Professional Development

Prometric seeks innovation in the assessment industry through Finetune acquisition

Plus, Prometric’s chief assessment officer offers tips on how to break into the assessment industry.

Nikki Eatchel, chief assessment officer of Prometric.

(Courtesy photo)

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes and assessments. That’s why, despite a market that’s leaving tech CEOs in tears as they lay off employees, Canton-based Prometric was been able to finish the acquisition of Boston-based Al-assisted assessment and learning technology firm Finetune earlier this month.

Prometric works with leading certifying bodies, educational institutions and governmental organizations to develop and deliver assessments throughout the world. Whenever a professional like a nurse, accountant or electrician needs to take a test for a license or certification, a company like Prometric had a hand in making it. In the wake of the pandemic and the rise of remote work, the company has seen a surge in organizations requiring remote assessments. Prometric CEO and President Roy Simrell said in a statement that the acquisition “represents a significant opportunity” to innovate in the assessment industry, as well as stay ahead in a field that touches so many sectors of the shifting economy.

Nikki Eatchel, Prometric’s chief assessment officer, described assessments as a “quietly pervasive industry.” That ubiquity explains why Prometric continues growing as other tech companies’ growth trajectories slow this year. If there’s a real estate crash, then fewer realtors may go for real estate licenses; in that case, the company could just switch to a more stable part of the economy and make assessments for, say, nursing licenses.

“In fact, when you have markets that are struggling, that’s usually when you have people who want those opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and demonstrate their skills in other markets,” Eatchel told Technical.ly. “That’s what those assessments really allow individuals to do.”

Eatchel added that Prometric wants to use Finetune’s AI and natural language processing technology to help subject matter experts create fair, valid and equitable assessments that give everybody the best opportunity for success. She’s been in the industry for 25 years and sees the use of AI and more tech-forward solutions as a potential paradigm shift.

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“It’s a great industry to work in, but because it is a smaller industry, it requires more innovation and better tools in order to continue to serve the wider public,” Eatchel said.

For those that have never thought about the assessments industry and see it as a chance to move into a stable-but-growing field, Eatchel recommends three routes into the industry:

  • Break in as a subject matter expert developing content for assessments. For instance, if you’re a doctor or CPA already helping to create assessments in your field, that can help you enter the industry.
  • Get a degree in psychometrics. A background in statistics also offers a common path into the assessments world.
  • Some skills can be learned on the job at a testing organization, thus offering yet another gateway.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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