Written by Guest Author Lourdes Soler
Over the past year, the VMware certification team has been hard at work making enhancements to our development processes, exams, and delivery infrastructure. Since many of these changes are behind the scenes and not immediately apparent, we are going to begin telling you about what these changes are and how they will improve your certification experience.
For example, what if I told you that you didn’t have to wait for weeks to receive your beta exam results and subsequent certification status update, but could receive your score immediately?
How It Works
With the traditional beta exam process, all test-level and individual question-level analyses occurred after the beta period ended, which meant candidates had to wait until after the final production exam launched before receiving their beta exam results.
With our new process, under the direction of a trained measurement specialist (more formally referred to as a psychometrician), Subject Matter Experts participate in a rigorous process (called the standard setting process) before the exam release to ultimately select the best set of questions for inclusion in the exam and determine an appropriate pass score. This means that test candidates can walk away with their exam results at the end of their testing event.
Other than the immediate scoring, benefits include:
- Less time burden: With traditional beta exams, candidates must sit through and answer the entire pool of questions, even taking time to answer questions that do not make it into the final exam. With our new process, candidates are presented with a subset of questions that were considered valid during the standard setting process, providing a shorter exam time compared to past beta exams.
- No blackout period for analysis: With traditional betas, analysis begins after the beta period closes and a blackout period is instituted, during which candidates are unable to register for or take the exam. The blackout period was needed to review and analyze question and exam data and participant comments to determine which items will appear on the final production exam. Depending on the amount of data to be analyzed and the time needed to construct the production exam, this blackout period could take from 6 to 10 weeks. Because all of this analysis will now be done before exam launch, there will no longer be a blackout period.
- No retake restriction: Traditional beta exams can only be taken once by each candidate. With production exams, candidates can retake exams under the standard retake policy.
- No risk for recertification: With traditional betas, if taken for recertification purposes, scoring may not be completed before an individual’s recertification deadline and certification status could be in jeopardy. Candidates would need to plan accordingly and allow enough lead-time to retake the exam after they receive their results, in case they did not pass, or pursue an alternate route to recertification. With the immediate scoring factor, this is no longer an issue.
- No “set-it-and-forget-it” mode: In the case of traditional beta exams, there is one health check done during the post-beta analyses. Now, since every effort is taken ahead of time to eliminate questions that are ambiguous, too easy, too difficult, or just bad, there is increased confidence in the quality of the content. Even so, VMware will still conduct periodic exam health checks throughout the life of the exam and make improvements as needed.
Keep an eye out for future blog posts describing further program enhancements and improvements.