Myth- "Only good test takers pass their ASE tests"
I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase. By co-workers and managers alike. "Ah he/she only passed because he's/she's a good test taker." "He/she is book smart so that's why they passed" followed by their speculations of what they can't fix.
I believe whole heartedly that whoever has taken/passed their ASE tests know full well that they must know the systems, and have the discernment necessary to ace these questions.
Plus the computer based testing allows for continuous updates to questions pertinent to the subject, likely to cover new technology that's constantly being launched at us.
Source is up for speculation. But yes it took me two years as a general tech to find this out on my own, upon passing my first test, and coming to the full realization of it when passing the L1 test.
What do you all think? Myth or fact?
Today this is a myth,
true in some cases 35 years ago. As a general statement even then I would put it in the myth catagory. There are cases on both tails of the bell curve where very good technicians can’t pass a test if their life depended on it and some who hold master certification who’ couldn’t fix a “soup sandwich“ with written instructions
I say myth when the exceptions are filterd out
I agree with you there, I know great techs that have failed the ASE tests, but at times due to the wording, because they make it plenty obvious they know what they are doing. But i have yet to meet a master tech that couldn't fix a ham sandwich. Mind you, I've never taken anything other than the computer based testing. So I am assuming that it was easier to maybe cheat with paper testing. But I'm speculating, I wouldn't know first hand.
Not so much cheating, although I’m sure it happened. Their just was not as much that you needed to know 20-30-35 years ago to prove competency. A solid service writer could pass the tests and achieve master certification as long as they could read and write well. Didn’t mean you could fix anything. Good techs proved their self in the shop. Best of the best did both
I have been honored to have asked to participant in the question development workshop for ASE. I was humbled to be in the company of some of our industry's top talented professionals. I was amazed by all that went into the test question formulation. There is a methodology or science involved in formulating the questions indeed! Many of the questions that I wrote were struck down for bias or something else, buy it is a constant process of writing, review, panel review, test panel review etc.
While any test is just an indicator of one's knowledge at a point in time, I believe that some folks maybe "logically wired" and accel at tests in general. I realized later in life that I am dyslexic and struggle with reading/reading comprehension in general. I know there are many techs out there that struggle with the same issue.
I believe passing tests and being a competent tech can be 2 seperate things- 1 is having the "knowledge" the other is having the "skills" to apply that knowledge!
I do support tech training, testing and ASE certification, I have been ASE certified over 25 years and am fairly proud to have attained Recertified Master Tech L1 L2 L3 status. Some may argue that its flawed- I would point out that in the "wild west" of skills assessment it is by far the best thing we as an industry have going at this point.
What needs to change in our industry is how the public perceives us and our craft. I wish there was a better public awareness of what it takes to be a modern automotive technician/mechanic. ASE is just the tip of the iceberg in demonstrating this. I would be interested in what some of the rest of you all think about how we change our industry's perception moving into the future. Sorry for the ramble.... just my 2 cents. Peace E.
First, thank you for volunteering to make the testing better. It was not a paid position, correct?
Secondly, like you I feel ASE Testing doesn't do enough to establish the value of technician certification in the public's eye. There may be a few trains-of-thought as to WHY, in the decades of (NI)ASE's existence, it has failed so miserably. For instance, is it because ASE knows the certification process could be seen as a paper tiger in the eyes of the public? Could it be there are unacceptable numbers of certified techs who are unable to properly perform functions expected of them - since they certified in what they failed at? Could it be advertising to the public adversely affected their bottom-line and those in charge found that unacceptable? Surely there are more reasons.
In addition to the multiple-guess tests, I feel there should be more to the certification process. By definition, a certified person should be adept in whatever area the certificate is issued and ASE does nothing to ensure this. Often times I see techs with the paper who aren't proficient in what they are certified, so in the end, "of what value does the certification represent?" becomes an important question.
After buying my certifications for 35 years, I've decided to forego recertifying this time. I just do not feel there is a value (huh! A lot like the public views ASE certs).
P.S. - Although this is in response to your post it is not directed at you Eric. It seemed an appropriate place to voice my opinion.
P.S.S. - Several months ago ASE posted on iATN requesting feedback... The discussions generated (on both sides) were impressive.
I am one of those "good" test takers. I have the ability to read and comprehend at a high speed. As far as testing goes if you understand the basics of the test you're taking it should be a fairly simple thing to pass. There is no trick question it is a matter of comprehension and reading the question as it is written. Some say there are more than one answer that is correct, I believe that is a seasoned tech reading into the question more than one correct answer.
I also sadly have the attitude that it is just a partial measure of one's understanding. It is one thing to talk about performing a voltage drop test and an entirely different one to perform it and understand the test results. Don't get me wrong I have made mistakes and they have cost me. Usually it is due to the interruptions that occur in a shop environment. I would truly like to see that technicians in the USA have to do what techs in Canada and other nations have to do and that is pass a written exam as well as a hands-on exam to show proficiency in what ever discipline that is being practiced. This would put everyone on a more level playing field and maybe actually get us the pay that we are all due.
My College record speaks for itself. Most tests I take do not end well for me. I first took the ASE tests in the 90s. I passed my Master Certification in my first round of paper and pencil tests. I was scared to death. I had no prepping or study guides. I had no idea what it would be like. My passing of the ASE tests had everything to do with my experience as a technician. Over the last few years I added L1, L2, L3, G1 and the Master Truck series. The tests do not seem "easy" to me as I hear others say. They are however like graduating College. It is not an end but a beginning. As there is not requirement in most of the US States for testing/licensing it is the best we have. If I were a shop owner today, every technician would be required to have ASE certifications before working on the applicable area of repair. The caveat to that would be an apprentice working under a certified technician. So I think it is a myth that only good test takers pass.
I also hear that anyone can pass an ASE if they are good at studying. I don't understand why people view studying as a bad thing. When you study, you learn.
I believe that most mechanics can pass the ASE if they study. But the question is, what does that say about the mechanics who can't pass the ASEs?
Not everyone has learned to read, write and do math at the same level. Not everyone has been taught critical reasoning skills. I am very fortunate to have parents that were school teachers. Although I grew up in a rural area, I believe the schools were pretty good. This is not the case for many. Some just got by and got out of High School. Some schools lack the resources to properly educate their students.
It is our obligation in society to help lift one another. Last year at an AMRA meeting, I spoke to the training manager of Firestone. He told me he has some very successful technicians that have attempted and failed the ASE tests multiple times. So it sounds to me like it is more of a reading and understanding the question problem than a skill problem. This may not always be the case.
Then we ask how do we help those with the skills to repair vehicles who lack test taking skills to pass the ASE? How much self confidence would that give them if they can pass the test? The key is that we don't lower the bar. We should work with the technician to raise his or her ability to understand and take the test. Give them sample tests to take over and over. When questions are missed work together to explain why they got it wrong. Then give the same test to them until they get 100% on the sample test. A caring peer, manager or shop owner could do this. How dedicated would the technician be after his manager took the time to help him or her succeed?
In this dog eat dog industry we work in, it is easy to become competitive. It is easy to enjoy the failures in the stall next to us. I never overcame this while working as a flat rate technician. If we can become supportive rather than competitive, how much better would it be in the shop?