Yardstick Edge

Yardstick Edge – 4th Quarter



  • All
  • Inside Yardstick
  • Resources
  • Services

2017: A year in review

Over 19 million learners and counting

Category:
read more

 


2017: A year in review

Over 19 million learners and counting

2017 was a big year for Yardstick. This is the year that we unveiled a new brand and published our corporate story. As our organization’s mandate and reach continues to expand to meet our customers’ needs, our newly minted corporate story helps us achieve more than sales and brand recognition. By sharing our history and outlining our shared values, we’ve found the common thread that binds each of our products and services together, and connects all our staff with a common focus. We’ve poured the drive, passion and energy that founded our company in 2005 back into everything we create, and everything we accomplish.

Learn more about our new brand and corporate story.

And we’ve accomplished a lot this year!

Growth and new products

On July 5, 2017, we acquired Assessment Strategies Inc., Canada’s first homegrown full-service professional testing company. Like Yardstick, ASI’s vision has been to ensure exam candidates are ready to take on the challenges of their professions, to educate industry and clients about psychometrics and testing best practices, and to help build a safe, secure and successful world.
Together, we have formed Yardstick Assessment Strategies, lead by President and Chief Operating Officer Isabelle Gonthier.


Although less than a year old, Yardstick Assessment Strategies has fast become Canada’s leader in designing and delivering high-quality licensing, certification, and jurisprudence examinations. Heading into 2018, this dynamo testing team will be hosting the first ever Yardstick Assessment Strategies Exchange – a full-day industry conference in beautiful Banff, Alberta immediately following CNAR. At the Exchange, our testing experts will share plans for new products and services and facilitate discussions with representatives from across the credentialing industry.

Continuing on our growth trajectory, our subsidiary Danatec acquired ESPS, Electrical Safety Program Solutions Inc., in September to expand their offerings of electrical safety training. Danatec also became the first official online training company to upgrade their training platform to RapidLMS, Yardstick’s new learning management platform and the most recent addition to our growing suite of eLearning products.

In October, we headed to DevLearn in Las Vegas to launch our new line of learner identification and monitoring services, LearnerVerified. Although still in the nascent stages, LearnerVerified promises to combat the growing risks of learner fraud, helping training managers and providers ensure that the learners who sign up for a course and earn credentials online are who they say they are, and are completing their training without assistance.

Learn more about learner fraud.


Awards

This year has seen Yardstickers graciously accepting several prestigious business awards. We’ve once again landed on the coveted lists of Alberta Venture’s Fast Growth 50 and Profit 500, and our Co-Founders Don Riep and Chris LaBossiere have been recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year by EY Canada.

More exciting than any of those awards, however, is having Yardstick appear, for the second time, on Waterstone Human Capital’s list of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures.

Purpose

Throughout all these changes and accomplishments, Yardstick has remained true to our roots. Our BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal, remains at the centre of all we do, committing the entire company and all our subsidiaries to uphold one single, laser-focused goal: help a billion learners achieve competence by 2025. Ambitious? Absolutely. But in 2017 alone we’ve added over 3 million new learners to our BHAG board. That’s 3 million more small steps towards transforming the industries we serve, bringing greater security, defensibility and reliability to today’s testing and training.

What’s next? With Yardstick, you never know! What you can count on is that Yardstickers across Canada will be spending 2018 looking for new and creative ways to inspire innovation, building ground-breaking new products, and partnering with some of world’s s best and brightest businesses, regulatory agencies, and leaders.

Close

How Automatic Item Generation Helps You Create Better Tests

Yardstick Assessment Strategies Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Greg Sadesky talks rapid content development for professional testing

Category:
read more

 


How Automatic Item Generation Helps You Create Better Tests

Yardstick Assessment Strategies Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Greg Sadesky talks rapid content development for professional testing

When it comes to high-stakes testing and credentialing, the validity of the results depends heavily on the quality of the questions being asked. Those questions need to make sense, cover the subject matter comprehensively, and be developed in an efficient manner. Automatic Item Generation, or AIG, does precisely that.

In this featured blog article, Dr. Greg Sadesky, the resident Chief Scientific Officer of Yardstick Assessment Strategies, dives into why AIG is such a valuable tool for building high-stakes exams with efficiency, and defensibility. He explores how AIG differs from standard item generation production, as well as how mass production can support the development of high-quality questions and comprehensive content coverage.

How Automatic Item Generation Helps You Create Better Tests

If you’re interested in reading more about psychometrics and high-stakes testing, head on over to the newly launched Yardstick Assessment Strategies website. Their blog shares the latest updates on coming webinars and events, as well as a regular column authored by Dr. Greg Sadesky that breaks down complex ideas and concepts in psychometrics for the everyday reader.

Close

Yardstick’s award winning corporate culture

Explore Yardstick’s road map to becoming one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures.

