# Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yesterday I attended the MCP Live Meeting "Protecting the Integrity of Microsoft Certifications". There were actually two sessions (I attended the first). The "thing" that basically led to the Live Meeting is the Non-Disclosure Agreement (you know, those legal ramblings you have to agree to when you sit the exam).

The LM focused on the content of the NDA and Microsoft's efforts to protect the integrity of the exams and thereby its certifications. Naturally a lot of questions about TestKing were envisioned by the MS-people, so they included an update on the TestKing-case.

Also noteworthy was that the independent organizations co-hosting the LM (CertGuard and Mitch Garvis) provided some pointers as to why to certify and if certification would be of use to you. By the way, CertGuard is a site that may help you with a lot of questions regarding certification integrity, not just Microsoft. So if you have a question on materials or policies, you might want to click the banner below.

CertGuard: The StrongHold For Excellence In IT Certification and Exam Security

As for the rest of the LM, I'll keep an eye on Trika's blog to see when the recording and transcript are posted (and update this post).

<update date="2007-05-25">

Trika posted a summary and the link to the recording.


But I had some extra reasons to attend;

First was the recent inclusion of simulations in MCTS exam 70-431. Lots of people were caught by surprise by the (all of a sudden heavily scored) simulations. The simulations on the exams, also referred to as Performance Based Testing, provide a more real world opportunity of testing the skills of the candidate. Besides testing the skills, it also battles just learning the answers to known questions (braindumps). The downside was, that a lot of people weren't prepared and failed the exam (undoubtedly a lot of them for the right reasons; not knowing the product). Still Microsoft could have been more clear and open about the simulations (they do provide some info, tucked away on the learning-site). In the LM, Microsoft made it clear it is their desire to include simulations in all MCTS exams and other exams where applicable. So make sure you prepare and know the product.

My second reason was if I could find out how the NDA affects me as a Microsoft Certified Trainer. For one part the role of the trainer is to guide the students in their learning path, often towards a certification. Also, a trainer is required to pass the exams for the technology the trainer delivers courses. That makes the trainer knowledgeable on the exam, but to what extent does (s)he also disclose when preparing the students? To me this is where business models, my professional role and the exam NDA might conflict.

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