Just 7 years ago, Microsoft yanked the rug out from under Pearson and awarded its certification contract to Prometric. Fast forward to this past July and a complete reversal happened when Prometric was benched and Pearson was once again called into the action. In July Microsoft announced that Pearson VUE would become its sole exam delivery provider after revealing in March that Pearson would also obtain exclusive distributorship for Microsoft Press content.

Now, in addition to all of this, Pearson VUE is set to expand its Microsoft offerings even further. Announced on Monday, Pearson VUE is developing online proctoring services in the Cloud so that MCPs and MTAs can take exams online.

Per the official announcement:

Delivered through a process called "online proctoring," select exams can be delivered through the cloud and taken by test candidates from their home, office or any other location that meets security requirements. This new capability makes testing accessible to candidates who do not live or work within easy travel distance of a testing center while protecting the integrity of the certification process. Candidates will be supervised in real time by Pearson VUE proctors using webcams, microphones and other security protocols.

Test candidates = beta program.

You might think immediately that taking a certification test at home or other non-official testing location might mean cheating. However, during the beta program, Pearson is working to develop procedures for minimizing cheating including having the candidate use a webcam to visually sweep the test-taking environment. Additionally, proctors will apparently be trained in espionage, as they will be required to notice tell-tale signs of cheating.

A piece of interest concerning the Microsoft-Pearson relationship for certifications is that Pearson will take and store both digital photos and digital signatures of each candidate. The digital information will be stored by Pearson, though the company has provided no comment on storage specifics or any information pertaining to privacy or security concerning candidate personal information. They only say that All candidate data will be securely stored and protected by Pearson VUE.

Another interesting data point is that all candidates are required to use a Microsoft account to register and take exams, whether onsite or online.

You can read all about Microsoft certifications here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning