StateFoodSafety is an online food safety education company that develops and publishes technology-enhanced training and certification programs for regulatory, restaurant, and hospitality communities nationwide. It is one of five organizations accredited to provide Food Protection Manager Certification Exams and is the newest to the industry, having entered the market in 2017.
Though a leading provider of online food safety training, StateFoodSafety entered the established certification space at a disadvantage against powerful brand names. They would have to overcome decades-old practices to generate market adoption. Historically, the Food Protection Manager Certification Exam has been delivered via paper and pencil at a training event where the trainer later acts as the test proctor. This method not only poses operational and logistical problems, but also introduces security concerns due to the natural dependency of trainers relying on managers to pass the exam.
“It was too time consuming for a restaurant employee to travel to and from a testing center and the few hours to take the test. Hundreds of thousands of exams are taking each year, so for an employee to be able to take the exam in the comfort of their own home, in a secure environment brings a tremendous convenience to the market. The feedback has been great.”Bryan Chapman, CEO, StateFoodSafety
Upon entering the market, StateFoodSafety challenged the status quo by petitioning the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to investigate the possibility of allowing online exam delivery paired with live remote proctoring rather than test delivery methods used historically in the industry. ANSI was willing to consider this shift as long as the security of the exam could be proven and evidence could show there was no discrimination across testing modalities. Becoming accreditated to the ANSI-CFP standard was imperative to success, but creating an overall paradigm shift remained an uphill battle.
StateFoodSafety found that locating the right partner for online proctoring would be key to their success if they were going to transition their Food Protection Manager Certification Exam to an online course model. After an exhaustive search, they chose to utilize ProctorU Live+ online proctoring, a solution where a remote, live proctor verifies a test-taker’s identity, secures the testing environment, monitors the entire exam, and flags potential incidents. As an additional layer of security, artificial intelligence (AI) powers the platform and augments proctors by flagging things that may not be recognizable, such as whispers or reflections. It is the most secure form of online proctoring because proctors are able to intervene and prevent any suspicious or aberrant behavior.
“When I consider the security of the exam delivery through the ProctorU Proctoring Platform, the data that supports it, and the ability to review video evidence, I would support remote proctoring over a testing center or paper-pencil delivery method. We can actually prove that there was or was not cheating in that environment.”
No Statistical Difference in Proctoring Methods: Upon inspection, no statistical discrimination was found between test center proctoring and remote proctoring, meaning there was no distinct advantage to online proctoring compared to any other type of proctoring. Once that was proven to the accreditation committee, StateFoodSafety became the first Food Manager Certification provider approved to use online proctoring.
Increased Accessibility, Lowered Operational Burdens: Offering the only fully-remote Food Protection Manager Certification process gives StateFoodSafety a unique advantage over competitors, as it is now more accessible to test-takers. Neither travel nor time off work is required, resulting in an immediate decrease in operational costs and logistical efforts as opposed to the traditional method of testing. Proctors are available 24/7, which is simply not possible at test centers. Plus, test-takers appreciate being able to test from the comfort of their homes.
Increased Data and Insight: As a company that offers online and test-center proctoring, StateFoodSafety attests that they receive far more data and evidence from the ProctorU platform sessions than from any other sessions. The transparency of session information gives them meaningful insight, control and understanding of what’s happening with their tests and their test-takers.
Bryan Chapman’s Advice for Organizations Considering a Move to Online Assessments:
Stay on Top of Security Threats: Acknowledge that security is a moving target. It never stays the same, so you always have to be looking at the latest and greatest in innovation and test security.
Get Organized: Make sure you have your management systems and documented policies and procedures in place. Being accredited by ANSI, we have to make sure we have those buttoned up. If a security concern does occur, those policies and procedures give you something to fall back on rather than potentially overreacting in the moment.
Don’t be too afraid! It’s kind of scary to buck the status quo and move in a direction that’s new to an industry. But once you see the statistics and user feedback about how much they value the convenience, it becomes a winning scenario.
“There are some really bad remote proctoring testing companies out there, just like there are some really bad testing centers. And there are some really good ones. We were lucky to partner with the best.”