Friday, July 24, 2009

USFCA Conference - Examiners

Thursday evening I attended the Examiner training session conducted by the Certification and Accreditation Board for individuals who serve as Head Examiners. This is the third year I have attended one of these sessions (last year in Lambertsville and the previous year in Oklahoma City), and I am impressed by the steady progress in making the examinations a true test of teaching ability and a fair and open process. Although the details are fascinating reading only for those of us who regularly serve on testing boards, there are some developments that have an impact on any candidate.

... the forms have been revised to do two good things. First there is a clear delineation of Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory. The old forms used wording that did not provide as clear categories and that was subject to a lot of interpretation. With this the grading scale has gone to a very simple add up the numbers approach - no need to keep the candidate waiting while you complete fractions to multiple decimal places.

... the bouting lesson as one of the assigned lessons will remain an option, but the primary expectation is that the third lesson will be a warm-up lesson. If a candidate wants to do a bouting lesson it can still be done, but the Board was concerned about the difficulty of doing this for both candidate and student following the other lessons for the examination.

... the training lesson has become the primary lesson for candidates for two and three weapons as prevot and maitre d'armes. The teaching lesson still plays a role, but the Board felt that a candidate who can give a good training lesson probably has the skills to do a teaching lesson in a weapon.

... the old standard that if you failed one part of a two or three weapon examination, you failed the examination is gone. Now a candidate can fail one weapon and still pass the other.

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