Certification Exam Security… what can be done?

The following is a comment I made to a blog article on Network World on the topic of certification exam security.  The actual post can be found here: 


Using the MCP ID card as your security poses a number of downsides.  To mention two severely opposite issues:

1) A new candidate, or one who has never passed an exam, does not have a card yet; and

2) I have no fewer than ten such cards for my various certifications, including two for MCSA on Server 2003 because they mailed me two of them.

With the pervasiveness of fingerprint scanners on many computers and with external fingerprint scanners being relatively inexpensive I thought this might be an interesting way to ensure that the candidate taking the exam was who he or she said they were.  This is not a foolproof method, as the same person could register and take all of someone's exams going forward, but it would go a long way to eliminating many incidences of cheating.

I would love for Microsoft to come up with a better testing method than multiple choice; those were the exams that were easiest to cheat on in high school, and that has not changed.  I suspect they are working on it, and it cannot come soon enough.  Of course simulations are nice, but there are nowhere near enough of them yet… and the ones they do have are still too easy to guess.

What is the solution?  If it were a two line answer it would have been implemented long ago.  I just hope they come up with something soon!

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