A few weeks ago I was contacted by The APM Group and asked if I would like to become a member of the Examiner Panel for a new complementary certification in the ITIL® accreditation scheme. This new certification is structured around the concept of the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). The title of the syllabus pretty much says it all: “Using the Principles of ITIL®; How to Define and Implement a Configuration Management Database.”
My first reaction was to feel honored that APMG would consider me for this type of work. This kind of thing does not happen very often. I have done similar work in the past, writing certification questions for the now-extinct Borland Software Co.’s Delphi (Pascal) and JBuilder (Java) certification exams as well as maintaining the question bank on the Prometric online examination system.
I should have known, however, that this would be an entirely different animal. The Borland certifications were of a technical nature, and the questions could be drawn from thousands of pages of material. The ITIL certifications can be of the same nature in that some of the tests can draw from a very large quantity of material specified in the corresponding syllabus.
However, the CMDB certification is different. It is limited to a very specific area of the core guidance, and that limits the amount of material from which questions can be drawn.
Combine all of this with the level of knowledge to be tested in the examination. The CMDB exam is similar to the Intermediate exams in that the questions must be drafted to comply with higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy than the Foundations test. Some of the syllabus items require questions to level three, and a small number call for questions written to level four!
Until now, I was not fully aware of the challenge examiners face in drafting these questions. Now I understand the nature of the task. It is anything but easy. On top of that, the process of introducing the examinations to the market includes a process called “moderation.”
In moderation, a small number of persons participate in pilot runs of the test. As part of the pilot, the candidates must give feedback on the questions. Some time ago I was given an opportunity to see the results of moderation for the Service Design examinations, and even though the results had been edited prior to being given to the examiners for review, some of the comments could only be described as harsh. This job requires the examiner to be able to shelve their ego and not take things personally.
Now, don’t take me wrong. I think this is a phenomenal opportunity to be able to contribute to the educational process behind the ITIL certifications. I am truly enjoying this work, as challenging as it is. But as usual, the view from the inside is completely different from what you imagine from the outside.
All of this reminds me of my previous blog on “How to Conquer the ITIL Testing Monster.” The guidance I gave you back then is just as valid now. The only surefire way to pass the ITIL examinations is to read the core guidance referenced in the syllabus for the test. Period.
As always, the point of my blogs is to get readers to think, rather than provide ready-made answers, because I will be the first to admit I do not always have them. Feedback on my blog entries is always welcome!
(ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.)