Accountants have the CPA exam. Lawyers must pass the Bar. I'm guessing that dentists and doctors have some sort of test. Teachers and librarians qualify for licensure. One of the marks of a professional is an objective demonstration of knowledge and proficiency in one's field of practice. While such credentials have never been a guarantee of excellence, it is comforting to see that framed diploma on the dentist's wall when she's coming at you with a big whining drill.
So I was excited to read about an effort by CoSN to certify Chief Technology Officers (CTOs). I've looked over the e-mail below about the CETL certification and even attended a session on the topic this week at our local tech conference, TIES. Unhappily, the more I dig into CETL, the more questions I have. These questions include:
- Will any potential employer actually recognize CETL certification as a valid indicator of proficiency? (How many HR directors or superintendents even know what CoSN is or what it represents?)
- How valid is using a multiple-guess test in determining a knowledge and skills base for this field, given its changing nature, its diversity of responsibilities, its lack of best practice research, and its dependence of success on interpersonal skills? (Full disclosure - I only scored 40% on the practice test, despite having been a tech director for 20 years.)
- Are the costs of the test and prep materials reasonable?* The exam prep book is $350 for members/$550 for non-members; the exam cost is $400/$700; the exam re-take cost is $200 per part, per re-take; and the recertification (required every three years) cost is $150/$300. OK, for something as recognized and established as the CPA exam, I could buy this. But these prices for a new test with no track record?
I have no issues with core "competencies" of CoSN's Framework of Essential Skills. I don't have a problem with some sort of assessment of proficiency in these areas.
But for my money - both as one looking to hire and one who wants to be hired - I'd advise that your candidate CTO has a track record of accomplishments as demonstrated by a portfolio of work.
The reality is that assholes can pass tests, but rarely get much accomplished in the real world of education. I'd not expect much from someone with a few letters behind his/her name. I'd look for experience - and success.
* It's ironic that technology, through MOOCs. badges, etc., is allowing people to explore alternative means of learning and accomplishment in learning to the traditional and expensive educational processes. For a cuttin' edge organization CoSN seems to be woefully ignorant of the movement.
Have you mastered the knowledge needed to bring 21st century learning to your school district? If so, CoSN invites you to test this knowledge by sitting for CoSN’s Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) certification exam. Those who pass this rigorous exam will hold the CETL designation, which will demonstrate to your supervisors and colleagues that you are committed to bringing leading edge technology to our nation’s schools. ...
What is the CETL Certification?
The CETL certification exam is based on the Framework of Essential Skills for K-12 CTO. Developed by professionals working in the field, the Framework is the body of knowledge that successful education technology leaders must have to bring 21st century learning environments into our nation’s schools.
How is the Exam Structured?
There are two parts to the exam:
- Part I is a multiple-choice, two-hour exam administered through Internet-Based Testing (IBT) at a proctored test site. You will be given a pass/fail notification at the end of the exam.
- Part II of the exam is essay based. Those who pass Part I will be sent an email with instructions for taking Part II, which may be completed on your own computer. Candidates will have seven days to submit their essays (submission instructions and the deadline will be provided in the email).
Is Certification Right for Me?
The CoSN CETL certification program is specifically designed for CTOs and those aspiring to be CTOs. Those who achieve CETL certification will:
- Demonstrate to your colleagues, superintendents, and subordinates that you have mastered the body of knowledge needed to bring 21st century technology to K-12 school districts.
- Show your dedication to remaining current in the education technology field through the CETL recertification requirements.
- Work with your school district to ensure that technology is considered and implemented in all aspects of your school district’s strategic planning.
If you aspire to achieve these goals, the CETL certification is right for you.
For more information about the CETL exam, please visit the CETL Certification website.