secure browser imposes restrictions on availability outside of the secure browser of decrypted data derived from the encrypted data; and communicating an input from the user, through the secure browser, to the at least one cooperative server.

For Questionmark customers, this patent helps reinforce Questionmark’s role as a leader in computerized assessment.

For more information on Questionmark Secure, see

Questionmark Users Conference: Here’s the Full Program

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

The program for the Questionmark Users Conference in Miami March 14 -17 offers something for every Questionmark Perception user, whether they are just starting out or have been using Perception for many years. Here’s the complete line-up of conference sessions.

The conference will also include opportunities to meet one-on-one with Questionmark product managers and technicians, and to attend networking events.

General Sessions

  • Opening General Session: Conference kick-off
  • Keynote: Dr. David Metcalf on “Assessments on the Move: Mobility, Mashups and More”
  • Closing General Session: The Road Ahead

Customer Case StudiesMiami

  • Integrating Questionmark Perception and SAP for Employment Testing
  • Streamlined Training and Assessment at NPPD: Integrating Perception with SAP Learning Solution
  • Using Flash and Captivate in Questionmark Perception
  • Questionmark Live: Distributing the Workload and Increasing Accessibility
  • Many from One: Creating Hundreds of Questions to QML Import Using Excel
  • Question Bank as a Knowledge Tree: Sowing the Seeds of Knowledge
  • Questionmark in Dental Education: Why, How and Lessons Learned
  • Establishing a Broad National Certification Network Based on Questionmark
  • Questionmark Perception as a Central Component of a Training Strategy
  • Perfecting the Test Through Question Analysis
  • The Cloud School: Learning and Assessment for Underserved People in Brazil

Tech Training

  • Introduction to Questionmark Perception for Beginners
  • Advanced Authoring Techniques Using Authoring Manager
  • Planning Your Migration from Perception v4 to v5
  • Configuring the User Experience and Understanding Templates in Perception v5
  • Analyzing and Sharing Results with Enterprise Reporter
  • Using Perception for Evaluations and Other Types of Surveys
  • Methods for Integrating Perception with Other SystemsDeco Drive, South Beach

Best Practices

  • Item and Test Analysis Analytics
  • Making Your Assessments Available and Accessible to All
  • Questionmark Live Item Writing Workshop: Bring Your Own Laptop!
  • Technical Standards and Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform
  • Conducting Validity Studies within Your Organization
  • Effectively Measuring Knowledge, Skill and Ability with Well-crafted Assessments

Peer Discussions:

  • Strategies for High-Stakes Tests
  • Shaping the Future of ADL SCORM: What’s On Your Wish List?
  • Using Questionmark To Facilitate ROI strategies

Drop-in Demos

  • Options and More Options: Different Ways to Deliver Your Assessments
  • What’s New in Perception Version 5?
  • Tools/Features to Enhance Your Use of Perception

Register for the conference and join us in Miami!

Research Survey for Test Takers: You Can Help


Posted by Greg Pope

I am working with Dr. Bruno Zumbo, professor at the University of British Columbia, on  a research study about the beliefs of people who are waiting to take, or have taken, a certification or licensure examination.

In this initial study we want to document people’s attitudes and beliefs regarding taking these exams as well as issues in the area of certification and licensure testing. This research is designed to help certification and licensing organizations improve high-stakes exams by shedding light on test takers’ perspectives.

To complete our research, we need input from anyone who is planning to take or has already taken a certification or licensing exam. If you are a test taker we thank you in advance for answering a 35-question survey that will take 5 or 10 minutes to complete. This is an opportunity to weigh in on important issues in the testing industry. If you are a test taker, please take the survey!  If you know certification or licensing exam participants, we’d appreciate it if you could encourage them to take it too.

We will report on the results of our research this fall and appreciate your help!