Last week, I shared some ways that the ICS Certification Program has changed exam development. In part 2 of this series, I will discuss the types of items (exam questions) that have been eliminated from ICS Certification exams over the last two to three years.
In ICS, we only create multiple choice-type items. There are variations on that type of item where the candidate can choose only one correct answer, a "Choose one" or where a candidate can choose more than one correct answer, a "Choose two" or "Choose three" and so on. Beginning three years ago, in ICS, multiple choices were limited to one, two or three correct answers. Beginning in 2015, multiple choices were limited to just one or two correct answers only. The reason for this limitation is because having to get more than one answer correct to get the entire item correct makes the item inherently more difficult for the candidate. The more choices the candidate has, the more extremely and unreasonably difficult the item becomes.
Another change to exams is negatively-phrased items have been eliminated. Here is an example of this type of item: Which choice is not a flower? A. Rock B. Daisy C. Rose D. Carnation. These have been eliminated because they are more likely to trip up a candidate who knows the material than a positively-phrased item.
Another type of item that has been eliminated is the All/None of the above. Here is an example: Which choice is a flower? A. Daisy B. Rose C. Carnation D. All of the above. Again, these have been eliminated because they are more likely to trip up a candidate who knows the material than a simple, straightforward item with four distinct options.
Please note, all of the changes discussed here only affect new exams published since the changes were enacted. Older exams will still have negatively phrased items, more than two or three correct answers, and etc.
ICS Certification Program Manager
Based in Austin, Texas, Rena has worked at IBM in a variety of roles for the past 17 years. In that time, she has worked in IBM Notes and Domino Support, the Accelerated Value Program, and now, ICS Education with Certification. She has always stressed knowledge as a way to plan and solve problems.