VUE Point The latest news, innovations, and technology
March 2020

The Global VUE

Ask our experts: What’s the value of testing through a global test center network?

To welcome you to our first edition of 2020, we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Poyiadgi, Vice President, EMEA, and Ray Murray, Vice President and General Manager, Global Channel and Business Development (IT).

Q. How does our test center network help test owners maintain quality and high standards in the assessment industry?

Ray: Our test center network offers the flexibility to adapt to the needs and standards of our clients and candidates both locally and globally. It gives candidates all around the world the opportunity to take the same test and gain the same credential regardless of country of origin, essentially opening up global employability opportunities to many.

Matthew: I agree. Our network of test centers contributes to certifying more people across a common set of education standards and benchmarks. When candidates take certification exams at our test centers, it raises the quality of a range of professions, from healthcare and IT to accountancy and law. And when the standards of these industries are maintained, our communities are protected.

Q. What were some of the big milestones for our test centers in 2019?

Ray: In 2019, our global test centers delivered our largest number of exams yet — 16.6 million! We managed to further extend our reach by welcoming 1,200 new test centers globally, which increases convenience, coverage, and flexibility for our candidates. This growth also provides our clients with extra reach, which translates into extra volume and growth for their programs.

Matthew: I think one of the most important aspects of our continued drive to expand our test center network has been to help our clients’ assessment programs grow. The test center expansion highlights the importance both our clients and their candidates place on the value of certification.

Q. The launch of OnVUE in March 2019 was an exciting development for our business. What have been the highlights so far?

Matthew: Since launching our next-generation online proctoring solution, we’re seeing increased numbers of candidates wanting to certify at a time and place that suits them. By combining live monitoring with AI, we’ve also heard that our clients feel confident that their exam content is protected.

Ray: The highlight of OnVUE thus far has been the incredibly high adoption from the IT market. Other sector clients are following suit rapidly, too. As the largest and most trusted testing company in the world, our stakeholders and our clients expect us to deliver the best online testing experience, just like we do in the brick and mortar methodology. We are off to a good start, and deliver we will!

Q. What do the next 25 years look like for Pearson VUE? How do you see our test centers evolving in line with those changes?

Ray: As tech and AI become a fundamental part of every conceivable role, and required skills for any profession rapidly change, assessment and training need to come together to not only validate skills, but to identify the candidates best suited for the jobs and the learning required for them to succeed. The majority of our test centers operate as training centers, which creates the perfect partnership to bridge the knowledge gap and employ future generations. Over the next 25 years, this partnership will play an increased role in shaping the global workforce.

Matthew: People naturally expect industries of all types to move at the pace of the adoption of smartphones and the internet. For the assessment industry, this evolution means choice, and our test centers have a major role to play in this. Candidates want to choose how to take their tests: at a test center one day, then via online proctoring the next. We’ll continue to work hard to provide the best options for our clients and candidates.

Regarding COVID-19

We have been closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) since the outbreak surfaced in Wuhan, China.

First and foremost, our priority is the safety and well-being of our employees and testing candidates. Keeping our communities healthy and preventing the spread of this disease is of the utmost importance to us.

We’ve implemented additional hygienic and safety measures across our Pearson VUE test centers and encourage our third-party test centers to do the same. We will continue to follow government guidance around the world and take swift action on their mandates for affected areas.

We invite you to stay up to date on our response to coronavirus as the situation evolves, and we wish you continued health.

Insights & Innovations

Our global PPC network: Over 500 test centers strong, and growing

When it comes to delivering exams in a safe, secure, and comfortable environment, the Pearson Professional Centre (or PPC, as you may know them today) sets the standard of security in our industry.

In addition to the high level of security our PPCs offer your high-stakes testing programmes, their design and functionality set them apart from the models of other test center providers.

  • You'll feel confident about test security knowing the proctor booth (the PPC’s most distinguishable feature) projects into the testing room, giving the proctor a better line of sight towards the testing workstations.
  • The proctor is much closer to the action so they can monitor individual candidates closely. It's critical that the testing environment doesn't give the test-taker any unfair advantages or disadvantages.
  • Providing a consistent experience from one testing location to another means that each candidate, regardless of where they test, has a similar experience, and therefore the same opportunity to score well in their exam.

"Standardization in terms of the Pearson Professional Center’s look, feel, design, and operational model helps us to make sure that all candidates testing at one of our PPCs have a positive experience," explains Andrew Marr, Vice President, Test Center Operations, Pearson VUE.

The strength of their global footprint, security measures, and unique design has maintained the reputation of our PPCs within the global testing industry, but the operational teams who run the PPCs are also integral to this, Marr explains.

"Without great people dedicated to our success on a daily basis, our PPCs wouldn't be as remarkable as they truly are. We can build the best facilities in the world, but without a strong team to run them, we would fall short of delivering a world-class testing experience to our clients and their candidates."

