Online Testing Streamlines West Virginia’s Service Personnel Competency Testing

05.23.2024 | Credentialing

Meeting state education requirements often requires specialized solutions. NOCTI’s state partnerships help meet these requirements with state-specific assessments and resources, customized online credentialing systems, and more.

One of NOCTI’s state partners, West Virginia, recently revised its Personnel Competency Testing Program to better align with state requirements and ensure a more consistent and equitable testing experience for non-teaching school employees. This revamp of the credentialing program has provided significant benefits for both the test-takers and the districts in West Virginia.

West Virginia Department of Education Partners with NOCTI to Solve a Statewide Problem

A distinctive feature of West Virginia is the legislative requirement that non-teaching school employees must pass a competency test or show a recognized credential to be considered for a job. These service personnel roles are diverse, including positions such as mechanics, cooks, nurses, and payroll supervisors.

As recently as 2021, each school district administered the service personnel competency tests in a paper and pencil format. While traditional in nature, the test administration format presented unique opportunities for improvement.

  • Candidates faced the challenge of preparing for the tests without any specific study guidelines, and only received a pass or fail indication when the test was completed.
  • Districts were responsible for maintaining written records of the candidate’s credential, which introduced the risk of misplaced records and as well as missing out on new job opportunities since the credential is required by the state for certain roles.
  • Candidates also experienced challenges with ADA compliance. For instance, if a candidate required additional time to complete the test, the testing standards lacked the flexibility to accommodate such allowances.

Since WDVE was already partnered with NOCTI for its CTE student credentialing program, Veronica Barron, Coordinator at the Office of Career and Technical Education, said it was an easy choice to bring in NOCTI to digitize testing and unify the database of qualified personnel. “The [NOCTI] platform is easy to navigate, and our district personnel are already comfortable with using the system. NOCTI also has a reputation for maintaining the confidentiality and security of its testing platform.” Barron adds that “NOCTI had knowledgeable staff helping with moving our written and performance tests to an online format. NOCTI provided a how-to guide to distribute to our districts to show the process for using the system.”

Online Administration Improves the Testing Experience

While these tests were initially adopted to demonstrate a candidate’s knowledge and skills, candidates never received detailed feedback on their strengths or weaknesses. The information provided was neither useful nor meaningful to the candidates or the district, serving only to meet the bare minimum state compliance requirements. However, all that has now changed.

The new service personnel credentialing program features 48 customized West Virginia assessments. Though still in its early stages, the program has already demonstrated numerous benefits:

  • Additional resources: study material, information about test length, and the number of questions help set applicants’ expectations.
  • Testing system resources: districts receive a how-to guide, including step-by-step instructions for proctors administering the tests.
  • Online testing options: testing times, text-to-speech, and the testing environment can better accommodate individual needs.
  • Modernized tests: the tests are up-to-date, uniform, standardized, and fair.
  • Immediate scores: after submitting the test, the applicant can not only see their scores but also the areas where they did well and the areas where they need more work.
  • Better traceability: NOCTI’s databases ensure credentialed applicants’ records are maintained.
  • Better security: applicants’ tests and personal data are secure.
  • Test question data: WDVE receives more data on test questions, allowing them to revise the tests with more meaningful questions, or reword questions for better clarity.

One additional benefit is that WVDE has aligned its CTE programs with the service personnel credentials. Students holding CTE credentials can now use those same credentials for service personnel classification without needing to pass an additional competency test.

Partner with NOCTI for Online Testing Services

NOCTI’s online system offers an effective solution for test management and delivery, featuring a comprehensive scoring package. Beyond simply indicating pass or fail, the score reports include individual, group, and comparative analyses, along with the option to download data for further analysis.

If you would like to take a closer look at online test delivery, you can explore our services here. Or, if you have any questions about state testing programs, call 231.796.4890 or send us a message.