‘The most powerful tool in entertainment and business is a great story’

Master storyteller Matthew Luhn’s keynote address to the recent Association of Test Publishers 2017 conference in Scottsdale Arizona challenged 1,300 professionals to rethink the way in which we describe our businesses and organisations to engage and compel our audiences.

It was an enthralling talk and a perfect example of someone able to put into practice the art that they teach.

You might think that a conference of testing and assessment professionals would be unlikely to book a master storyteller from the Disney Pixar studios as their keynote speaker. However, this is to misunderstand a group of people who chose ‘leading the conversation’ as the theme of the conference – a group of people who want to redefine the way in which testing and assessment is viewed across society.


The story of testing and assessment is based on three core values:

  • Fairness
  • Validity
  • Accuracy

The assessment industry wants to share how important these core values are to ensuring that testing and assessment delivers fair outcomes to all candidates, whatever test or assessment they are taking.

Without fair, valid and accurate tests you can’t be certain that the right people are getting to university or becoming doctors, plumbers or hairdressers that you can trust.

Some themes emerged during the conference as being important to all sectors as they look to ensure fairness, validity and accuracy within the testing and assessment process.

These included:

  •  A desire to use technology to automate the process of building, delivering and scoring tests;
  • Using machine learning to bring efficiencies into the testing process and to improve validity and accuracy;
  • Finding ways to fuse human knowledge, experience and expertise with technology, so that effective testing becomes even more efficient;
  • Understanding that candidates are becoming more like consumers and that means they expect more of a customer-centric experience when they take a test

The testing and assessment market is large, complicated and dynamic. The underpinning values will remain core to the industry, but the way in which they will be delivered is starting to change, and disruption is on its way.

At RM Results, we work alongside our customers to ‘lead the conversation’ in e-marking and high-stakes assessment. We continually invest in our RM Assessor product to enable our customers to deliver assessments that are fair, valid and accurate. We also work in partnership with other great companies such as BTL and PSI to provide integrated platforms that deliver tests to thousands of candidates across the world every day. Organisations such as ATP and the e-Assessment Association play a lead role in developing cross-industry forums and ideas that drive innovation and challenge in the industry.

The next chapter in the story of global testing and assessment is sure to contain more innovation, change and disruption as the industry responds to changes in society and technology.

As Matthew Luhn said in his keynote address ‘The Best Story Wins’. I’m sure that with the values of fairness, validity and accuracy at its core, the story of testing and assessment will continue to be a page-turner!