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5 November 2010 | Aidan Lawes Blog
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Fireworks night would not be the same without the spark from Aidan discussing the launch of the APMG analyst series of qualifications at next week's itSMF UK conference in London...

  Aidan Lawes

ITIL continues to dominate the agenda in various forums, with champions, skeptics and critics wading in with their sixpence worth. The debate has become increasingly circular with no group seemingly able to move any of the others to their point of view.

Meanwhile, I continue to find it increasingly rare to encounter training organizations and tutors who have any good words to say about the current intermediate qualifications. BCS/ISEB have officially launched their Specialist series of qualifications, which are focused more on individual roles and embrace a much wider sphere than ITIL. Next week at the itSMF UK conference APMG will launch the first of their Analyst series of qualifications. Once again, these are role focused, but much more concentrated on ITIL than the BCS/ISEB offering.

Unfortunately, despite initial intentions to offer more practical events with testing in a manner more appropriate for assessing capability, both have finished up with yet another multi-guess test as the sole vehicle for determining whether a candidate acquires the certificate.

I was particularly disappointed that APMG pulled away from the concept of a workbook that candidates had to complete during the course and which would then be assessed. Gaining the certificate would be based on a combination of the results for this assessment and the MCQ results. Cost was quoted as the main reason for not pursuing the original idea of central marking – whether of all workbooks or simply a sample from each course. Having the lecturers mark them was discarded on the grounds that the integrity could not be guaranteed – a strange stance considering that APMG allow lecturers to act as invigilators for the exams, which has just as much potential for compromising the integrity of results.

Even BCS/ISEB are bowing to the inevitable and allowing their ATOs the option of invigilating their own exams, rather than having an independent invigilator. For a change, pure cost doesn’t seem to be driving this. Instead, it appears that ATOs who don’t have representatives on the exam panels setting (and therefore conversant with) the live questions feel ‘disadvantaged’. They are particularly concerned when any of their students come out of an exam and says that the paper wasn’t anything like the mock papers on which they had been practicing. So access to the live papers is what they want, in the hope that they can “teach” the right things and ensure the highest possible pass rate.

The people I really feel sorry for in all this are the candidates. Many of the intermediate courses run with very small numbers which takes away a huge value component that normally comes from the sharing of knowledge and experience with others in the group. Although I have never seen the lecturers behave in other than a professional manner, there must be times when the delivery lacks something simply because their faith in the product is less than 100%. And I remain profoundly skeptical about the actual value of the certificates that they are collecting.

In this week’s servicedesk360, APMG extol the virtues of the scheme on the basis of the quantity of Foundation exams that have been taken. They also make much play about the, still, forthcoming Master qualification. But given how long its gestation has been so far and the proposed launch date now being next year, I’m not so sure that it really solves any of the issues with the scheme. For some individuals who might aspire to having this cachet on their CV, e.g. professional trainers, it appears that they might struggle to fulfill the criteria.

While we wait for sanity to break out, I’m looking forward the itSMF conference – the 19th – and especially hoping to hear some controversial and thought-provoking sessions.

If you would like to attend next weeks itSMF UK conference in London 8th - 9th November 2010 click on the link for further details.


Aidan has made it through to the final stages of the 2010 Computer Weekly blog awards and now needs your support to push him over the finishing line. If you have enjoyed reading any of his blogs then please show your support by voting for him below before the 15th November 2010.


                                            Vote Here 


                   Category 2 - IT Consultant and Analyst    

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                                                 Any feedback and comments are always welcome!! 

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