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jim_small Posted by Jim Farrell

One of the things I enjoy most about working for Questionmark is attending conferences run by elearning and testing associations. I just returned from the Performance Testing Council Summit in Chevy Case, Maryland, and I must say it was one of the most interesting meetings I have attended.
As an instructional designer with previous companies, I was not aware of the Performance Testing Council. We often struggled to create rigorous yet fair performance tests and felt we were on an island. Little did I know there is a group whose sole purpose is to remove barriers in developing performance tests.
The summit is exactly what you would want from a two-day event –- lots of presentations by people and organizations using performance testing  and time to socialize with thought leaders in the area. The discussions were fascinating and inspiring, bringing together bringing together test developers, program managers, psychometricians and testing providers to talk about the finer points of creating effective performance tests.
While I was scribbling notes, one member said, “We must keep in mind that we are trying to stay faithful to what is being done on the job.” That immediately made me think about our Observational Assessment solution in the latest version of  Questionmark Perception OnDemand. Observational Assessments (sometimes called “Workplace Assessments”) offer a way to assess a participant in their everyday tasks and rate their cognitive knowledge or abilities that would not normally get reflected in answers to a standard assessment. Testing someone actually doing an everyday task in the workplace is certainly one way to achieve that goal of staying faithful to what is being done on the job!
Something else that struck me during the summit was that there really is no single industry  that has mastered performance testing. There were people who represented K-12, military, certification bodies, and large corporations with lots of experience to share.
If you’re interested in performance testing I’d highly recommend you visit the council’s Web site and check out the resources there.