More and more educational institutions as well as numerous professional certifiers worldwide ensure themselves of their international candidates’ linguistic and subject-related qualifications through standardised language and entrance examinations. The “OeAD International Testing Services” – in short: OeAD Test Centre – assists in taking such selective examinations on the way to an international degree or an internationally recognised vocational certification.
In January 2012 the OeAD’s fields of activity were expanded to include the Test Centre. It is committed to international standards and has state-of-the-art biometric procedures for establishing a person’s identity: before entering the test rooms the persons taking the tests are photographed, their palm veins are scanned and their signatures are digitally recorded (1).
This ensures that the test results can be clearly assigned to a specific person and contributes significantly to the worldwide recognition of the test results. Moreover, the examination regulations provide for a ban on certain items of clothing and jewellery in the testing room. Candidates wearing ties must lift them up to their chins – because there might be a cheat slip sewn into the back of it.
The OeAD Test Centre sees itself as a one-stop shop that offers competent advice and many pre- and post-test services in addition to handling exams. Today the OeAD is one of the world's leading test centres, which has also been attested by recent externally commissioned and anonymously conducted evaluations. Approximately 1,800 examinations are carried out every year for now more than a hundred different tests.
And in the spirit of lifelong learning prisoners are of course also allowed to take exams. For this purpose – as is well known – they have to be accompanied by police officers, which the participants “at large” usually perceive as if the presence of law enforcement officers were an obligatory part of such exams: “Well, you guys are incredibly strict!”
How much is a passed test worth? For example, a TOEFL or a GMAT? When it comes to tests success is all important. Our candidates experience great personal success but sometimes unfortunately also bitter defeat (high-stakes exams). And when success is at stake there is occasionally temptation: the incorruptible OeAD Test Centre team has already had to resist such tempting offers as a certain number of camels dependent on the number of points achieved and even a promise of marriage (2).
Authors: Christian Jahn and Tibor Szabó
(1) The candidates know about these measures in advance and consent to them in writing, otherwise they will not be able to register for the test with the test manufacturer.
(2) The OeAD Test Centre staff are subject to the same strict compliance rules as all OeAD employees. In addition, the test manufacturer's codes of conduct apply, which for good reason require the reporting of any serious attempt at tortious interference.