The integrity of your tests and test questions is integral to upholding your reputation and standards, as Questionmark Chairman John Kleeman points out in his post: It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
I have put together four tips to help ensure the security of your intellectual property. To find out more about deploying assessments safely, securely and successfully you can download this complimentary white paper: Delivering Assessments Safely and Securely.
1) Create and administer multiple test forms: Rather than having only one form of the assessment being administered, deliver multiple forms of the same exam to help limit item exposure. If one exam form is breached, the other exam forms can stay in circulation.
2) Restrict and control administration of beta test items: Beta testing questions is an important part of high-stakes assessment, ensuring the psychometric quality of questions before they appear on actual assessments. However, it is important to have a well conceptualized beta test model that limits the exposure of newly developed questions to participants. Beta test questions must be administered in secure environments, in similar conditions to the actual exam. This prevents the exposure of new questions before they appear on an actual assessment. Some rejected beta test questions could be considered for use in exam prep materials.
3) Update exam forms periodically: Letting exam forms become stale can over-expose questions to participants, increasing the likelihood of IP theft. Periodically updating exam forms (e.g., annually) can help limit the exposure of questions. Consider retiring old exam forms and turning them into exam prep materials that can be sold to participants.
4) Produce exam prep materials: Making exam prep materials available to participants before an assessment helps dissuade participants from trying to obtain exam questions via illegal means as they will have access to the type of questions that will be asked on the actual assessment.