With nearly two decades of experience in the assessment industry, Peter has unique insights into the ever-changing technological landscape and its impact on CBT.
1. What’s your role at Pearson VUE? What’s your history at Pearson VUE?
I’m the Vice President of Product and Strategy, and I’ve worked for Pearson VUE for 19 years. I spent about eight or nine years as a software developer, writing a lot of code for the systems that support exam programmes and candidates. I like to say that I wrote a little bit of code, but most of the bugs, too.
A few years later I began leading technology and later product strategy. Today, my teams are responsible for incorporating customer feedback into our existing products; working with our development teams on new features and enhancements; and anticipating what our future customers and markets will need in the long term.
2. What’s your particular area of expertise or interest in the testing industry?
With my background, it should be no surprise that I’m fascinated with how technology can improve all aspects of the assessment experience. I know that technology has a lot to offer our testing programmes and candidates in terms of leading to better candidate experiences in the registration and check-in processes, new types of testing, and exciting test designs like performance-based testing.
My team and I also monitor general trends in education and workforce development so that we understand the ways in which assessment can stay relevant.
3. Pearson VUE recently launched OnVUE, its new online proctoring offering. What was your role in this project?
OnVUE has a dedicated team that functions a little bit like a startup. Like the business owner of a startup, my role in launching OnVUE was doing a little bit of everything and a lot of doing whatever it takes to move the ball forward. Some days, that means talking to customers about new ways they might use online proctoring so we can incorporate their perspectives into further development of OnVUE. The next day, I might be helping the team assess options for how to solve a difficult technical problem.
4. Why did the product team reimagine and prioritise work on Pearson VUE’s online proctoring offering?
Our senior executives came to us with a challenge: “What does it take to be the industry leader in online proctoring?” We presented a plan for a product that would create the best candidate experience in online proctoring while still providing oversight through proctors. With OnVUE, we’ve completely rebuilt the candidate experience. This lets us leverage the latest in technology and UX design to remove friction and create the type of experience and interaction that candidates expect from modern software. Everything in the candidate experience in OnVUE is brand new, and it’s a platform on which we can add all sorts of interesting enhancements and features moving forward.
5. What do you hope this new product accomplishes for clients who use online proctoring?
Ultimately, our goal at Pearson VUE is to help our clients assess their candidates wherever they are while meeting the unique needs of that candidate population and exam programme. With OnVUE, we’re introducing a better online proctoring solution that our clients can utilise alongside the world’s largest test centre network and industry-leading company-owned test centres.
Customers shouldn’t have to choose between the best online proctoring solution and all the other computer-based testing delivery models. Pearson VUE can provide the delivery model to meet the needs of whatever candidate population needs our clients want to reach.
6. Describe why OnVUE is an exciting development compared to the way online exams were delivered in the past.
With OnVUE, we’ve removed the requirement of admin rights and a complex installation. Candidates can simply download and test. We are really trying to remove the friction that gets in the way of the candidate proving their knowledge or skills. When you’re already nervous about your exam, you don’t want to struggle with getting the technology to work. You just want a seamless experience, and OnVUE accomplishes that.
OnVUE also incorporates self check-in capabilities, which let us verify a candidate’s identity and their testing environment using artificial intelligence and government ID verification tools, minimising the time it takes to start an exam while maintaining oversight processes.
7. What should a programme consider when thinking about using online proctoring?
In general, we always advise programmes to understand the security levels and risks associated with different delivery models, whether it’s test centre delivery, online proctoring, or client proctored delivery. We typically talk about this in terms of balancing control and access as well as security and flexibility. Ultimately, our team at VUE works to help clients understand how to manage risk based on the specific test, candidate, and risk profiles involved in their programme.
More specifically to OP, we advise our client programmes to educate their candidates or membership about the nature of a “bring your own device” model. We truly believe OnVUE makes it easier than ever for candidates to take exams from anywhere, but it’s important that candidates understand their responsibility for their machines and technology on test day during an online proctored exam. We provide support and tools so that we can minimise technology questions or issues through shared education.
8. What do you see as the future of online proctoring? What changes do you foresee in the computer-based testing industry in general?
In terms of the future of online proctoring, I see a lot of potential for the ways in which artificial intelligence can improve the quality and security of the online proctoring experience in two ways.
First, it lets us leverage machine learning to augment our proctor’s own capabilities to monitor an online proctoring session. Second, AI helps us look at broader patterns across exam deliveries and incorporate facts we know about the exam session beyond what we’re observing through the video of the OP session.
In general, I think AI brings new tools to verify candidates’ abilities and ensure the integrity of the exam experience across the testing industry as a whole.
For most of our candidates, the best outcome from any assessment experience is getting a job, keeping a job, or getting a better job. With an increased emphasis on employability and skills development, I see a bright future for certification and credentialing. The need to verify skills and knowledge will only grow.