Category:
read more

 


Yardstick’s award winning corporate culture

Explore Yardstick’s road map to becoming one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures.

The “secret sauce” to our success

Stacked against the titans of business like Starbucks, RBC and WestJet, Yardstick is proud to have won Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture of the year in 2017. This national program, now in its 14th year, recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations and CEOs for embracing cultures that enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage.

What is the recipe for an award winning corporate culture?

Like most delicious sauces or dishes, there may be a standard recipe, but an accomplished chef or cook knows how to tweak the recipe to appeal to his or her unique clientele. The same is true for creating an award-winning corporate culture, it may be similar to others, but is uniquely distinct in each business.

Everything else (products, strategies, marketing, even innovations) can be replicated, but the only truly unique identifiers are the values and norms of the organization – its culture, or personality. It’s these differences that creates a benchmark of success for all those who were nominated and won.

According to Marty Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waterstone Human Capital and Chair of the Canada’s Most Admired Awards Program, “Culture isn’t just about receiving additional work perks. It’s about a well-defined set of behaviours, or the values that govern them, that are reinforced, communicated and aligned throughout the organization.”

So what truly sets Yardstick apart?

Just like every outstanding chef, Yardstick’s leadership mastered the recipe for an award-winning culture early on. Yardstick’s culture is powered by two secret ingredients: core values and our people.

Yardstickers are driven by our core values. The values of Random Acts of Kindness, Embrace the Entrepreneurial Spirit, A Fearless Pursuit of Excellence, Customer Delight Heroes, and Honest & Empowered People are part of Yardstick’s founding DNA. Christina Seal, the Head of People Operation at Yardstick credits Yardstick’s co-founders, Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep, for fostering a fantastic work culture, which has been recognized by Waterstone Human Capital twice, once in 2014 and again 2017.

Aside from our love of strong coffee, our people share many common attributes and values. Yardstick’s corporate culture emboldens Yardstickers to speak their minds, to trust everyone to do the right thing, and above all treat on another with respect. Our staff can be independent and autonomous, as result they can be entrepreneurial.

Yardstickers are our greatest resource. This is a simple yet audacious statement is what has allowed our company and Yardstickers to thrive and grow, since the company was founded in 2005, says Seal.

The results are clear. Yardstick has achieved rapid growth (from 2 to 100 employees and 5 offices across Canada in 12 years. Yardstick still growing, still building a safer, more confident world, one learner at a time.

Close

Culture of kindness

2017 was a year of giving back for Yardstickers

Category:
read more

 


Culture of kindness

2017 was a year of giving back for Yardstickers

Earlier this year, Yardstick was once again recognized as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. With a strong emphasis on fostering an outstanding working culture, Yardstick’s collaborative culture also shapes how it gives back. Building and supporting the communities in which we operate comes naturally to our staff, who tend to be highly engaged and driven individuals. Over the years, this commitment to social issues has brought staff closer, inspired leadership, and deepened the shared sense of purpose that defines Yardstick.

Like many self-made companies, Yardstick has humble beginnings as a startup. Co-founders Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep started Yardstick in 2005, working out of Don’s basement to develop and sell their testing and training software. In the past 12 years, the company has grown swiftly, and now boasts over 100 employees in 4 offices across Canada. Over the past year, Yardstickers dedicated countless hours to supporting local community causes, and we’d like to highlight the wonderful work our people.

Homeward Walk|Run | May


For the past 3 years, Yardstick has contributed either as a sponsor or enthusiastic fundraisers for the Homeward Walk|Run to end youth homelessness. Our team of Edmonton runners took to the trail once again, participating in the 5k walk, 5k run, and 10k run. One of our long-time runners started an after-work running club to help train runners with no previous experience. The day was gorgeous, and afterwards our runners were treated to a hot dog lunch as the medals and prizes were handed out.

Racing for a Cure | June


Over the past 5 years, this one day event has raised over $1,745,000 for local children’s charities. This years, Racing for a Cure raised $565,000 for the Kids with Cancer Society.

Showing off 60 exotic and luxury cars, people who donated $50 or more were treated with a thrilling lap around a closed loop. Yardstick was thrilled to be a part of the event, both as a title sponsor and an active participant.

Drivers, including Yardstick’s very own Chris LaBossiere, CEO, Don Riep, CTO and Greg Kureluk, CRO zipped around a track laid out around the Edmonton legislature grounds, giving people a chance to see what it’s like to ride in a car made for speed while contributing to a meaningful cause.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes | Septembe


On September 20, over 400 people came out to 104 Street and strutted their stuff. To counteract the seriousness of domestic violence, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser is a fun and light-hearted event that sees men from all walks of life – including six bold Yardsticker men! – step out in a pair of high heels. Our team of Yardstickers, representing the company as a title sponsor, raised over $3,800, helping to surpass the original fundraising goal of $190,000, with total contributions over $216,000 raised to combat domestic violence in Edmonton.

