I just returned from the 2017 Innovations in Testing conference in Scottsdale, AZ, organized by the Association of Test Publishers.  This is one of my favorite conferences because it contains a compelling blend of ingredients – quality psychometrics, innovative technology, and the business of assessment – and the 2017 edition definitely did not disappoint.

This year I was joined by four of my colleagues:

  • Dave Saben – CEO
  • Tom Padden – Head of Growth
  • Andrew Lunstad – VP of Partnerships
  • Kat Stanley, MA PMP – Partner Support Manager

Our agenda was quite full, as would be expected with such a gravitational nexus of the testing industry.  In addition to sponsoring the conference and holding a booth in the Exhibit Hall, we met with a number of current and future partners, held a BBQ at our AirBnb house, attended plenty of presentations, and gave 4 presentations of our own.  Here’s a rundown of this year’s happenings:

Takeaways of the conference

We attended presentations on a variety of topics, and it was evident that AI and Big Data are playing an increasingly impactful role in our field.  We are excited to be on the forefront of that; we’ve been doing Machine Learning since the 1970s, long before that term became en vogue.  Much of our current innovation effort is focused on automation of psychometrics, such as automated creation of NCCA Accrediation Reports and Classical Test Theory Reports.

Exhibit Hall

ATP organized an exhibit hall for the testing conference on Monday and Tuesday, and we had a great high-traffic location near the center of the room (between two food serving areas, which is always nice!).  In addition to the normal handouts, we distributed scorpion suckers and gave away a Google Home device, a nod towards our love of AI and machine learning.

BBQ

We held an informal dinner at our AirBnb house one night, with about 30 friends and partners.  We brought in some of the best BBQ in town (Joe’s) and relaxed by a poolside fire until the desert evening got too cold.  It was a great opportunity to chat with old friends and meet some new ones.

ASC’s Presentations

ASC was grateful for the opportunity to speak 4 times about the innovations we are making in the testing industry – certainly a great fit, given the title of the conference.

Tech-Enhanced Items: How Can They Provide Better Measurement?

Nathan Thompson and Andrew Lunstad from ASC, and Paul Jaquith from ACTVET, discussed tech-enhanced items from a psychometric and software design perspective, evaluating their impact on the ultimate goal: improving measurement.

Sift & Winnow: Options For Data Forensics

Nathan Thompson from ASC, and Joy Matthews-Lopez from Professional Testing Inc., discussed methodologies and software to help detect instances of test fraud, and what to do about it if you find anything worth investigating.

FastTest: A Configurable System for Cross-Sector Assessment

Andrew Lunstad and Dave Saben demonstrated FastTest, a secure, cloud-based platform uniquely designed to improve any type of assessment, from certification to pre-employment to education to psychology.

SIFT: Innovating Data Forensics

Nathan Thompson demonstrated SIFT, an innovative program designed as a cost-effective option for detecting test fraud and other threats to validity, such as low motivation.

 

If you are interested in any of these topics and did not connect with us at the conference, please contact solutions@54.89.150.95.  We are already looking forward to next year’s conference!

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nthompson

Nathan Thompson earned his PhD in Psychometrics from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on computerized adaptive testing. His undergraduate degree was from Luther College with a triple major of Mathematics, Psychology, and Latin. He is primarily interested in the use of AI and software automation to augment and replace the work done by psychometricians, which has provided extensive experience in software design and programming. Dr. Thompson has published over 100 journal articles and conference presentations, but his favorite remains https://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=16&n=1.

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