During the 19th century, French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust – the author of
In Search of Lost Time
— created a parlor game that involved filling out a questionnaire to get to know the "true nature" of dinner guests. Since then, his questions have been answered thousands of times all around the globe.
Industry Insider
is the Testing Industry's take on Proust's game - an opportunity to get to know our colleagues just a little bit better.
Where do you work and what is your job title?
Mississippi Department of Education, Executive Director of Student Assessment and District-School Performance
How long have you worked in a job that involves test security?
Six years
Why do you think test security is important?
 Test securi
ty is important to ensure the validity of test scores, which are used by various stakeholders to make many decisions in the K-12 education sector.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
While I really enjoy training District Test Coordinators on the topic of test security, my favorite part of the job is auditing during operational assessment administrations to ensure test security processes and procedures are being followed in practice.
What is the biggest challenge to test security today?
Our state has shifted from the paper/pencil mode of testing to the online mode of testing, which brings a new set of test security concerns. In my professional opinion, long testing windows, which are typically four to five weeks, are the biggest threat in Mississippi. Item exposure and extra instruction on tested content to students who have not yet tested causes unfair advantages. These test security concerns keep me up at night.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge to test security 20 years from now?
As technology advances, I see the assessment development process changing too. Stealth testing in the form of games will likely be the fundamental shift in K-12 education. Maintaining test security on stealth assessments will require new research and development, from state-required protocols to data forensics.
Why do you think people outside of this industry should care about test security?
 The validity of test scores! A test security incident threatens the integrity of the assessment and could undermine or damage the validity of the assessment results and all decisions based on those results.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Earning the Colin Powell Award presented by Our Community Salutes (OCS). The Colin Powell Award, named after General Colin Powell, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a public service award that is presented to high school counselors in recognition of providing guidance, counseling, and mentoring for students as they assess their accomplishments, talents, and interests as they move forward in their lives. The award is provided to one guidance counselor in each local organization. It represents all counselors within the school’s program whose service, compassion, and commitment serve as an example for all of us.
If you could choose one superpower to help you in your quest to keep tests safe, which superpower would you choose?
The power to be invisible!
What is one thing that is sitting on your desk right now that is completely unrelated to work?
Men’s Health Magazine
What workplace skill do you wish you were better at?
Data analytics
What is your lunchtime routine?
Because test security work is so unpredictable, I choose to eat lunch early, usually at 11:00 AM. It’s better to eat when you can than not at all! Test security investigations can go late into the night.
What characteristic do you most value in a friend/colleague?
What characteristic do you most dislike in a friend/colleague?
Lack of commitment
What words or phrases do you think are most overused in life and/or in the workplace?
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Radio scanning – I enjoy listening to radio communication such as police, fire, air, HAM, etc.
Which person (alive, dead and/or fictional) do you most admire?
Harry S. Truman
What is your favorite book or writer?
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
by General Stanley McCrystal, U.S. Army (Ret.)
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A cat, so I could legitimately be lazy and it would be ok!
What is your motto?
 Effort equals success.  
Walt Drane
Executive Director of Student Assessment and District School Performance, Mississippi Department of Education
Walt Drane, Mississippi Department of Education
March Edition
Industry Insider:
Walt Drane
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Interested in learning more about how to secure your testing program? Want to contribute to this magazine? Contact us.
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