ETS has been offering various tests and examinations to students for 70 plus years. As the extreme pandemic spread and continuously altered everyday life, many business and education systems had to change to maneuver around this hurdle. ETS did not change the education system on their own, but they altered their normalcies to adjust to the environment surrounding COVID-19.
Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)
ETS partnered with ProctorU to conduct the tests and examinations through online means. ProctorU is the lead proctoring agency for online tests, quizzes, examinations, and assessments for individuals that are enrolled in online learning. This method of examination became paramount in the education system as COVID-19 continued to manipulate different aspects of life all across the globe.
Innovation does not require a proprietary product or technology, but a method of perfection in a time of need. ETS adjusted their business plan to adhere to the COVID-19 preventative measures and did so in a short span of time. Mrs. Odenheimer stated, "From initial conversation to the launch of the system only took a short six weeks to complete. A project this size normally would have taken ten times as long." With the adjustments necessary for COVID-19 prevention, ETS and ProctorU were able to join together in an attempt to continue education for students all around the world.
Students and test takers should always be placed in a fair, impartial, and reliable environment to complete tests and assessments. Before the pandemic, the normal method of test-taking was in a supervised classroom or computer area. This offered the test administrators to ensure the classroom was not offering answers, distractions, or a means to cheat. This also offered students to remain focused on the test at hand. Due to COVID-19 preventative measures, this normal method was impossible to maintain as distance restrictions were implemented, protective equipment was required, and administrators were unable to ensure the typical standards of the classroom.
ETS identified the need for education to continue, tests to be taken, and pandemic restrictions to be followed. With all of this new information, safety protocols, and more, ETS and ProctorU came together to provide the education necessary for students and adhere to all safety protocols and prevention measures implemented by the government.
When the world turns upside down for one person, that person may fall behind and catch up later on. When the world turns upside down for the entire population, everyone looks to leadership to identify the next step in the plan. The pandemic stopped the world in its tracks for a period of time and the world had to adjust. Safety considerations created new everyday norms that the population was forced to become familiar with. Businesses, schools, and society as a whole were all affected by these requirements which forced ETS to respond with an altered means of typical testing. Mrs. Odenheimer stated, “we were still able to give people a chance to continue what they prepared for.”
ETS was one of the first businesses to realize the safety restrictions were not going to be recalled any time soon. This forced ETS to look at the day-to-day norms differently and realize that a change was required to keep their business up and running. Mrs. Odenheimer stated, “ETS was the first company to go to market with the remote[ly] proctored exams in this way.” Being the first business to alter the business plan to adjust to the new demands is always an impressive feat, but ETS did so in a flawless manner. This allowed ETS to continue a revenue stream into the company so that they could reinvest their earnings into the mission, to advance quality and equity in education for all people.
This abrupt change did not only benefit the business as one of the first businesses to perfect online test-taking, but it brought the company together. Mrs. Odenheimer explained, "we came together as a company as I have never seen before. Suddenly everyone was on one team… the ETS team. It did not matter if you were part of IT, Marketing, the Program, the Call Center, etc., we were all working towards one goal." The collaboration of all realms of the business, not only to complete your sole tasks but to work towards the overall goal is incredible.
Students cannot remain in limbo as COVID-19 continues to affect the lives of many. Students graduating from one school system like high school, elementary school, or kindergarten needed to continue to their next levels of learning. Teachers needed the means to provide for themselves and their families as the schools they were employed with were not providing a salary for teachers that could not continue to teach. To ensure the continued progression of these students and satisfactory means of living, ETS found the solution.
Kelly Odenheimer, General Manager, Brand Marketing & Marketing Services
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Princeton, New Jersey, Worldwide
Business Website: https://www.ets.org/
Year Founded: 1947
Number of Employees: 1001 to 5000
Education is one of the most important aspects of improving the lives of ourselves, our children, and generations to come. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) understands this importance and claims they “are passionate about our mission to advance quality and equity in education for all people” (ETS, 2020). As important as education is, it can always improve. ETS works daily to provide testing, assessment, and research to improve the education system and adjust programs to be more efficient. As the world continues to evolve towards a more sustainable future, ETS follows suit by providing quality education not only to the United States of America but worldwide.