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How Secure are Your Tests?

Do you deploy proactive strategies to see if your test questions are being pirated?  Do you monitor your test statistics for evidence of cheating or item exposure?   You should!  Test security is something all certifying agencies need to be concerned with.  Caveon, a company well known for its expertise and services in test security, has a plethora of quality downloadable resources addressing test security on their website.  Check them out.

Requiring Training for Certification

I was asked today if an organization could require candidates for their certification program to purchase their training materials.  This is becoming a popular question.   As always, there's not a clear-cut answer.

If your organization has or is trying to create a professional certification program for the field, then it is not desirable to require purchase of training materials your organization has created.  Doing so would not be in compliance with the certification industry standards promulgated by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or the American National Standards Institute for their accreditation programs for certifying bodies.   The problem is not with offering the training, it's with REQUIRING it.

If, on the other hand, your organization's program is a curriculum-based certificate program, then the training is an integral component of the program so it can and should be required. 

There's a final IF.  If your program is really a blend between certification and curriculum-based certificate, then the answer gets even greyer.  The answer then depends upon how the program really functions in the market as to whether or not it's a good idea to require study materials.  Generally, it's not.

Click here to learn more about the distinctions between professional certification and curriculum-based certificates.

Reflecting on 10 Years

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of Mickie S. Rops & Associates, Inc.  I can't believe it has been 10 years since I left my job as a certification program director.  I am fortunate that I absolutely love what I do and wouldn't change a thing about it.  Okay, that's not completely true...I wouldn't change the type of work that I do or the individuals and organizations I'm fortunate to work with; however, I would like to change the amount of time that I spend doing it (and my family and friends would agree).  But, given my apparent inability to say no to cool projects and cool people, I'm doubtful that will change anytime soon.  Although I'm trying.

In fact, in a twisted kind of way, it's a curse loving what you do.  For example, right now it's 11 p.m.  My husband is out of town and my kids are in bed.  I could be reading a good book (like the one my book club is discussing this weekend that I haven't started yet), on the elliptical that's gathering dust in my basement, organizing my family photos that I'm 3 years behind on...or heaven forbid, I could be sleeping.  But instead, here I am on my computer blogging.  And, the twisted part is that I enjoy it.

I am so fortunate that my work is not to me what most people consider "work."  I never dread Monday morning or long for Friday to come.  I made a commitment to myself 10 years ago while strategizing my business plan on the Metra commute in Chicago (I still have the spiral notebook page I wrote it on) to consult only on projects that I found interesting, meaningful, challenging, and/or fun.  And, I have stayed true to that.  In 10 years, I can honestly say that I've only had two projects that I didn't enjoy (and that's because I mistakenly thought that I would...and no, I'm not telling what they were!)

So, for those of you who I've had the opportunity to work with over these years, thank you!  It's been absolutely great, and I look forward to many more years (in fact, decades) of continued camaraderie and fun.