Evaluating Pilot Certification Requirements
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The goal of the agony certification program is to bridge the gap between a beginner to PvP and the advanced PvP pilot. Too often pilots attend PVP-BASIC and PVP-WOLFPACKS and then are tossed out and left to their own devices. However, there is a huge amount to learn about PvP within Eve that can not be covered in a single class. When left to their own devices many people learn lessons or skills the hard way at the cost of expensive hardware. Furthermore, just because a pilot has attended PVP-BASIC or any other class does not necessarily mean that they know the material of the course. They could have just sat there the whole time and did what was told of them without understanding why.
It is your job as the evaluator of a certification not just to recite the questions and get rote answers but to make sure that the pilot knows the material. If the pilot does not know the material then you will not be doing them any favors in the long run. Furthermore, you should be making sure that the pilot that is being certified works as hard as you did to obtain the certification. Through quality, we get more competent PvP pilots and more prestigious certifications. Although you will get paid for your time in certifying other people, the certification shouldn't be about collecting fees but rather making sure that the candidate for the certification is strongly qualified. Remember it will be your name forever linked with the certification of that pilot and if you certify them poorly, it will reflect on you and AGONY as well.
In order to get started, we have to describe how a pilot is certified.
In order to be certified, the pilot will need to make a post in the Certification Scheduling forum. The pilot will post a time that they can budget for the certification and then someone will look at the forum and schedule a meeting with that person. At this time the pilot should be ready in the prescribed location with the necessary equipment to take the test. If they aren't ready it will be up to the evaluator whether he wants to wait for them or force them to reschedule. Once ready, the pilot will pay the evaluation fee to the evaluator and the test will begin. Note that if the candidate is an AGONY pilot, there are no fees to be paid assuming they have the necessary rank to take the evaluation free. Finally remember that certifications are always one-on-one tasks. You can not certify several pilots at once.
The evaluator will take the user aside in a channel on AGONY's Ventrilo server and begin giving the oral part of the exam. As the exam progresses, the evaluator will engage in a conversation about the content of the exam, which will cover all the necessary elements in the exam but not necessarily in the order listed. Each evaluator will have a different style but the evaluation should be more of a conversation than a QA session. Evaluators may ask follow up questions if they aren't satisfied with the answer. At various time the person taking the cert may have to demonstrate certain things. In this case the demonstrations can take place during set up demonstrations on live or test server. In addition, the evaluator may have flown with the pilot enough to have seen them demonstrating various things and be able to certify them. For example, if you have seen the candidate jump into a bubble camp and survive, you don't need to make them demonstrate that in a contrived circumstance.
Once the student passes the certification, their evaluator will record that they passed on the scheduling thread. Within a few days at most, a senior officer in AGONY will add that person to the userclass of certified pilots. This addition will potentially depend upon auditing of the evaluation by another AGONY officer to ensure quality.
Certification Evaluation Hints
The evaluator should treat the evaluation like a conversation. The important part is to drill down under the material to make sure that it is not being regurgitated by rote memory or read off an article. if the student tries to give you a rote memory answer, ask them to elaborate on their answer and provide more detail. There will be people that try to bluff their way through a certification and you should be able to detect this. If you stick just to the questions as they are phrased in the requirements list, you could have problems with unqualified people getting through.
When it comes to demonstration, you should be careful about using high value assets on the main server. For example, when it comes to getting out of a bubble, you might want to get an AGONY interdictor pilot to log on to the test server with the candidate and have the interdictor really try and kill the candidate. This can be much more compelling and cheaper than doing it on live server. However, the choice is yours. If you think the test can be conducted safely on live server, go for it.
There may be situations where your candidate might have other AGONY pilots that can vouch for their skills in certain areas such as demonstration of some tactics. These you can accept at your own discretion. Some other skills you will want to have demonstrated. For example when it comes to scanning down someone in 3 min, its unlikely that even someone who has skirmished before has been timed.
Remember that the spirit of the content is more important than the exact words of the test. If you give the test question and are unsatisfied with the answer, probe further and see if you can become satisfied with the answer.
Stick to the curriculum needed. Although the cert can be conversational try to keep it focused on the material being tested. For example, when talking about skirmishing don't let the discussion stray to how to fly covert ops ships.
All certifications are subject to oversight by the senior officers (Vice admiral and above). These officers may randomly listen in on your exam or check up on the student to see if they know the material that you test them on. Oversight is a completely random task so as to avoid the ability ot spoof the oversight. A VA or higher may randomly decide to take the pilot asside and ask them some questions needed by the cert to check the responses.
Probationary Period Required Certifications
As of January, 2009, the Certification Evaluator certification is no longer required to administer the Basic PVP Ops and Structure and Organization Certifications for Lt Commanders. Officers may also administer the Intermediate PVP Ops certification without first gaining this certification. All other certification evaluations require the evaluator to hold the Certification Evaluator certification first!