Winter Clothing Drive | September




Danatec, one of Yardstick’s most successful subsidiaries, has always been committed to giving back to Calgarians through corporate charitable donations and initiatives. On September 12, their team spent an afternoon volunteering at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre, where they rolled up their sleeves and unpacked, sorted and stocked all sorts of donated apparel in the clothing room.

“When we choose to use our success as a platform for those that are less fortunate; we can change the world,” says Danatec President, Alina Martin. “Being charitable is not about just money, it’s about the people and the team who choose to give their time to something nobler. We will leave the world a little better than we found it and teach all of those around us what compassion truly means.”

Extra Life | November



Extra Life is a 24 hour gaming marathon that unites thousands of gamers around the world to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Yardstickers in both Calgary and Edmonton gathered together on a chilly Saturday in November to play games and raise funds for the Stollery Children’s Hospital and Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Whether it was playing multiplayer RPGs, party games like Jack Box, or experiencing space with virtual reality, everyone had a blast participating and giving back to the communities. Sticking it out for the full 24 hours was difficult, but a few stalwart people managed to power through to the other side.

Christmas Food Hampers | December


Our Ottawa office, the newly designated headquarters for Yardstick Assessment Strategies, gathered up some food and prepared Christmas hampers to help out families in need. The hampers will be delivered to four families by the Shepherds of Good Hope. Yardstick also contributed matching funds to the Shepherds annual fundraising initiative, resulting in a total of $1,200 to support the program.

Close

Danatec launches RapidLMS on Danatec.com

A new standard for online safety training

Category:
read more

 


Danatec launches RapidLMS on Danatec.com

A new standard for online safety training

In September 2017, Yardstick subsidiary Danatec, Canada’s safety experts, upgraded their learning management system, re-releasing their extensive suite of award-winning occupational safety training products and services on Yardstick’s RapidLMS platform.

For Danatec, this transition builds on over 30 years of industry leadership and innovation. Since introducing Canada’s first ever TDG and WHMIS Self-Teach resources in the 1980s, to launching Canada’s first online safety courses, Danatec has always been an industry leader, and innovator. By adopting Yardstick’s RapidLMS, Danatec has given their customers increased security and scalability, user-friendly course distribution and tracking, social media integration, an improved credentialing model, and numerous other benefits. The update also included a full revision to the Danatec.com website using the RapidLMS sitebuilder. The new site is easier to navigate, seamlessly integrated with the training platform, and more intuitive to training manager and learners’ needs.

RapidLMS is also compatible with Yardstick’s identification and remote proctoring software, LearnerVerified. Soon, select Danatec courses will come with a built-in learner verification package to help training managers confirm that their staff are taking their online training independently and without assistance. Both RapidLMS and LearnerVerified allow Danatec to equip their training with greater than ever levels of assurance and defensibility.

For Yardstick, this news is potentially even more exciting. Danatec is the first large-scale user of RapidLMS and LearnerVerified. Yardstick designed the products in partnership with Danatec, building it from the ground-up to make selling, distributing and taking online courses simple and secure. Since this inaugural launch, Yardstick has rolled out the platform with several other big training organizations, including St. John Ambulance – Alberta Council, bringing these benefits to learners across Canada.

Read more about the launch and what Danatec and Yardstick leadership have to say.

Close

Featured resource: Psychometrics backgrounders

Featured topics in high-stakes test design, delivery and analysis

Category:
read more

 


Featured resource: Psychometrics backgrounders

Featured topics in high-stakes test design, delivery and analysis

As industry leaders, the testing experts at Yardstick Assessment Strategies are committed to sharing their expertise freely with the industries and clients they serve. Our in-house psychometrics consultants regularly author whitepapers and topical backgrounders covering key issues in high-stakes test design and delivery.

Their backgrounders are written in straight-forward language, designed to communicate complex topics to a range of audiences, from fellow analysts to the general public. They are a fantastic resource for anyone interested in learning more about the science behind high-stakes assessment. Or use them to facilitate group discussions about important decisions affecting your certification program, such as designing your competency blueprint, setting a cut score, or determining exam time limits.

Topics:

  • Competency validation surveys, by Dr. Natasha Parfyonova
  • Item response theory 101: Assessing candidate ability, by Dr. Chris Beauchamp
  • Evaluating your distractors, by Dr. Michaela Geddes
  • Setting a cut score for a performance-based assessment: The Ebel Method, by Dr. Chris Beauchamp
  • Scoring models for innovative item types: A case study, by Dr. Chris Beauchamp
  • The time crunch: How much time should candidates be given to take an exam, by Dr. Chris Beauchamp
  • Reading your Item Analysis Report: Item is making a limited contribution to the measurement capacity of the test, Dr. Chris Beauchamp

To access our webinars, you can visit our Resources portal. Scroll down to 01. from us to you and select “Psychometrics” on the side panel. Then grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable and start reading!

Close