ITIL V3 Intermediate exams - the money engine wins again

With the release of the new format for ITIL V3 Intermediate exams, once again APMG and the ITIL Qualifications Board have opted for maximising profitability and sellability of product for the ITIL Version 3 training industry over maximising the quality of the resulting trainee.

I enjoyed reading ITSM View commenting on the new exams for Intermediate level ITIL V3 qualifications:

8 multiple choice questions ! ...if you consider that the exam is 90 minutes long you get the idea that these are not simple questions. In fact the questions are scenario based, each with 4 possible answers and (get this) there are varying degrees of "correctness" for each of the 4 answers...Now there is a really right one that is worth 5 marks, a not quite so right one that is worth 3 marks, a answer that earns 1 mark and a "distracter" worth 0... Having a gradient scoring system is very subjective. In real life there are multiple ways to achieve a result, so in this regard it makes sense to have different "correct" answers. However, my view of what is the right way to deal with a situation will be different from someone else and the choice is dependant on many more factors than can be documented in an exam (e.g. emotions, experiences).

What the ITIL Qualifications Board is saying is you can have your own view and now we'll mark you down for it instead of marking you wrong for it.

What it shows is that the Intermediate courses really need to have written answers so people can argue their alternate point and demonstrate whether they actually know what they are talking about or just guessed the wrong answer.

But written answers would reduce EI profitability, interfere with instant gratification of the buyer, and favour those who are literate. We all know being literate isn't a requisite for people who own processes.

Ponder this: what does a manager think who paid x thousand dollars for an employee to go on a course which will qualify them for a process management position, and finds out the course was three days and the only test of the trainee was a multichoice quiz?


V3 Intermediates

There are 2 other things that bother me here as well (wearing both my trainer and examiner hats).

1) All 8 questions will have to be perfect - there is no room here for slightly ambiguous answers. With the foundation exam, you can always point out to students that even if there a couple of strangely worded questions, they are still going to be able to pass. One dodgy question here could be the difference between pass or fail.

2) Security - how long will it be before all training organisations have anecdotal versions of the questions. Particularly when all trainers have to sit the exam - it won't be long before 100% pass rates can be pretty much guaranteed. It reminds me of a section from the novel the Secret History - the end of term exam for Invariant Subspaces has a question that is two pages long - but the answer is always 'yes' and that's all you need to know to pass!

I'm not a Version 3 hater by any means, but I think we have some continual service improvement yet to come.


Focus of training

Plus how long before trainers train students to pass the exam, not to expose them to the wider subject matter

Ha... I thought it was the

Ha... I thought it was the case for the most part. At least with my trainers. Too focused on high scores to be able to market themselves "better".

The trainers dilemma

Being fair to trainers they face the dilemma that they, and their companies, are primarily judged on their pass rate. The market is very competitive which makes it difficult for anyone to break ranks and deliver a value adding course at greater cost.

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