Making it Happen

A is for admissions: How computer-based testing launched a university in India to success

Universities are tasked with no small feat: educating and training the next generation of professionals. From investing in innovative pedagogy, developing the trailblazers of tomorrow, and excelling in research, it’s clear that innovation is central to a university’s progress and growth.

Shiv Nadar University in Uttar Pradesh, India, is one such university that has rapidly grown in just a few years since its inception. Founded in 2011, Shiv Nadar University set out to create a research-led and multidisciplinary environment. To set themselves apart, they created an undergraduate curriculum that enabled students to develop as broad a set of skills as possible alongside their primary degree.

To further their growth strategy, Shiv Nadar University transformed their candidate selection process by leveraging assessments. In the seven years since their founding, they have improved their university rankings to #48 among hundreds of universities in India, and the GPA of students increased by 14% on average in the first semester, demonstrating the increased engagement that comes from reaching a broader candidate base.

To achieve this transformation, Shiv Nadar University:

  1. Developed and adopted an aptitude test
    a. The university started testing candidates on the larger aspects of aptitude and aspirations (e.g., quantitative aptitude, communication, and analytical skills) and later included academic subjects in these tests as well. Creating a standardized computer-based exam as an application requirement paved the way for fairer selection in a stress-reduced, controlled environment.
  2. Increased candidate convenience and reach
    a. Providing an accessible exam was instrumental in the uptake of the aptitude test and therefore the growth of the university. By empowering students to test at a Pearson VUE test center convenient to them, it reduced the time and cost impact to the candidate and allowed the university to open the doors to a broad range of aspiring, diverse candidates from across the country. The test scheduling system also allows the candidates outside of India to take the SNUSAT for admission to the university.
  3. Evaluated their program with actionable data
    a. Computer-based testing allows for vast amounts of data to be analyzed by using detailed item reports and group performance to track metrics around item performance and popular testing times. With this data embedded into the university’s strategy, the subject matter experts are confident that the exam accomplishes the intended objectives and that they’re providing ample opportunities to test for candidates across India.

By leveraging computer-based testing and technology, Shiv Nadar University was able to reduce the human involvement in what can be a very lengthy and labor intensive admissions process. This improvement in efficiency has given the university the added benefit of refining their priorities, allowing them to become more efficient in the day-to-day running of the university and improve the strategic focus for their continued growth.

Reflect and renew: Your commitment to an exceptional exam program

Every year, Q1 provides an opportunity to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and look forward to new pursuits. To cultivate a culture of continuous improvement within your business, here are our four top tips to reflect on your exam program’s strategy.

  1. Certification leads to professional growth
    In 2019, we launched our report on the Value of IT Certification and the results were powerful: 91% of respondents believe that certification increases their professional credibility; 65% saw a benefit within four months of completing a certification; and 88% were more motivated to keep their skills up-to-date as a result. Time to reflect: Continue to develop meaningful certification exams that assess key skills in every industry.
  2. Candidates come first
    With today’s ever-advancing technology, we live in a world of immediate gratification thanks to social media, Netflix, and grocery delivery. Is the assessment industry following suit? Yes. Time to reflect: Work with your program manager to evaluate if you’re effectively leveraging our technology to increase convenience and provide positive testing experiences for your candidates.
  3. Security is key
    All of these actions are nothing without an unwavering focus on security. If you aren’t protecting your exam program, you are putting the integrity of your industry at risk. Time to reflect: Protect your data, expand your approach to content design, and develop a security plan. Not sure where to begin? Learn more about key security measures.
  4. Strategic evaluation is essential
    We all know that history repeats itself. If we don’t reflect on the foundation of our certification program, we are destined to become stagnant. Time to reflect: Did you know that our team can complete a program evaluation, helping you to maintain a defensible and reliable exam and ensure that the content reflects the intended purpose? Build in regular program evaluations to learn from your past successes and identify areas for improvement.

In the Spotlight

What does the moon, insects, and Egypt all have in common?

Pearson VUE, of course! Confused? Read on to learn a few fast facts about our impact in the computer-based testing industry.


In 25 years, Pearson VUE has delivered more than 100 million exams to more than 50 million people! That’s the equivalent of testing the entire population of Egypt.

If you think no one picks up the phone these days…Our customer service teams care for 2.8 million candidate calls every year. That’s around the same number of people born around the world in one week!

We have over 120,000 active workstations for our candidates to take their exams on. That’s more than the number of seats in the largest sports stadium in the world, the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Korea.

Our customer service teams manage almost 900,000 emails and chats with our candidates every year. That’s one communication for every known species of insect that exists on the planet!

If you traveled to the moon and back 167,000 times, you still wouldn’t have spent the same amount of time taking exams that our candidates did in 2019 alone.