“Globalisation, the digital age and cognitive computing are reshaping and redefining the skills needed to succeed.”

Testing plays a key role in identifying gaps in knowledge and answering questions such as: has someone attained a level of achievement expected to consider them ‘qualified’ at a skill or specialism? Does an individual have the competencies needed to practice a particular profession? Are we hiring the right person for the job? “Imagine what would happen if traditional, well-known, and accepted notions about testing were challenged.” That was the aim of this year’s E-ATP conference (Europe-ATP (E-ATP) is the Regional Division of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP)), at which we were gold sponsors. This is what we took from the sessions:

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

Public interest in building complex algorithms that automatically “learn” and improve from the own operations, or experience (rather than explicit programming) has been growing across all industries, and the assessment world is no different. There’s so much more data than ever before, and utilising this data to aide in online invigilation and marking is becoming an area of keen interest, especially in ways to free us from mundane and repetitive tasks.

The key to success, however, is ensuring that a human touch remains at some point during the assessment process to ensure that the integrity and quality does not diminish.


Since the turn of the century, there has been a great interest in harnessing new technologies to evaluate people more accurately and in more subtle ways. One such area of interest from E-ATP was the use of games to assess levels of competency.

Game-based assessments (GBAs) are a new and rapidly growing approach to assessment for talent identification and evaluation. While playing an online, interactive game, thousands of data points are collected that facilitate the measurement of psychological traits beyond the test takers conscious control. Furthermore, the pace and nature of a game make it much harder for a candidate to fake or distort their responses. When games are specifically developed to examine the cognitive markers that make us different from one another, a more objective assessment result can be achieved.

Assessment and the 21st century workforce

The modern workplace is being transformed by the interplay of technology, geo-politics, demography and social-economic forces. Entire industries and sectors are being transformed and while some are in the ascendant, others must adapt quickly to seize new opportunities to accommodate the changing needs of the workforce. Yet despite these environmental changes and a shift in focus towards skills in assessment, labour gaps for skilled workers exist and many organisations are unable to find the talent that they need.

Explore how curricula, assessment and qualifications are being reformed worldwide to help meet the demands of the 21st century workforce, and the role that technology has in aiding this change, in our Skills of the Future Whitepaper.