The vast majority of IT certification exams require that candidates be tested in a controlled environment that is monitored by a testing proctor. This is meant in part to ensure that every candidate taking the exam will do so in an environment as similar to all other exam candidates as possible. Obviously, a significant portion of the rationale is to eliminate (or at least reduce) the number of candidates who cheat on the exam.
That said, there are a handful of certification exams that can be taken in an unproctored environment. Usually it is possible to take these via any computer with an internet connection. A significant number of professionals feel that any certification program that includes one or more of these exams is considerably less valuable. Their logic is that anything that makes it easier for candidates to cheat on an exam also makes it more difficult to trust the competence of people who have passed a certification track that includes one.
It is hard to argue with that thinking. If I were going to write about whether or not it is easier to cheat when taking an unproctored exam versus a proctored one, this would be a very short article. The question I am exploring, however, is what value we should attach to such tests and, by extension, whether they have a valid place in a certification program.
At one time, I most likely would have dismissed the possibility that these exams held any value. However, a number of…
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