How is Cisco addressing concerns regarding CCNA 3.0

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by tripwire45, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Since going through the Cisco Net Academy and passing the CCNA, I periodically get e-mails from Cisco on a variety of subjects related to their products and exams. I thought this one might be helpful to some of you:

    How is Cisco addressing concerns regarding CCNA 3.0 assessments?

    CCNA 3.0 has been live on the Academy Connection for a few months. We have received feedback from the community expressing concern about the implementation of the 3.0 assessments. Feedback has centered on various features of the assessments, including the use of new item formats & scoring rules associated with them, the alignment of some test items with curriculum, and the overall difficulty level of the new assessments. In addition, we have received questions about assessment features not yet delivered with the 3.0 CCNA assessments, such as Personalized Feedback, pre-tests and practice tests. The Academy program Assessment team is looking into these issues. We would like to give you more information on how we have been working to resolve them.

    1. Instructor and student perceptions regarding difficulty
    Instructors are saying that students taking 3.0 exams achieve much lower scores. We agree that the exams in 3.0 are more difficult than those in previous versions. The CCNA 3.0 assessments were designed with certain goals that impact the difficulty level. In addition, it is common to receive feedback from the community regarding errors and potential improvements during the release of a new set of course assessments. We would like to address the different factors that are impacting the community with respect to the perceived difficulty of the CCNA 3.0 assessments.
    A. Misaligned test Items with curriculum
    The Assessment Development team makes every effort to release the best product possible each time we publish new assessments. However, we realize we are not perfect and there are instances in which less than perfect content is released to the community. We pride ourselves in our ability to address concerns and issues as soon as they are brought to our attention.
    Thus far, we have found a few CCNA 3.0 assessments items that tested material not covered in the curriculum. We apologize for the confusion and frustration instructors and students experienced by these misaligned items. As soon as the items were identified, regrades were conducted for the affected exams to give credit back to the students. In addition, new forms without these items were made available for use.
    If instructors find there are still misalignment items existing in an assessment, please report to the Academy program Help Desk, by logging into the Academy Connection site. Click the Help link at the top right hand corner of the page and then select a link under Curriculum and Assessment Quality. This is the preferred way to report issues, so we can keep track of the issues, evaluate them and correct them. Emailing someone with an issue or posting it on a discussion board may or may not get the issue corrected.
    When students have concerns about an assessment item, they should review it with their instructor. If their instructor agrees they have a valid complaint, the instructor should submit the issue using the Help link mentioned above.

    B. Some items are focused on details rather than the general concept
    Instructors and students are saying that some items are focused on minutia rather than the general concept that students need to learn. Again, we pride ourselves in our ability to quickly address concerns regarding specific items once brought to our attention. As items are identified, our assessment development teams will review them to determine a specific course of action, which, in some cases, may include removal of the item from an assessment and re-grades when necessary.
    Our test development team is reviewing all the items with instructors now. Once we identify inappropriate items, they will be revised or taken out.

    C. Exams are designed to elicit deeper thinking of students
    We received feedback from instructors saying that the CCNA exams in the previous version are so easy that they don't prepare students enough for the CCNA certification exam. More specifically, instructors indicated that the assessments focused too much on memorizing content, rather than testing students' understanding of the concepts being taught. For CCNA 3.0, assessments were designed with this concern in mind. The assessments were designed to focus on the main conceptual foundation of the CCNA curricular materials, as such; the test questions require application of principles.

    D. Introduction of multiple-choice-multiple-answer (MCMA) items
    During the past year, instructors have also expressed concerns regarding the use of new item formats on the CCNA certification exams. With the introduction of CCNA 3.0, we specifically made an effort to align the item formats in assessments with the item formats typically found on the certification exam. MCMA items have been introduced in the chapter and final exams. Currently, the entire question must be answered correctly to receive credit for the item. However, we are conducting investigation to evaluate the impact of a partial credit-scoring model. We will give further details on this analysis and our scoring plans moving forward as soon as possible.

    E. Reading level of curriculum and assessments
    Instructors have big concerns on the increased reading level required for students to understand the curriculum and assessment questions. They are expressing concerns that the new curriculum and assessments may be particularly difficult for high school students and international students. Cisco is organizing a review team, which includes Academy instructors from around the world, to evaluate the current test items. Based on the international team review, the Assessment Development team will address comments and adjust items as necessary.
    While Cisco assessment team is working on these issues, any adjustment to students' scores will be scheduled as we identify specific issues and schedule changes to be made in the database. Please note, while we will make every effort to expedite the process, it will take some time and these activities may not be completed before the school year ends.
    The Academy program does not dictate passing requirements for students. As always, instructors should use local policies to decide the students' grades. Given the flexibility of the online Gradebook, instructors may adjust the weight of chapter and final exams, and use Custom Scores to record students' performance in the class and lab activities, therefore, making the students' average score in the Gradebook a reasonable reflection of their actual performance throughout the semester.

    2. Personalized Feedback is not available in CCNA 3.0
    Personalized Feedback is available in 2.1.4 assessments but not in 3.0 assessments, this is because personalized feedback can only be created in dynamically delivered courses. The current 3.0 curriculums are static; however a dynamic version of the curriculum is currently in development. We understand the personalized feedback is a very helpful tool for both instructors and students, therefore, we will provide personalized feedback with assessments when the CCNA 3.1 dynamic courses are launched. In addition, users will see improved personalized feedback functionality, in which assessment feedback can provide links not only within the course, for instance, CCNA4, but also can link users across courses within the curriculum, including CCNA 1, 2, 3, 4.

    3. Pretest and Practice exams are not available in CCNA 3.0
    Due to the tight timeline to release CCNA 3.0, the assessment team was not able to develop pretest and practice exams. They will become available in 2004.
    The Academy assessment team will continue to work on making the program and the assessments better for our community. Please understand that we can never make the program perfect without your input. If you find any exam items that are perceived as not appropriate, as giving wrong answers, or if you have any other concerns, please use the Academy Connection Help link to report your concerns to the Help Desk, and they will be addressed.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+

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