VUE Point The latest news, innovations, and technology
Q1 2019

The Global VUE

Welcome to VUE Point!

Welcome to the first edition of VUE Point, Pearson VUE’s global quarterly newsletter! As we celebrate our 25th year serving clients and candidates in the assessment industry, it is the perfect time to launch our reimagined industry newsletter.

Designed to bring you informative and entertaining perspectives on topics relevant to computer-based testing, we’ll provide you with actionable and thought-provoking information from your trusted Pearson VUE team of experts, our world-renowned clients, and key influencers in our field.

Inside this first edition, we bring you articles about innovative services and our expanding channel to help you maximize your computer-based testing program. From determining whether it’s time for you to do a program evaluation (hint: it likely is!) to learning how to leverage the animated scenarios item type, this edition brings you clear, sensible information to maximize your assessment program’s potential this year.

I hope you enjoy this first issue and that VUE Point becomes an anticipated arrival in your inbox every quarter. Be sure to let us know if there are other topics you’d like us to cover or if you’d like to be a contributor in the future. We’d love to have you.

Happy reading,

Nancy Jerdee
Global Vice President, Marketing
Pearson VUE

Celebrating 25 years of Pearson VUE

Hello friends and colleagues in the assessment industry,

I want to share an important milestone the Pearson VUE family is celebrating this year. We’ve been lucky enough to work with you in the assessment space for 25 years!

A milestone like this gives us an opportunity to reflect on the last few decades, and while so much has changed in our industry, one thing has remained constant, and it’s the thing we’re most proud of: our long-standing partnerships with each of you, our clients and partners across the world.

We’re incredibly honored to work with you; you play a critical role both across assessment programs and within our larger industry. Together, we’ve driven innovation and growth across virtually every industry, from academia and admissions to IT and healthcare.

We’ve accomplished so much with you, and we look forward to accomplishing even more in the years to come.

Thank you, again, for allowing us to serve as your trusted partner. Here’s to the next 25 years!

Bob Whelan
President, Pearson Assessments

Insights & Innovations

A new way to test: Leveraging animated scenarios in licensure and certification exams

While standard item types — the bread and butter of a computer-based exam — are proven to effectively measure a test-taker’s knowledge and ability to safely perform as a professional in a given subject area, a new item type has emerged that may help you test your candidates’ skills more accurately and provide a richer framework for candidates to respond to.

Enter animated scenarios, short animated videos embedded within the test that portray real-life simulations to the candidate. When the candidate analyzes and responds to the behavior of and interactions between the people in the animation, they demonstrate their ability to react to emotion, tone of voice, body language, and other circumstances they will encounter in their real practice.

Not only do animated scenarios better measure a test-taker’s capacity to respond correctly to real-life situations in the field, but they also make it harder for candidates to cheat on an exam. Some animations provide exam developers with a wealth of opportunity for writing items, so creating only a few animations can lead to myriad items for your test.This multifaceted content creation helps the exam content to live longer, so to speak.

Although animated scenarios are an exciting new way to test, it must be said that they can require special attention to ensure they meet the needs of candidates who need testing accommodations. While screen readers are provided and the individual can replay the animation as many times as they’d like, this could potentially impact the candidate’s time on the exam.

At the end of the day, animated scenarios are an exciting item type because they keep candidates engaged throughout the exam. Animated scenarios are disrupting the status quo by providing a more dynamic item type to test candidate knowledge. 

Interested in learning more about animated scenarios? Please contact your business development manager or email

Making it Happen

Four reasons to complete a Program Evaluation

It is only through evaluation that value exists: and without evaluation the nut of existence would be hollow. Hear it, you creators!

Friedrich Nietzsche

Looking to create more value in your exam program? A program evaluation can be completed at any stage of the exam development process. For those starting from scratch, it provides an invaluable opportunity to build a solid foundation for your exam program. And if you’re looking to grow your program, this process enables a period of reflection to ensure a test still serves its main purpose: assessing a desired set of skills in a fair, valid, reliable, and secure way.

Why complete a program evaluation?

  1. Maintain a defensible and reliable exam
  2. Ensure that exam content reflects the intended purpose of the exam
  3. Provide investment rationalization to stakeholders
  4. Support an accreditation application

When you’re considering making changes to your exam, it is vital to understand the nuances of your program, such as the strength of your candidate volume or the depth of your item bank, in order to maximize the benefits of a new design.

