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Z. Agatha Klaxovox, Intergalactic Test Security Specialist
Excellence Edition
Ask Agatha
Dear Agatha,
I’m VP of Training at my company. We recently decided to create a certification program to complement our state-of-the-art training program. Our team is committed to excellence and has won industry awards for innovation in training; however, we don’t have experience developing high-stakes exams. We don’t want to create a run-of-the-mill certification program – we want something more, something that reflects our dedication to quality.

What do you recommend? What’s the recipe for success?

Dedicated in Denver
Dear Dedicated,

While there is no one way to achieve success, begin by understanding the Standards of Testing. After that—with a little experience under your belt—you will be able to create your own recipe based on your program’s budget and goals. In the meantime, we aliens have a recipe we’d love to share with you! This recipe yields trustworthy test results and contented item creators:
2 Cups – Great Content
Pro Tip: Training material should be developed before exam development, not after. And if training material is developed during exam development, ensure communication channels are open between trainers and exam developers.  1 Tbs – SmartItems
These items are “smart” in that they do much more than traditional test items. Created and delivered with special technology, they change upon each administration of the test and are built to cover the skill being measured completely. Programs that want to prevent cheating and test theft, and that want candidates to learn the construct more broadly and deeply, are using this new question format. 1 Tsp – Creativity
Allow your team of subject matter experts to get creative when writing test questions. After they understand the exam’s purpose, audience, and the standards, give them freedom to creatively approach the skill being measured.
Best of luck, Dedicated. The alien race is rooting for you.
Ask Agatha is an advice column written by Z. Agatha Klaxovox. Agatha is an intergalactic test security specialist who is only too happy to offer advice on what we should be doing here on earth. To submit a question to Ask Agatha, email Questions will remain 100% confidential.