Technology Interoperability: Why It Matters in Professional Testing

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Imagine you’ve just touched down at an airport in a foreign country. You don’t speak the local language but need to gather your luggage and coordinate transportation to your hotel. Without a language translator or smartphone to help you navigate the communication hurdles, you spend a considerable amount of time and energy finding out where you need to go. You eventually arrive at your hotel—tired and frustrated.

Just as a translator helps people who speak different languages communicate and understand each other, interoperability makes it easier for systems to work together and communicate their data. And it’s a critical aspect of assessments in today’s interconnected world. This is especially true for professional testing programs, which often use custom tools to facilitate the testing journey. While there are many reasons for testing programs to become interoperable in order to achieve their goals, there are also challenges that need to be overcome.

Continue reading to learn more about assessment interoperability, its benefits to professional testing programs, and the strategies they can employ to become interoperable.

The Value and Benefits of Assessment Technology Interoperability

Developing and managing an exam program today can consist of a complicated network of stakeholders and a tech stack that isn’t streamlined. How those systems interact significantly impacts a program’s internal processes, its test-takers’ experience, and—ultimately—its success in an increasingly data-driven world. Working with a vendor like Meazure Learning, who’s skilled at building an integrated system, can help facilitate the best outcomes for all.

Consider this scenario: A testing program uses an external development system to write exam items and assemble its form(s). It then integrates with the Meazure Exam Platform to deliver the exam. Since the Meazure Platform is already integrated with the ProctorU Platform, the program can easily proctor all its test-takers. The program uses another fully integrated credential management platform, Accredible, to design and award its digital badges. The interoperability of these four systems results in a streamlined and cohesive testing experience for both program administrators and test-takers. If the systems weren’t integrated, the organization would need to use different platforms or write code to create custom integrations—both of which would limit its flexibility and cost additional time and money.

Equipped with interoperable systems, testing programs can achieve:

  • Greater access to and management of relevant exam, program, and test-taker data
  • Increased efficiency and reduced IT costs associated with maintaining multiple systems and supporting complex custom integrations
  • Better test-taker experiences resulting from streamlined scheduling, testing, proctoring, reporting, and badging processes
  • Enhanced data security and privacy due to centralized management and encryption

Despite these benefits, we would be remiss not to note that interoperability can create risks for a program too. It’s important that the program and/or its solution provider(s) conduct appropriate security testing on all computer systems, comply with relevant regulations, and follow best practices in data security and privacy.

Image showing digital devices being used and sharing information, representing the value of assessment technology interoperability

Effective Strategies for Overcoming Tech Interoperability Challenges

Due to the rate of technological advancement in professional testing, exam programs often face challenges in integrating their tech stacks. Addressing these challenges requires a coordinated, strategic, and proactive approach involving both a program’s solution provider(s) and the program itself. Let’s explore some of those challenges and strategies for overcoming them.

Follow Standards to Create Consistency

Challenge: One of the primary obstacles relating to interoperability is the lack of standardization. Different organizations and systems use different standards and protocols for exchanging data, which makes it difficult to ensure compatibility and consistency across platforms. This can lead to data management nightmares—such as errors, duplicative efforts, and inefficiencies—especially when dealing with large volumes of data as some testing programs do. Not only is the syntax of the data (i.e., its structure and formatting) crucial, but its semantics (i.e., its meaning and context) are as well. Without a clear understanding of what the data means, different systems may interpret the same data in different ways.

“When you’re working with multiple programs and multiple vendors, standardization can fall by the wayside. But there are always ways you can work with your vendor to ensure your test-takers have a consistent experience across your exam administration and delivery.”

Jeff O’Toole, Director of Platform Operations, Meazure Learning

Solution: Adopting or developing standard data formats and protocols is one way to improve assessment technology interoperability within testing programs. This can help ensure that systems are sharing data consistently and accurately. Although industry organizations usually develop standards, a program and solution provider(s) can work together to follow these standards, ensure their compliance, and align on their meaning. For example, if your program follows the Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) Standard to develop questions, you can then deliver your exam on any platform that accepts QTI. This leads to exam data that are consistent in both syntax and semantics.

Embrace APIs to Overcome Complexity

Challenge: Today’s exam programs often involve multiple systems, with their own requirements and specifications. Ensuring that all these systems can communicate with each other in a consistent and secure way can be a complex and time-consuming task.

Solution: Public, well-documented application programming interfaces (APIs) that support industry-recognized data standards like QTI allow different software systems to communicate with each other in a standardized way, making it easier to securely share relevant information. By embracing these types of APIs, testing programs can reduce the need for custom integration solutions and improve overall assessment technology interoperability.

Replace or Update Outdated Technology

Challenge: Many testing programs still rely on outdated technology that may not be compatible with newer systems or platforms. This can result in an inability to communicate across a tech stack, potentially requiring significant customization—and development resources—to do so.

Solution: Professional testing programs can overcome this obstacle by upgrading systems, implementing new software solutions from a third party, or investing in new hardware or networking capability. Regardless of whether a program uses its own proprietary tech or a solution provider’s, the program should ensure its infrastructure is up to date and capable of handling the demands of modern assessment.

Collaborate with Technology Providers to Ease Cost Concerns

Challenge: Developing and implementing integrated solutions can be expensive, especially for smaller programs or those with limited budgets. There may also be ongoing costs associated with maintaining and updating the solutions over time.

Solution: Technology providers—both exam solution providers, like Meazure Learning, and other software providers, like Amazon or Microsoft—can offer support and solutions for programs looking to improve their tech stack. Collaboration can also help programs stay current on the latest assessment and technological trends.


Stakeholders in digital testing programs must prioritize assessment technology interoperability to ensure their programs and test-takers are well-positioned for success in today’s interconnected world. While integrated tech stacks deliver numerous benefits, they can be accompanied by challenges that programs must overcome. Evaluating the constraints of their existing systems and collaborating with experienced technology providers can reduce those challenges and create a more streamlined testing experience for everyone involved.

To learn how testing programs can gain greater flexibility through exam solutions powered by interoperable systems, read our article “The Role of Tailored Assessment Solutions—and How to Choose the Right Provider.”