Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Do Certification Exams Give Business Benefit?

John Kleeman
 I saw an interesting post on Questionmark's blog by John Kleeman that I wanted to share with you:
Increasing numbers of technology vendors run certification programmes to help customers, employees and partners demonstrate competence in using or advising on the vendor’s technology. This is common in IT, in medical equipment, in the automotive industry and in many other high-tech industries.

Certification is an area where all stakeholders seem to be “winners”:
  • Vendors who set up certification programmes gain by being able to define the skill sets and knowledge that people deploying their technology need and encouraging stakeholders to develop the knowledge and skills and so deploy the technology more successfully for customers.
  • Participants benefit from certification as a way to learn and develop skills and demonstrate their competence, and it often helps in their career path.
  • Customers and users of the technology benefit from more effective deployment by being able to ensure the skills of experts deploying the technology and being more likely to get a successful implementation.
  • Employers of test-takers gain from their employees being more capable.
But how real is the benefit? How can you know if a well-designed and well-implemented certification programme will lead to improved performance?

There is some powerful evidence about this from an IDC study a few years back as reported on by Network World. This study looked at the benefit of certifications within IT network administration – surveying more than 1,000 IT managers. You can see some of the results in the chart below. For instance on average, unscheduled network downtime was about 20% lower at organizations with more certified IT staff.

This study related to one particular field of IT, but it seems likely that in any technical field, providing you follow good practice in developing your certification programme, similar results should apply. Therefore certification is likely to provide material business benefits.
I believe Kleeman's most important point is when he discusses the importance of certification on vendors, participants, customers, and employers. Measuring a construct is certainly complex, but what it boils down to is ensuring that the construct is being measuring in a valid way and then reporting/communicating that process to stakeholders (this is where the "value" of an assessment is added to all stakeholders).

The CareerTech Testing Center's competency assessments are used to help all stakeholders become "winners" and they have been providing value to students, instructors, and industry for over twenty-five years. Our assessments are used to evaluate student performance and the results reports communicate competency assessment scores to students and provide a breakdown of assessment results by duty area from within the skills standards. The results breakdown shows how well the student has mastered skills needed to perform major job functions and identifies areas of job responsibility that may require additional instruction and/or training.

Group analysis of student results also provides feedback to instructors seeking to improve the effectiveness of career and technology training. Performance patterns in individual duties indicate opportunities to evaluate training methods and customize instruction.

Please contact us at 800-522-5810 ext. 403 to find out more about our assessments and services.


1 comment:

  1. Your generosity in sharing this infomraiton means so much. Thanks a million.


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