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The Benefits of Managing Test Irregularities with Tech (Guest Interview)

Posted by Walt Drane, Ed.S.

updated over a week ago


Recording and reporting testing irregularities is a daunting task—even for experienced test coordinators and administrators. So we set out to find what's worked best for others in managing and reporting test security incidents. Ryan Kuykendall—District Test Coordinator and Director of Accountability & Research for Desoto County Schools in Mississippi—shares his district's method of tracking, analyzing, and reporting incidents, and explains why utilizing technology has worked best for his team.

Table of Contents

  1. The Biggest Challenges in Recording & Reporting Incidents
  2. Why Transition from Paper-Forms to a Technology-Driven Platform
  3. The Greatest Benefit of Utilizing Technology to Track Incidents
  4. The Most Valuable Data During Test Administration
  5. The Benefits of Filtering Incidents
  6. How Tracking Incidents through Technology Fulfills Unique User Needs

Challenges in Recording & Reporting Incidents

Drane: What are the biggest challenges and/or frustrations you have faced in the past with the process of recording and reporting test security incidents during spring testing?  

Kuykendall: The STC (state testing coordinator) is typically the main one that has most of the information. Therefore, going back and forth with them to get everything needed can be challenging during testing, which is already such a busy time anyway. Then when you add the step of the DTC (district testing coordinator) being the middleman between the STC and the state department, that increases the challenge.

Why Transition from Paper- to Technology-Based Reporting

Drane: What inspired you to begin using a technology platform to manage security incidents?

Kuykendall: Since this is a Mississippi Department of Education requirement, we needed to adhere. However, I prefer using a technology collection process over a paper-form collection process. Our state department presented Caveon Core as an option, and we immediately saw how this cut out a significant step from the previous physical (non-technology-based) method.

The Benefit of Utilizing Technology for Incidents

Drane: What (if anything) do you find most helpful about using a technology platform to track security incidents during testing?

Kuykendall: It made things much easier by taking out the middle step of physically trying to get this information from the STC originally, then getting anything else that is needed added to the report, then getting it physically from the STC again, and then getting it physically to the Mississippi Department of Education. And all of this during such a busy time.

Valuable Data During Test Administration

Drane: What kind of data do you value the most during test administration? What are you keeping your eye on in Core? How does Core facilitate your knowledge of what's happening in the district?

Kuykendall: Being able to export a .csv of all irregularities so you can filter by anything you need is very valuable and important. It makes finishing testing in the testing systems much easier. It also allows you to see adjustments that must be made for next year's testing plan.

The Benefits of Filtering Incidents by Schools or Categories

Drane: Can you recall a memorable or notable experience you've had while using technology to track test security incidents?

Kuykendall: Being able to quickly see how many test irregularities a particular school or category has is very important. Having that allows you to make critical adjustments during the current test window.

How Technology Can Fulfill Unique User Needs

Drane: Core was built to be flexible and adaptive to users, meaning that individuals can transform their own work environments to function for their unique needs. Can you describe what makes your use of Core unique?

Kuykendall: A state user can see from the top down, so it makes knowing what incidents are occurring in the state much easier to “see” and manage at the state level. My view and use case are a bit different at the district level. I've utilized Core uniquely by exporting reports, and then being able to filter. It is crucial to us since we are the largest district in Mississippi. Additionally, this information is necessary to us closing out testing in online systems with many different schools and varied situations.


Walt Drane, Ed.S.

Walt Drane is an experienced K-12 large-scale assessment professional with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. In his role at Caveon, he is a strong business development professional who is skilled in the unique area of test security. His former experiences include serving as the Executive Director of the Offices of Assessment and District and School Performance for the Office of Accountability at the Mississippi Department of Education. There, he provided continued oversight and development over assessments in mathematics and English Language Arts for grades 3-8, science in grades 5 and 8, end-of-course high stakes assessments in the areas of Algebra I, English II, Biology I, and U.S. History, and alternate assessments for those students in grades 3-8 and 12 who have significant cognitive disabilities. He also led Mississippi’s Test Security Unit at the department of education and has led multiple large-scale investigations throughout the State of Mississippi to ensure the validity and reliability of state-wide assessment results. Mr. Drane has spoken at several national and international venues on various assessment topics, including the National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA), National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), the Conference on Test Security (COTS), Association of Test Publishers (ATP), and European Association of Test Publishers (E-ATP). Mr. Drane has also served as a high school assistant principal, athletic director, and elementary and middle school teacher. He holds a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations, a Certificate in Criminal Justice and Corrections, a Master’s degree in Education, and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership.

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About Caveon

For more than 18 years, Caveon Test Security has driven the discussion and practice of exam security in the testing industry. Today, as the recognized leader in the field, we have expanded our offerings to encompass innovative solutions and technologies that provide comprehensive protection: Solutions designed to detect, deter, and even prevent test fraud.

Topics from this blog: Test Security Consulting Investigating Security Incidents K-12 Education Monitoring Test Administration Detection Measures Test Security Plan