The Prevention Lockbox
Kelli Foster, Ph.D., Caveon Test Security
The Cornerstone of Test Security:
The Power of Everyday Preventative Measures
Kelli is a testing professional known for innovation. She has worked at all levels of exam development: exam stakeholder, psychometrician, exam designer, item developer/writer/editor/reviewer and facilitator. In each role, the paradigm she extols is that exam development is the vehicle by which other security solutions are realized. Prior to Caveon, Kelli designed and developed exams in both education and in high-stakes certification programs. Her experience in exam development and teaching coupled with her interest in learning theory has made her uniquely qualified to create exam development systems and processes that produce quality exams.
You might also like...
More Reads
Whether remote or on-site, paper- or computer-based, "proctoring" isn't new to our field. But with all this new technology emerging, what changes and enhancements can we expect for our proctoring friends, and how can we better support them on their heroic quest?
Smokey Bear has promised us that we can prevent most wildfires. Retail stores have guaranteed us their surveillance cameras will catch thievery. But what does the exam security process pledge to your testing program?
I am a psychologist working in the field of exam security, and Jung’s tenet caught my attention. While Jung’s observation may not directly apply to exam security, I took it a step further and wondered if preventing security concerns were cramping my life. So, I decided to conduct a simple investigation to find out. For one day, I listed those actions that could be classified as having security prevention underpinnings:
"Protection and security are only valuable if they do not cramp life excessively."
- Carl Jung
The List
- Use an alarm clock
- Floss, brush teeth
- Swish enamel-building rinse
- Run on treadmill
- Row for 5 minutes on newly acquired rowing machine (core strength is so important)
- Wash hands
- Take vitamins, calcium, fiber chews, and baby aspirin
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Check expiration date on milk carton
- Drink disgusting-looking green/brown smoothie
- Place un-drunk smoothie in fridge
- Rinse dishes and place in dish washer
- Clean the kitchen countertop
- Bathe
- Apply sunscreen
- Wear glasses
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear snow gear (scarf, gloves, hat, coat)
- Clear snow
- Scatter snowmelt pellets on walkways
- Lock house
- Lock car
- Lock property gate
- Check traffic advisories
- Check weather and road forecasts
- Watch for deer on road
- Obey speed limit
- Watch for Highway Patrol
- Initiate updates to iphone, ipad, computer
- Use passwords
- Use stronger passwords
- Back up computer data
- Cough/sneeze into sleeve
- Empty trash
- Make appointment for annual checkup
- Pay bills
- Throw out left-over smoothie
- Gather information for a personal will
Join our mailing list
Copyright© 2019 Caveon, LLC.
All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Interested in learning more about how to secure your testing program? Want to contribute to this magazine? Contact us.
With that “final” entry, I ended the study (even though it was just early afternoon). I was, after all, feeling a bit cramped. And although short-lived, my investigation did result in an “aha” or two:

1. I spend a lot of time preventing stuff.

This makes sense. In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety and security (personal, emotional, financial, health/well-being) are foundational, and must be satisfied before focusing on higher needs. Achieving “safety” takes time because of its importance, and because not everything I did was effective.

2. I protect what I value.

Maybe I could avoid cramping by simplifying things, by clarifying what is truly of greater value, and expending effort accordingly (i.e., health, property).

Every day, I protect my mouth by flossing and brushing my teeth to prevent cavities and to avoid subsequent unwelcomed visits to my dentist's office; I wash my hands to prevent germs from spreading and to protect my health; I apply sunscreen to prevent the sun from harming me, and to protect my skin; I lock my house and car to prevent unwanted guests and to protect my family. Each of these things is of the utmost importance to me.

3. Sometimes fear is the motivating factor.

I would like to remove the "fear brain" from my personal protection equation. But, it motivates positive action, so maybe it has earned its keep.
These insights might apply to testing programs as well. Some possible takeaways:
    • Exam security takes time.
      • Practices change and are often ineffective, so it takes even more time.
    • Protect what is of value.
      • Don't use resources on what is not of value. Prioritize, then act accordingly.
Engaging in exam security practices for "legal defensibility" reasons (rather than for preventing invalid test scores) is not the most noble of reasons. But if fear of being sued results in a program protecting its exam scores, them maybe that is okay. After all, exam protection and security are valuable, even when they cramp a program's lifeas long as exam score validity is a priority.
"Protect what is of value... Prioritize, then act accordingly."
"Exam protection and security are valuable, even when they cramp a programs life—as long as exam score validity is a priority."