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A vision for testing in Canada

Yardstick acquires Assessment Strategies Inc. and welcomes Dr. Isabelle Gonthier, new President of Yardstick Assessment Strategies

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A vision for testing in Canada

Yardstick acquires Assessment Strategies Inc. and welcomes Dr. Isabelle Gonthier, new President of Yardstick Assessment Strategies

At Yardstick, we believe that learning and assessment changes lives. It changes communities, industries, whole societies. For over a decade we’ve worked with subject matter experts, employers, industry regulators, and training managers to train, certify and verify today’s workforce.

On July 5, 2017, we took a big step forward as leaders in the Canadian assessment industry when we acquired Assessment Strategies Inc. (ASI), Canada’s first homegrown full-service professional testing company. As a celebrated leader in delivering high-quality licensing, certification and jurisprudence exams, ASI shares Yardstick’s vision for a safe, secure and successful world, and, like us, our new teammates have dedicated their careers to demystifying psychometrics and improving testing outcomes for regulators and candidates alike.

Learn more about Assessment Strategies Inc.

We’ve transformed the former ASI headquarters to become our Ottawa-based testing hub and onboarded ASI staff as new Yardstickers, under the banner of Yardstick Assessment Strategies. We’ve also had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Isabelle Gonthier to the new position of President and Chief Operating Officer, Yardstick Assessment Strategies. In addition to having worked in senior roles for the Government of Canada, Financial Planning Standards Council, and CFP Board, she’s also volunteered her time and skills to numerous industry association and community-based organizations, including the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Learn more about Isabelle.

According to Yardstick Co-Founder and CEO Chris LaBossiere, uniting under a common banner has made both organizations stronger than ever, forming “the strongest group of testing professionals ever assembled in Canada.”

“the strongest group of testing professionals ever assembled in Canada.”

Yardstickers new and old alike are excited to see what the future holds.

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Featured blog articles: Exploring virtual proctoring

Dr. Greg Sadesky unpacks the virtues, and challenges, of virtual proctoring in the world of professional testing

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Featured blog articles: Exploring virtual proctoring

Dr. Greg Sadesky unpacks the virtues, and challenges, of virtual proctoring in the world of professional testing

Join Yardstick Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Greg Sadesky as he unpacks the virtues, and potential challenges of remote proctoring in the high stakes testing industry. From a high-level overview of benefits to in-depth interviews with assessment industry professionals, this series provides a thorough overview of the state of virtual proctoring today, and hints at a broader paradigm shift towards greater virtualization and automation in the testing and training industries alike.

Part 1: The Virtues of Virtual Proctoring, with Dr. Greg Sadesky
The benefits of virtual remote proctoring for high-stakes exams, including accessibility, convenience, cost and accreditation.

Part 2: Virtual Proctoring, a Conversation with Isabelle Gonthier and Dr. Greg Sadesky
Weighing the benefits, and limitations, of virtual proctoring with NCCA assessor Isabelle Gonthier.

Part 3: Remote Proctoring and High-Stakes Testing, a Discussion with ANSI Assessor Mickie Rops
The promise and potential of remote proctoring in the high-stakes testing industry, with ANSI assessor Mickie Rops.

Part 4: Remote proctoring: A paradigm shift for high-stakes exams, with Dr. Greg Sadesky
Dr. Sadesky unpacks from recent research on the efficacy of remote proctoring versus live proctoring.

This is an exciting time for the professional testing industry, and Dr. Sadesky will continue to weigh in on exciting developments in the coming months. So stay tuned!

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A safe, secure and successful world

Local partnerships help shape Yardstick’s new corporate story

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A safe, secure and successful world

Local partnerships help shape Yardstick’s new corporate story

When Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep launched Yardstick in 2005, it was a small practice exam company with a big idea: that rigorous and creative online testing and training could change how we learn, could transform whole industries.

it was a small practice exam company with a big idea: that rigorous and creative online testing and training could change how we learn, could transform whole industries.

We’ve come a long way since then, growing from a two person team serving a niche market to an international brand. With over 80 staff in offices across Canada, we work in high-stakes public-serving industries such as finance, insurance, real estate, safety and healthcare.

With each new opportunity, new staff member, new market, new service offering – our brand and our business has evolved. But our purpose, our big corporate “WHY?” has remained constant: to change lives and transform industries through online testing and training.

The trouble was, we’ve grown so much, brought on so many new ideas, and been so excited to share new projects, products and solutions, that our website and branding had gotten a bit too focused on the details. We put so much love and attention into our projects that we had lost touch with our roots.

We needed a refresh.

That’s why we partnered with Edmonton writing legends Tood Babiuk and Shawn Ohler from Story Engine to craft a master “Yardstick” narrative. We talked to our leadership, sales teams, frontline staff and clients – to dig deep and find out what makes us, and the industries we serve, tick. What gets all of us out of bed each morning, and gets our customers as excited about testing and training as we are. The result was a beautifully crafted story that showcases our history, and our vision for the future: a safe, secure and successful world, one learner at a time.

