Ubuntu Certified Professionals

Daniel Carrera daniel.carrera at zmsl.com
Fri Apr 7 09:26:10 UTC 2006

email.listen at googlemail.com wrote:
>>I need to dispell this myth that somehow multiple choice questions are
>>inherently poor quality and that practical exams must be better.

It depends entirely on what you are measuring. Some things might lend 
themselves to multiple choice and some things don't. I've taught 
mathematics for several years and I wouldn't use multiple choice on a 
math exam (I think that the SATs are worthless btw). Likewise, you can't 
replace an essay question with multiple choice. I've seen some good 
physics and astronomy exams that were multiple choice. It's not as 
simple as "multiple choice is ok" or "multiple choice is bad". It has to 
be apt for what you are testing.

Btw, I also work for a computer certificate company (though we aim at a 
much lower level than LPI - roughly highschool level). Our certificate 
is awarded based on direct observation and samples of work because those 
are just more appropriate ways of measuring the things we are trying to 
measure. This is also very good pedagogy because it gives the instructor 
flexibility to build a course around the criteria which is suitable for 
his teaching styles and his students' needs.


>>The truth is that practical exams are just as removed from reality as
>>multiple choice.

Not the ones we do :)  But I guess that's because we don't require a 
single "exam day". The assessment is based on prolonged observation.

Btw, we don't sell courses, we just do certification.

>> And practical exams are not reproducible,

I don't see why a practical exam is less reproducible than a multiple 
choice. You still have to ask the pupil to either tick the boxes again, 
or perform a task again, and you can still get different results because 
the testee was having a bad day.

>>You can't validly compare two people
>>writing different practical exams and prove you are comparing apples
>>and apples.

You can't compare two people writing different multiple choice exams and 
prove you are comparing apples and apples.

Why should it? If it's a *different* exam, then it's not apples and apples.

>>There has to be $ changing hands, unless the sabdfl is prepared to
>>finance the cert in perpetuity. There are courier costs for the
>>written exams, Prometric and Thomson Vue want their slice for
>>computer delivered exams. Clerical staff need to be paid, proctors
>>have to be transported to the exam venue to supervise, etc, etc. $100
>>is dirt cheap, compare what it costs to write some other exams.

Reminder: The certification I work with aims at a totally different 
market than LPI, but I want to talk about it anyways :)

Because we use a different assessment method we remove 95% of the 
bureocracy and can afford to give the exams at $10 :)  One disadvantage 
of multiple-choice exams is that they automatically force quite a bit of 
bureocracy. Instead, we train teachers (who are already professional 
instructors) for a fee, and they then incorporate our practical 
certificate in their course and pupils pay only about $10 for the 
certificate. The teacher time is finnanced by the school anyways, so 
over-all it's cheap for the school and cheap for the pupils. We do spot 
checks on statistically representative samples to improve quality 
control (more thorough checks for more advanced levels).

Thomas wrote:
> IMO its of no use certifying a test method only like the LPI. On the long run 
> it would be better to certify educatuional institutions and educational 
> movements / infrastructures (movements in the meaning of projects like ubuntu 
> or others).

You might like the INGOT certification. Though, as I said, it's not 
geared towards Linux administration. It's really for highschool-ish 
level and not even about Linux in particular. :)

      /\/`) http://opendocumentfellowship.org
    /\/_/   A life? Sounds great!
    \/_/    Do you know where I could download one?

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