the e-Assessment Association

The latest test delivery trends- a blog from PSI Services

The latest test delivery trends- a blog from PSI Services

We have seen that while the changing environment around us might pose threats, it can also present opportunities. And when we work together to adapt and innovate, it’s possible to get in front of expected change – while putting ourselves in the best possible position to respond to unexpected events.

Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball. But what we do have is almost as good – data, insights, and a team of experts to take you through:

  1. What PSI testing data shows us about test delivery trends
  2. Test delivery insights from our own market research
  3. Advances in test delivery to get in front of trends and meet changing needs

“There’s a lot of discussion in the testing industry around trending topics such as AI and new technology – quite rightly. But we do need to look at the data and the processes we have in place before instigating massive change. We must leverage technology and embrace the opportunities, while maintaining human oversight at every stage of the process.”

Isabelle Gonthier, PhD, ICE-CCP | Chief Assessment Officer, PSI

Test Delivery Trends in PSI Testing Data

The move to secure remote testing

Before 2021, our testing data shows a slow but steady move from in-person testing to secure remote testing (with either Record & Review or Live Online Proctoring). It comes as no surprise that this move to online proctoring accelerated dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what we have seen since test centers reopened later in 2021 and into 2022 is revealing. While there was a move back to in-person testing, this falls considerably short of pre-pandemic levels.

It seems that while many organizations were forced to switch to remote testing in 2020, they have reconsidered their pre-pandemic test delivery strategies and are choosing not to go back.

The power of choice with multi-modal

Our test center and secure remote testing data only tells part of the story. Testing organizations aren’t just switching from in-person testing to online proctoring, they are moving towards multi-modal testing options that give test takers more choice.

Do test takers want to use the facilities of a test center? Or do they want the flexibility and convenience of testing at home or in the office? Testing organizations are leaving the decision to their test takers, giving them the option of both.

In 2020, just 16% of PSI certification clients had adopted multi-modal testing. In 2023 this increased to 33%. It is significant that 55% of PSI certification test takers choose to test in person when given the choice. This shows the importance of providing remote and physical testing options. Many test takers still prefer in-person testing, unless their access to a test center is limited, particularly for high stakes testing

To OP or Not to OP?

The move to online proctoring (OP) or multi-modal testing is an individualized and important decision for any testing program. And the PSI team has supported multiple clients through this process. There’s no one size fits all answer, and that’s why we continue to offer testing both in-person across our test center network and remotely with online proctoring.

Here are some of the reasons testing programs choose to remain with in-person testing.

Online proctoring…

  • is still seen as less secure than in-person testing.
  • excludes segments of the population that do not have a computer, good internet connection, or a quiet place to take a test.
  • can be an issue for tests that require supplementary materials, such as a support book, plan set, or other resources.

However, there are many reasons why testing programs choose to switch to remote testing, or offer test takers a choice with multi-modal:

  • Online proctoring provides access in isolated locations where a permanent test center is not economically viable.
  • Multi-modal increases accessibility to testing for increased numbers and more diverse groups of test takers.
  • Both online proctoring and multi-modal offer more flexibility for your test takers and your testing programs – scale-up or scale-down as needed.

Growing acceptance of online proctoring

As online proctoring technology has improved, it has gained wider acceptance among testing organizations and test takers alike.

As test takers become more familiar with online proctoring, comfort levels are increasing and many are coming to expect remote testing as an option from their test sponsor. So much so that when given the choice, nearly half of PSI certification test takers opt to take a test remotely with online proctoring rather than travel to a test center. Equally, over half of PSI certification test takers still choose to test in person when given the option. This highlights the need for testing organizations to have both an online and physical presence, to meet the evolving needs of their test takers.

For multi-modal certification programs, the split between remote and in-person testing volumes seems to have stabilized. For licensure, remote testing volumes are steadily increasing.

Differences in data

There are differences in our testing data between industries and sectors.

For example, the move to remote testing was less striking and has been slower for our licensure clients. In 2019, 99.97% of licensure testing was in a test center. This dropped to 84% in 2021, with further decreases to 82% in 2022 and 80% in 2023.

However, we are also seeing more licensure clients exploring the potential that lies in multi-modal testing. Between 2020 and 2023 the percentage of PSI licensure clients adopting multi-modal testing increased from 7% to 22%.

The picture in certification is slightly different. In 2019, 95% of testing was in a test center. This dropped to 59% in 2021, with further decreases to 56% in 2022 and 53% in 2023. In both certification and licensure testing the percentage of tests taken in a test center is still dropping, as even more organizations move to secure remote testing.

Download our guide Trends in Test Delivery to learn more.

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