Experience time as a prerequisite to taking an exam
This category raises the question of additional hours of required training in order to sit for an Exam (ARTH). However, PMI is the only organization to require training prior to taking their exam, considerable debate ensued over how best to score this. Because the 35 hours of training can be fulfilled by studying books of sample exam questions or listening to podcasts and does not require the rigor found in an undergraduate degree course, those hours were counted at face value (i.e. 35 hours required, 35 hours counted under ARTH) with no additional hours to cover outside or additional study. (See EXAM calculations below for more)
Scoring of exams
The next component of our scoring model was how to score the exams (EXAM). As done previously, there are two components:
- Time spent actually taking the exam, which came from the information published on each organizations web pages and/or downloads for their respective exam and;
- Level of Effort spent by the individual in studying for and preparing to sit for the exam. To calculate this value, a general consensus was reached that for each hour of exam, 30 hours of preparatory time was required. (Admittedly, this was based almost entirely on PMP and CCC/E experiences). Using the PMP exam as an example, the exam itself is 4 hours long therefore, 4 x 30 = 120 hours of total effort to prepare for and passing the exam. However, at least in the case of PMI's PMP, part of that level of effort is the 35 hours of required course work, so to avoid double counting those hours, we deduct 35 from 120, yielding an EXAM score of 85 for the PMP.
The final challenge was how to weight the Total Level of Effort required for the Assessment processes (ATCA). Following the processes developed previously, we also broke the ATCA score into two elements:
- How many paid/volunteer person hours were required to conduct the Assessments? This information was readily available on most of the sites. While nearly all assessments required between 2-5 hours of assessor time, the key variable was how many people were required to conduct an assessment. To calculate this value, we multiplied the number of paid/volunteer assessors required x the average time it takes to conduct an assessment. The asapm (roughly equivalent to the IPMA Level B) use 2 assessors conducting an interview for hours. Based on this reference, 2 people x 2 hours = 4 person hours of effort.
- How many hours of preparation time does it take a person being assessed to prepare the required documentation, submit it to the assessors then participate in the assessment process? Lacking any empirical evidence, an assumption was made that for every man hour of assessment that is required, the person being assessed would need to spend 10 hours in preparation.
Worth noting is that while all the competency based credentials required assessments, only two, AACE's C3PM and PMI's PgMP, required that the applicant being assessed submit "360 degree evaluations" from supervisors, peers, subordinates and customers. AACE accomplished this by requiring a logbook, similar to those maintained by commercial pilots or SCUBA divers, while PMI required that the applicant submit signed copies of the assessment surveys.
Next month in Part 2
we will illustrate the findings of our scoring model and discuss the results.
We will conclude by pointing out the limitations of our study, yet draw conclusions