ATP Celebrates 2018 Award Winners

ATP proudly celebrated its 2018 Award winners, Pat Ward of Internet Testing Systems, recipient of the ATP Career Achievement Award,  and Testing Consultant Jim Sharf, recipient of the Professional Contributions and Service to Testing award.

Pat Ward’s career as an IT professional began in the early 1990’s when he joined Sylvan Learning Systems to launch the national nursing examination (NCLEX), one of the first large-scale examinations to be offered on computer. At Sylvan he was also instrumental in the acquisition and integration of Drake Prometric, into what became Sylvan Prometric. His entrepreneurial instincts then lead him to apply his knowledge and understanding of testing and technology to create Internet Testing Systems (ITS).

“ITS delivers tests over the Internet and Pat was the visionary who realized that computer-based-testing didn’t need to be restricted to physical testing centers,” noted former ATP Board Member Bill West of Pearson Vue in his letter nominating Ward for the award.  “Although conceptually simple (an Internet connection and a proctor are all you need…), Pat had to solve numerous technical challenges that didn’t exist when tests were delivered on a local server. These included latency, to account for delays in transmission, encryption during transmission, local proctoring with an online connection, system reliability, and disparate computer hardware and software. On top of that, in the early 2000’s very few organizations were willing to try online testing. It wouldn’t be secure, it wouldn’t be reliable, etc. Fast forward to 2017 and online testing is a robust and proven model. Pat was one of the pioneers who made this possible,” wrote West.

Jim Sharf, who was nominated by Jack Jones, Gary Behrens and Andre Allen, all from General Dynamics, promoted and demonstrated the scientific use of valid employment tests to effectively select people into jobs in a fair and legal manner throughout his career. As the Chief Psychologist of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Jim was the primary architect of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, which defined the national standards for valid job-related testing.  He later developed language for the Civil Rights Act of 1991 that prohibited the use of race-norming for employment testing as Special Assistant to the EEOC Chair. 

Jim served as the industrial-organizational psychology SME on the test development committee that developed the psychology licensing examination required for all psychologists in the U.S. and Canada. He was also instrumental in designing the competency examination used to assess over 430,000 applicants for TSA security screener positions at 429 airports nationwide in a nine month period, eventually leading to the hiring of some 55,000 employees with a ready pool of approximately 10,000 qualified candidates. More recently, Jim has partnered with a nonprofit network to document and assess legally defensible, job-related competencies derived from the O*NET database for the manufacturing and health sectors. 

Both Ward and Sharf received their awards at the recent Innovations in Testing Conference in San Antonio -- and both award winners participated in a Fireside Chat at the conference, allowing them to interact with conference attendees in an informal, interactive, question and answer session