The result was a beautifully crafted story that showcases our history, and our vision for the future: a safe, secure and successful world, one learner at a time.

We’ve brought those words and that vision into our newly rebranded website, new collateral, and all our corporate communications. But the impact of our story goes beyond marketing and sales. In partnership with Story Engine, we’ve found the common thread that binds each of our products and services together, and connects all of our staff, no matter how different their roles or responsibilities, with a common focus. We’ve reconnected to the drive and passion that founded this company, and we’re pouring that energy, dedication and excitement back into everything we create, everything we do, and everything we plan.

We can’t wait to write the next chapter!

Read the story:

Thousands of airplanes roar above us right now. We take for granted that every pilot, every air traffic controller, and everyone on the ground crew is well-trained, well-tested, certified.

That is, safe.

In 2005, Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep took their flight exams. It felt like an ordeal from the 1970s. Why wasn’t the training and testing online? Why wasn’t it better? They looked up at the sky, and down at the new licenses in their hands. They had an idea that soared beyond flying, an idea that will uplift a billion learners.

The idea is Yardstick.

In our cities and neighbourhoods, on job sites around the world, millions of people will keep us safe today. In industries that affect us all – finance, insurance, real estate, safety, health care – a learner’s competence is the difference between certainty and calamity.

So much depends on how well people are trained and tested. It matters to learners, too. They’re not just safer. They’re more confident about their skills and knowledge, more likely to succeed.

We build everything at Yardstick with learners’ success in mind. We power our online training and testing with rigour, precision and science. We create and deliver it with personality, openness, even delight.

It starts with technology. We don’t sell bewildering black boxes that mystify learners or complicate your business. We build elegant, modern software that’s easy to use and strengthens the systems and processes you already have.

Our training and eLearning mix creativity with the latest thinking in instructional design. We want learners to be struck by the same spirit of discovery and wonder, in their training, that strikes us as we make it.

We design tests guided by psychometric science and a vital mission: to ensure learners are ready. People tell us our approach to science is refreshing, because we share our expertise, experience and leadership with the industries we serve. It wouldn’t be Yardstick if we guarded what we’ve learned.

Learners take our tests where it bests suits them, in a Yardstick test centre or online. When they pass, our expert administrators are on site or watching virtually, verifying their success so you can defend it.

This is crucial in a world where fraud and negligence pose enormous risk to our reputations. We’re safer and more certain if learners are who they say they are. At Yardstick our newest obsession is guaranteeing it.

Learning changes lives. It changes communities, industries, whole societies. At Yardstick, we help build a safe, secure and successful world, one learner at a time.

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Featured resource: Webinars

Browse our 2017 Psychometrics webinars series, featuring Dr. Greg Sadesky and other testing experts

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Featured resource: Webinars

Browse our 2017 Psychometrics webinars series, featuring Dr. Greg Sadesky and other testing experts

This spring hundreds of industry regulators, educators, credentialing specialists, assessment professionals of all kinds tuned in for Yardstick’s Spring Psychometric Webinar Series.

Our dedicated team of friendly psychometricians delivered new insights and plain language how-to’s across a wide range of testing topics, from designing defensible multiple-choice questions to using data analytics to flag collusion and other test misconduct.

Topics:

  • How to develop good multiple choice questions, by Dr. Natasha Parfyonova
  • Collusion detection and its application to regulation, by Dr. Chris Beauchamp
  • Mass producing test questions, by Dr. Greg Sadesky
  • Developing an examination blueprint, by Dr. Kelly Piasentin
  • Post-administration item analysis, by Dr. Michaela Geddes
  • The Assessment Lifecycle, by Charlotte Pashley

Now that we’ve wrapped up a successful season of knowledge mobilization, we are thrilled to share our recorded sessions on our website, free of charge! Because, hey, it wouldn’t be Yardstick if we jealously guarded what we know and what we do.

To access our webinars, you can visit our Resources portal on the Yardstick Assessment Strategies website. Scroll down to 01. from us to you and select “Webinars” on the side panel. Then grab your popcorn and some fellow testing enthusiasts and get started!

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Making Measure work for you

Yardstick developers introduce new updates and tools to advance our flagship testing software

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Making Measure work for you

Yardstick developers introduce new updates and tools to advance our flagship testing software

Yardstick’s professional testing software, Measure, is designed to be a comprehensive platform to power your computer-based test development and administration, from candidate management to post-delivery data analysis.

So what about those of our clients who currently collect information (or have collected information in the past) in an external database or association management system such as iMIS or Aptify? This may include new clients transitioning from paper-based exams or a different LMS, or some of our longer-standing clients who utilize multiple systems to keep their businesses running smoothly. Regardless of their reasons, any clients looking streamline their processes will be happy to know that Measure has some super handy and convenient features that allow external data to feed safely into its database.

