Elanders Case Study: Secure Examinations for the Test Publishing Industry

Customer Challenge:

National Registry of Food Safety Professionals was faced with a business dilemma: how to fulfill paper-and-pencil examinations in a field growing faster than the company’s ability to deliver. National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) is an accredited provider of a retail food safety manager certification examination. The total population for this certification exceeds 500,000 requiring unique solutions to fulfill not only the volume but potential lapses in the accreditation standards. Trainers are also allowed to administer the test, opening the door to potential cheating unless the exam provider develops stringent security methods.

At the outset, NRFSP purchased printing equipment and printed its own exams. Over time the volume of requested examinations grew, as did the concern for security. NRFSP first contracted to a local printing company who mass printed the examination forms that were stored in NRFSP’s secure vault until requested. While this reduced the cost of maintaining printing equipment, it did not resolve two core issues with security:

  • The need for additional exam forms to be circulated on a regular basis.
  • The cost of lost exams when a breach occurred and stored exams had to be destroyed.

Elanders Solution:

Elanders offered NRFSP a customized content management, book-build, print-on-demand solution that included:

  • XML Ordering
  • Variable Data
  • Electronic Spiraling

When orders are received, the system checks to make sure all files are print-ready, then submits jobs to the book-builder program where the print file and variable data are merged, with the final print file being sent directly to the print engine.

Elanders worked closely with NRFSP to create a number of ways to ensure examination security:

  • Page-for-page exam and answer sheet reconciling.
  • Electronically spiraled exams to deter cheating.
  • Pre-populated information within exam booklets and answer sheets.
  • Individually shrink-wrapped exams

The secure exams are sent to the sort station where they meet up with additional items such as administrator manuals, instructions, and return envelopes. When shipped, an automated process notifies the exam administrator that the job has shipped, and sends NRFSP an ASN and a customized Exam Administrator Report containing specific detailed information about the booklets.

Key Customer Benefits:

  • Automated electronic ordering makes the process simple, efficient, and flexible.
  • Implementation of an On-Demand solution eliminated inventory, scrap, and associated administrative costs.
  • Enhanced security allows for a greater number of exam forms to be in circulation at any one time, reducing the risk of cheating.
  • Each examination booklet is 100% unique to the exam taker with a unique personalized code on every page of the booklet, as well as the answer sheet, which is printed as part of the book.
  • Exams are individually shrink-wrapped, banded as an exam group, and packaged with an administrator report and any requested return shipping documentation.