Why Does Oracle Charge For Beta Exams?
By Harold Green on Jul 27, 2009
Why does the Oracle Certification Program charge for beta exams?
Doesn’t this delay the beta to live process significantly?
I recently received these very good questions and thought that it would be good to address it with a post here on the Oracle Certification Blog.
There are several important reasons that we charge for betas, with one of them being much more important than the other.
1. Delivery Costs
When someone takes a beta exam, we are charged a delivery fee. By charging for the betas we are able to cover the costs of delivery.
However - although it is important for us to cover the costs, this is not the main reason that we charge for betas.
2. Reliability of Beta Exam Results
The reason that we run betas on our exams is to gather test-related data from qualified candidates. We use beta exam results data to analyze the reliability performance of the exam questions, assemble the exams and set the scores (among other things).
Unfortunately, free betas encourage undesirable behavior in some people with exam results that greatly reduces our ability to perform our analysis. If we offered free betas exams we would see a dramatic increase in:
- "No shows" at the testing center. We (Oracle) would we still have to pay the delivery fee.
- Early terminations (stopping the test early)
- Exposure of exam content. People will re-take the exam it over and over to find out what is on the test.
- Poor results data. Free exams attract test-takers who are either significantly unprepared or unqualified.
- False results data (from people deliberately take the exam under false pretenses in order to throw off the results).
Some of these may seem strange, but having worked in certification for a number of years, I've seen multiple real-world examples of these. The unfortunate end-result is usually an increased length in the beta period (delaying scores even more), an increase in the effort/cost to analyze results, and a decrease in the quality of the ultimate production exam.
For this reason, we plan to continue to charge a minimal fee for our beta exams.
I am very interested in any ideas that you might have in how to encourage continued participation in Oracle’s beta exams, as the better the attendance – the shorter the beta period and hence – the faster exam scores are released.
Director, Oracle Certification