To facilitate data-sharing to Measure, our Yardstick development team have released a thorough API Reference Guide to empower our clients to make the most of Measure workflows and integrations.

Beyond saving our clients valuable time and money, the APIs outlined in this guide also minimize the risk of human error.

Beyond saving our clients valuable time and money, the APIs outlined in this guide also minimize the risk of human error. Instead of downloading data from one system into a spreadsheet and sending to Yardstick to manually upload into Measure, clients can set up a seamless API that will transfer the information automatically, cutting out the middle-man and reducing chances that typos, missed entries or other tiny mistakes could have a major impact on the quality of their data. The result? More efficient systems and more successful and satisfied candidates.

What’s next?

Going forward, Yardstick will continue to identify and report new API processes for Measure, as well as for some exciting new eLearning products launching this fall. Stay tuned!

Get started

Check out the API Reference for yourself. Or, if you’re interested in seeing what you can accomplish, but feel a little out of your element, contact our Support team and our friendly Measure developers will point you in the right direction.

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New partnership model set to save money, and lives

Yardstick partners with St. John Ambulance to develop and deliver online First Aid and CPR training

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New partnership model set to save money, and lives

Yardstick partners with St. John Ambulance to develop and deliver online First Aid and CPR training

At Yardstick we know that well-trained people are safer, more successful, and more confident in their skills. Nowhere is that confidence more necessary than in life-threatening situations. That’s why we are thrilled to be partnering with St. John Ambulance – Alberta Council to develop online First Aid and CPR training courses.

Since 1883, St. John Ambulance has delivered quality First Aid and CPR training in communities across Canada. They have touched countless lives, issuing over 100,000 certificates in Alberta each year. By collaborating with them on new eLearning courses, Yardstick will help them expand the reach of their in-person offerings and set a new industry standard for online First Aid and CPR training in Canada.

This partnership is a big step forward towards Yardstick’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal to help a billion learners achieve competence by 2025. We are always on the lookout for industry-leading educators like St. John Ambulance who are already delivering high-quality training to thousands of learners. By co-funding the development of their courses and helping market them to a broader audience, we are able to bring their training to more learners than ever, helping save lives and building a safe, secure and successful world, one learner at a time.

By co-funding the development of their courses and helping market them to a broader audience, we are able to bring their training to more learners than ever, helping save lives and building a safe, secure and successful world, one learner at a time.

To learn more about the collaboration, check out the official press release, or view our interview with Global Edmonton.


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Testing and training at the core

Celebrating a year at our new downtown Edmonton headquarters

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Testing and training at the core

Celebrating a year at our new downtown Edmonton headquarters

In March 2016, our Edmonton staff moved into our new corporate headquarters, a vibrant downtown office space located in the heart of the 104th Street business community. We can’t believe it’s been over a year and a half since the big day!


Introducing ourselves to the neighbourhood.

Yardstickers getting excited to move into the new space.

Moving downtown, we’ve become more accessible to clients and staff alike and strengthened our relationships and profile within the local community. This has given us myriad opportunities to give back, connect with other businesses, and attract a whole slew of talented candidates for our ever growing rank of Yardstickers.

Edmonton staff braving wet weather to volunteer for Edmonton’s RaceWeek Street Party in August 2016.

Welcoming new neighbours from Bottega 104, purveyors of fine Italian cuisine, to our building in March 2017.

With almost 100 staff spread out over 4 offices, a big part of maintaining Yardstick’s energetic and team-focused culture is building spaces that accommodate different working styles and encourage collaboration and free exchange of ideas. Where we work has always helped define how we work.

So when we outgrew our old office in a southside industrial park, we kept that mandate in mind. Our chosen space was designed to include large and adaptable meeting spaces, open format cubicles, flexible workspaces, breakout rooms, top-of-the-line video conferencing technology, and social areas to support regular team building events.

Take a virtual tour below.

Our kitchen getting broken-in at a staff pizza lunch! Courtesy of Melcor Developments. At the end of the kitchen you can spot our “cubbies,” which in quieter moments serve as flex desks or informal meeting spaces.

Table for hosting informal meetings or after-work social gatherings.

Our BHAG board (that is, Big Hairy Audacious Goal). This reminds us all of our shared goal to change lives through learning and technology.

A glimpse of our boardroom.

Open cubicle spaces encourage staff to share ideas and ask for help when needed.

From Australia Day and St. Patrick’s Day to pancake breakfasts and Yardstick yoga, our new office space has hosted many fun team building events over the last year.




It’s been an exciting year at Yardstick! We grown from just over 70 staff to almost a hundred since the big move, and we aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Thank-you to all our clients and partners for being such an important part of our journey, and for taking the time to look back down memory lane.

So what’s next?

That’s a big question for a company growing as fast as ours! But from an office space perspective, we are currently undergoing renovations in our newly acquired Ottawa office, and are looking forward to soon being able to welcome all our partners and clients to join us in the nation’s capital. Stay tuned for photos on our Twitter and Facebook accounts!

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