A Threat to Your Career: Combating Certification Fraud1 | 2 |
Additionally, performance-based exams are becoming more common as the time and expense to develop them are coming down. In a performance-based exam, the student has to perform specific actions in a simulated or virtual environment. A test-taker enters a virtual lab, where he or she might be asked to diagnose and fix a software configuration problem. The student switches between the virtual lab, where activities are performed, and the Internet-based test, where responses are given to the test questions that relate to the activities.
Performance-based exams are favored by companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and HP because the results are more accurate in testing a candidate’s ability to perform job-related tasks and because the exams make it more difficult for cheaters to get answers.
Some IT companies also are including a “why” component in their training course content. This ensures students not only learn how to perform required tasks, but that they understand why it’s important. Citrix uses this methodology in its Citrix Certified Integration Architect (CCIA) track.
Test centers also are helping to address the problem of fraud. Candidates who appear in person to take a proctored exam might be photographed or fingerprinted. They must provide a signature that is stored as part of their profiles. These processes help to identify people who take tests on behalf of others.
Finally, many IT vendor exam developers are joining the security initiative started by the Association of Test Publishers (ATP). ATP is another group that is sharing resources and information with a common goal of combating certification fraud and increasing the value of testing and certification.
Protect Your Investment in Certification
It’s in your best interest to help ensure certifications maintain their value.
When you visit technical forums where members discuss certification, add your comments to discourage use of brain dump sites. Some certification candidates may not know that using materials from brain dump sites is illegal and can harm them.
Also, report instances of known or suspected fraud to the certifying agencies. If you find certification tests or questions posted to Web sites or forums, tell ITCC where it can find the materials so the matter can be addressed.
As you prepare for additional certification exams, use the study aids provided by the certifying agencies. Do not shop the Internet for test questions or “study materials,” as they are likely to be stolen intellectual property.
IT certification still is important. If we work together to uncover and eradicate fraud, we’ll increase the value of these credentials.
Bill Horzempa is chairman of the IT Certification Council and director of global certification and partner education development for Hewlett-Packard. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org | 2 |