San Antonio-based TrueAbility announced Tuesday its multi-year partnership with Pearson VUE, a global leader in computer-based testing. TrueAbility works with companies to provide automated performance-based skills assessments used to certify test-takers in the workforce.
TrueAbility’s platform gives Pearson VUE the ability to streamline its exam operations as the testing provider delivers certification exams with more focus on performance-based assessments.
“This agreement with TrueAbility will help us deliver a fully integrated and globally scalable performance-based certification program,” said Bob Whelan, president of Pearson Assessments. “With TrueAbility as a partner, we’re now in a position to give our customers an expanded, one-stop-shop experience with cutting-edge technology.”
TrueAbility’s performance-based assessment platform will allow Pearson VUE clients the ability to ensure that their candidates can accurately demonstrate their competencies and skills in a real-world environment. TrueAbility can support a wide range of certification needs across various industries, not just for information technology skills.
The partnership means Pearson can provide an integrated solution using TrueAbility’s automated assessment feature that can create stand-alone performance-based exams or exams that combine performance-based testing with knowledge-based questions, using all of the test design features and flexibility within the Pearson VUE platform.
“Just because you have a certification doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to do the work,” said Frederick Mendler, TrueAbility co-founder and chief executive officer. “Performance-based certifications allow you to see if someone can demonstrate the skills and proficiency in the actual environment. Our automated grading feature means we can deliver this service anywhere in the world via the cloud at a scale and cost that most companies can afford.”
The San Antonio startup was founded in 2012 by former Rackspace employees Mendler, Marcus Robertson, Dusty Jones (who died March 23 from cancer), and Luke Owen, who left the company in 2015. TrueAbility clients include Google, ElasticSearch, Pivotal, VMWare, and the Casualty Actuarial Society.
The founders recognized the demand for a performance-based assessment that could measure skills as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy, the six types of learning objectives that educators set for their students. The need for digital skills-based assessments to size up talent for many kinds of tech jobs meant coming up with a repeatable, scalable way to create new assessments efficiently.
The startup came to market at first focused on creating talent assessments, then pivoted in 2015 to develop its cloud-based platform to support IT certification for enterprises.
“The cost of building out performance-based assessments for different jobs can be costly and time-consuming,” Mendler said. “We’ve created a standard for the development and delivery of performance-based assessments that allows for the scaling of this approach.”
Through the integration of TrueAbility’s performance-based assessment platform into Pearson VUE’s test delivery technology, Pearson VUE clients will gain the ability to ensure that their candidates can accurately demonstrate their competencies and skills in a real-world environment.
“Our automation is what has allowed for the use of standardized performance-based assessment, using a cloud platform to distribute performance-based assessments more efficiently,” Mendler said. “Until TrueAbility, there had not been a standard for performance-based assessments.”
The partnership announcement had been planned to take place at a (now canceled) professional conference this week, Mendler said. As many companies transition temporarily to working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson can use TrueAbility’s platform to enable the proctoring of skill assessments remotely.
“Companies can now deliver assessments remotely or on-site at a professional conference or in the workplace rather than in a traditional testing center,” Mendler said.
TrueAbility has grown to 20 employees who, until recently, were working from the Cubes at the Quonset co-working space near the Pearl Brewery. The startup is looking cautiously at scaling its operations to meet the demand for its platform.
“Demand forced this integration with Pearson to happen,” Mendler said. “The idea of certifications has value in a world that is virtual. It’ll take a while to normalize, but I see virtual skill assessments as the key to the future of our workforce. It will only grow in importance in the future.”
Featured image is of TrueAbility chief technology officer Dusty Jones. He died March 23 from cancer. Courtesy photo.