Microsoft Expands Performance-Based Testing

Microsoft is getting ready to introduce simulation questions, or performance-based testing, to more of its exams.

The company currently has five exams with a performance-based testing (PBT) component, with the sixth expected to hit the market within the next three months. Following that, many more PBT exams are expected to be introduced during the next 15 to 18 months. “We see [performance-based testing] as a major part of our program and reinforced in the exams that we release to the market,” said Rob Linsky, group product manager for IT pro and developer certification at Microsoft.

“In a performance-based testing environment, you actually have to use the technology to demonstrate your skills; you can’t get by with reading and memorizing something,” Linsky said. “It actually discovers and validates real skills.”

PBTs mean an improvement in exam security, as well. Traditional exam items such as multiple-choice, matching, drag and drop, true/false and listing often are stolen and pirated to people who resell that information. But a performance-based testing environment makes it almost impossible to do that. “You might be able to pirate a question, but at the end of the day, in order to get the question right on a performance-based exam, you still have to show that you can perform the task by using the technology,” Linsky said.

Linsky feels that forcing candidates to actually perform tasks is a much more relevant way to measure skills.

Reliability is one of the variables that Microsoft considers when…



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