Satisfying Accreditation and Conducting Exams: Now integrated, now easier than ever.

April 22, 2016 Mallory Stein

Satisfying Accreditation and Conducting Exams: Now integrated, now easier than ever.

After becoming frustrated with their unreliable testing platform, Eastern Virginia Medical School implemented ExamSoft, discovered the power of secure and reliable exams, and began generating data they can use to keep their accreditation.


Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) is located in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1824, Thomas Jefferson suggested the institution be established, but its establishment never came to fruition until the early 1970s, when residents in the area realized they needed more primary care physicians. While the school’s mission is to be the most community oriented medical and health professions school in the United States, EVMS hosts a distance education program led by Dr. Helena Russell, Director of Distance Education. EVMS is also unique compared to other medical schools in the area because it is not affiliated with an undergraduate school or program.


Faculty and administrators at EVMS were aware that large populations of the school’s students around the world were required to take their licensing and board exams in a computer environment, and they thought it prudent to give students practice with computer-based testing. However, after implementing a major learning management system, which included an online, lockdown browser exam feature, they became frustrated with the platform’s dependency on Internet access. Service interruptions and other technical issues resulted in many concerned students calling in the middle of the night.

Additionally, faculty and administrators were aware that programmatic outcomes measures were becoming more important to accreditation. To keep its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), EVMS needed to keep track of how its classroom instruction tied to those measures and how its faculty members mapped their curriculum to improve learning outcomes. In order to solve the issues its current platform caused and to enhance the quality of classroom instruction and curricular mapping in its distance education program, EVMS chose ExamSoft.

Everyone at the school felt that it was a good time for change because outcomes measures were becoming more important, and one of the things we felt ExamSoft could be used for was to help us with our curriculum mapping, which is also something we would show our accreditors.

— Helena Russell, Director of Distance Learning


With the unreliable testing platform out of the way and systems in place in ExamSoft to track a complex distance education school’s many programmatic-level outcomes measures, EVMS began unleashing the power of ExamSoft’s direct embedded assessment and analytics software.

EVMS uses ExamSoft to get a handle on outcomes measurements by linking objectives to assessment items at the course and the program level and by linking the items to outcomes students will be expected to meet on their licensure exams. This system provides a method of directly measuring student learning longitudinally. After a round of testing, EVMS administrators generate aggregate data for programs to analyze areas for improvement and provide students with valuable personalized feedback. With longitudinal analysis, EVMS can analyze areas across its entire curriculum to find room for improvement and tailor its curriculum according to what areas students need help with the most.

There are a lot of programs that do what you guys do as far as item analysis and item banking. But when it comes to actually delivering an exam, that’s the thing that marks you as a unique entity—the fact that you can download the file, and the students cannot open it. It’s tamper proof!

Additionally, with the data-driven method of obtaining direct evidence of student learning, EVMS can efficiently conduct the accreditation process. Now, instead of showing SACS data based on an indirect assessment of student learning, the school can show the accreditors exactly how students perform and exactly how EVMS faculty and administrators alter their curriculum to most greatly benefit student learning.

I have used other products and other systems, and nothing compares to what you guys do. It is a very, very superior tool to help with all these new eduspeak goals that nobody really wants to deal with but we have to deal with. I think it’s really quite clever, and I can’t say enough good about ExamSoft.



  • EVMS more easily supplies direct evidence of student learning to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), its accrediting body.
  • Faculty and administrators can perform data-driven curriculum mapping.
  • Students take exams in a secure environment that is not susceptible to Internet access failure


How has ExamSoft’s support team helped your school?

I literally had a problem the other day with one of our custom home pages. I called my account manager and said it shouldn’t be that way and said please get together with the guys who fix this and they had it fixed immediately—I mean immediately. It was just miraculous.

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