Problem: Certificates and degrees don’t measure real understanding or ability to apply the knowledge learnt and are often little more than a sheet of paper. The cause is that most certifications, even when awarded with rigor, measure the students ability to cram and regurgitate knowledge a short time after the material was taught. No certificate or degree provides any measure of how much of knowledge or skill is retained 6 or 12 months later.
Since any potential employer can’t rely on a candidate’s certificate/degree to indicate that they actually knows the material (or can apply it), they are forced into retesting every candidate (i.e. the dreaded technical interview). This is an incredible wasteful process for both candidates and the employers. What is needed is a certification process that can’t be gamed that measures true retention of knowledge and skill.
Solution: Use an approach similar to WADA’s whereabouts system [1, 2] that is used to detect drug cheats in sport. Certificate/degree holders would be tested on their knowledge and skills at some point after the certificate/degree was awarded. Holders would be able to register their availability for testing at certain times and days on a system similar to the WADA ADAMS system . They would be called at 12 hours notice anytime over the next 3 to 12 months and asked to sit a test in one of their nominated times slots. Failure to be available for the test would mean a fail.
Such as system would prevent cramming and it would only measure long term knowledge retention as there would be too short a warning of when they were to be tested. The knowledge tested could then be certified by the testing agency to be Real&True™. Employers would not need to test a candidate again in the interview process.