Microsoft, Pearson VUE expand partnership, announce IT certification innovations

Online proctoring, streamlined registration, new security protocols highlight enhancements benefitting test-takers as Pearson VUE becomes sole delivery partner in 2015

REDMOND, Wash. – Sept. 22, 2014 – As part of its new testing and certification partnership with Pearson VUE, Microsoft is harnessing the cloud to make its highly valued certification exams more accessible than ever. In addition to Pearson VUE’s extensive network of authorized test centers in training centers, academic institutions, corporations, correctional facilities and U.S. military installations around the globe, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams can now be taken online in select locations.

Delivered through a process called “online proctoring,” select exams can be delivered through the cloud and taken by test candidates from their home, office, or any other location that meets security requirements. This new capability makes testing accessible to candidates who do not live or work within easy travel distance to a testing center, while protecting the integrity of the certification process. Candidates will be supervised in real-time by Pearson VUE proctors using web cameras, microphones and other security protocols.

During this initial beta period, a limited set of online proctored exams is available for U.S. residents only. Microsoft expects to announce wider availability in the near future. During the beta, candidates may purchase online proctored exams for the same price as onsite exams. This includes two new Microsoft Certified Specialist exams designed for IT pros and developers adopting Microsoft Azure as the cloud for their modern businesses.

Those who certify via online proctoring will need to meet security arrangements, including a clean, private room or office, with a desk space clearly visible via webcam. They must also complete security-related admission steps, such as an ID check, with a greeter before testing can begin. In addition, the proctor is trained to notice tell-tale signs of cheating, and will require the candidate to do a visual sweep of the test-taking environment with the webcam.

“Online proctoring offers an industry-leading experience that reflects our increasingly mobile- and cloud-based world,” says Alison Cunard, General Manager for Microsoft Learning Experiences. “It’s all about adding convenience by enabling people to take an exam where they live or work.”

Customers who wish to continue taking tests onsite can take Microsoft exams at either Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers. However, effective Jan. 1, 2015, Pearson VUE will become Microsoft’s sole global exam provider. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and academic MTA exams will continue to be delivered by Certiport, a Pearson VUE business.

Pearson VUE test centers provide security measures that help safeguard testing integrity. Candidates are photographed and asked to provide a digital signature, in addition to other identification and admission requirements. The photograph and signature become a permanent part of each candidate’s Microsoft certification record.

Photos taken during the admission process will be printed on score reports along with an access code that will allow for third-party viewing of the candidate exam record and digital photo on the Pearson VUE website. This access code can be shared—solely at the candidate’s discretion—with employers and others for verification purposes. All candidate data will be securely stored and protected by Pearson VUE.

The collection of digital photos and digital signatures during the test center admissions process provides more reliable assurance of candidate identity, in turn resulting in increased assurance that individuals are presenting accurate certification records in the marketplace.

Regardless of whether candidates test onsite or online, all candidates will need to have a Microsoft Account, such as those used with Office 365, Microsoft OneDrive, or Skype. Participants can arrange for on-site or online tests through an integrated exam registration process at www.microsoft.com/learning.

”We’re excited to see where this partnership takes us,” said Bob Whelan, president and CEO, Pearson VUE. “Pearson VUE has always strived to give candidates the best testing experience possible, and Microsoft is equally committed to making certification testing frictionless and widely accessible. Together, we’re changing the landscape to increase skills validation and open new doors to career success.”

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Pearson VUE
Pearson VUE (www.pearsonvue.com) is the global leader in computer-based testing for information technology, academic, government and professional testing programs around the world. Pearson VUE provides a full suite of services from test development to data management, and delivers exams through the world’s most comprehensive and highly secure network of test centers in more than 175 countries. Pearson VUE is a part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO; LSE: PSON), the world's leading learning company.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts/.

Media Contact:
Damien Fletcher
+44 (0)20 7775 6785
damien.fletcher@pearson.com

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