Delivering one test form to 50 people a year is very different from administering five exam forms to 14,000 people, which is also very different from delivering an exam with a more complex item-selection design, such as adaptive or LOFT (linear-on-the-fly testing). Completing a program evaluation allows you to understand how the item development and psychometric processes would need to evolve to support a larger exam program. For example, if you deliver a paper-based exam one day a year and want to deliver the exam in a computer-based testing format that leverages on-demand delivery dates, a formal evaluation can identify (1) the psychometric techniques that would enhance the security and comparability of scores across multiple exam forms, and (2) the item development processes that support those psychometric techniques.

Similar to how you would do a home inspection or schedule a doctor’s appointment, it is just as valuable to complete an evaluation as you build your program as it is to routinely re-evaluate your long-standing program. Everything might be running smoothly, but evaluating it gives you the transparency to identify any weak points that might need an adjustment in the future.

So what exactly is involved in a program evaluation?

  1. Contact your Pearson VUE program manager to arrange a meeting with our leading psychometricians.
  2. Describe the exam program and your goals.
  3. Provide written documentation regarding your processes (item inventory and development, non-disclosure agreements, and style guide, for example).
  4. Our subject matter experts will review and report on potential improvements or suggestions.

Whether you currently run a computer-based exam or you are thinking about transitioning from paper and pencil, there is tangible value in integrating program evaluations into your process to ensure that your greatest asset — your exam — is performing how you expect it to. Put your organization’s best foot forward when certifying the future leaders of the next generation.

In the Spotlight

Starting from scratch: A case study on launching a new certification

In the last ten years, we’ve seen a rise in concern surrounding the prospect of a nuclear terrorist event across the world. In 2008, through the leadership of United States Senator Sam Nunn and with the support of other senior international leaders in the field of nuclear security, WINS, the World Institute for Nuclear Security, was established.

In the first few years following its establishment, WINS developed quickly, cultivating key partnerships internationally, becoming a forum for exchange and promotion of best practices in nuclear security and, as a member-driven organization, serving its members as a vital forum for nuclear security. In 2014, WINS launched the WINS Academy program — a one-of-a-kind global certification program to help individuals demonstrate competence in nuclear security. After all, “[if] we expect certification from our doctor and our lawyer, why wouldn’t we expect that the people who are responsible for the security of nuclear and other radioactive material be certified, as well”?1

Of course, the threat environment for nuclear and other radioactive material is constantly evolving, making it increasingly important that professional development for the nuclear security sector is accessible to people around the world. To that end, WINS chose to work with Pearson VUE to develop and deliver its certification program via computer-based testing. With a global network of secure test centers, “[Pearson VUE] provides the flexibility of delivery anywhere in the world and enables you to reach a pool of people that are miles away from your base,” notes head of The WINS Academy, Rhonda Evans.

Computer-based testing provides a solution to the challenges a small NGO like WINS would otherwise face in trying to grow a global program. For a relatively new certification program, they’re already seeing global impact. The WINS Academy has more than 1,100 participants from 80 countries, with 336 already having achieved full certification.

Our dynamic geopolitical environment requires that organizations like WINS commit to developing relevant learning and certification programs to develop the next generation of nuclear security professionals. The WINS program, with its nascent success, makes a substantial contribution to the global certification market as well as improving the security of the world for future generations.

Certified Nuclear Security Professional (CNSP) Career Report (2017).

PPCs galore: Expanding our footprint around the world

Your testing programs have global impact, helping candidates around the world demonstrate their skills and knowledge to move forward in their professional lives. We work hard to develop and enhance our network of highly secure test centers to enable your global program goals. Since July 2017, we’ve built 41 new Pearson Professional Centers across the United States and Canada, as well as expanded 25 existing PPCs by adding more seats.

A significant portion of this recent build-out was focused in Canada, where we doubled our PPC footprint by adding 13 small sites for a total of 24 sites across the country.

In fact, our channel is always evolving as we work to meet the changing needs of our clients to provide access to distributed test center locations for our global candidates. Since 2014, we’ve added 1,400 new seats to our PPC channel in the Americas. If you’re keeping track, that represents 5 million new seat hours, bringing total seat hours to 18 million in America each year.

But our PPC expansion efforts aren’t just focused on North America. We have also pursued major expansion efforts in both India and Australia. In 2018, we opened nine sites in India — six of which were in entirely new markets — and five additional sites across Australia — three of which were in entirely new markets — providing far more coverage to our Pearson Test of English candidates as well as other clients who test in PPCs in those regions.

Our channel expansion work is a continued effort to support our clients’ capacity and geographical needs. Ultimately, continuing to build out our channel increases candidate access, giving your candidates increased opportunity and convenience to pursue their certification goals.

Start seeing the value of increased testing opportunities for your candidates. Learn more about our Pearson Professional Centers >