|Date: ||Tue, 4 Sep 2007 16:52:16 -0400|
|Reply-To: ||Ed Heaton <EdHeaton@WESTAT.COM>|
|Sender: ||"SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>|
|From: ||Ed Heaton <EdHeaton@WESTAT.COM>|
|Subject: ||Re: SAS Advanced Programming Exam for SAS 9: SAS Joke of the year.|
|Content-Type: ||text/plain; charset="us-ascii"|
Okay, I think I need to weigh-in on this.
First, the exam is designed to test what you know about how SAS works.
I think it does a fair job at that. (I say so partly because I only
scored 89 on the exam. Now, I didn't prepare for the exam; I was really
testing the exam when I took it as opposed to using the exam to test my
The exam doesn't know how well you can program. There is a big
difference between having a large vocabulary and knowing the rules of
grammar and knowing how to write. Similarly, there's a big difference
between knowing how SAS works and knowing how to program. The exam does
not test how well you can program.
That said, when I look for someone to hire that I don't know, I need
everything I can get to evaluate the candidate. Sure, it would be nice
if they brought a portfolio of their code so I could see what they can
write. That seldom happens, and when it does the code is often not
really written by the applicant.
So, I look for other things. An applicant often tells what they worked
on, but that too can be exaggerated.
What am I left with? Well, someone can program who doesn't know SAS,
but probably they won't be a very good SAS programmer. I'd rather have
the exam to judge than to not have the exam.
If I were to apply for a job where the employer didn't know me, I would
also want the certification to help them make the decision.
Oh, as for the version 9 questions, I remember finding several. Just
don't remember what they were. I'm sure the exams are not all the same.
Rather suspect they have a pool of questions and randomly select them
Edward Heaton, Senior Systems Analyst,
Westat (An Employee-Owned Research Corporation),
1650 Research Boulevard, RW-4541, Rockville, MD 20850-3195
Voice: (301) 610-4818 Fax: (301) 294-3879
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Paul Dorfman
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 7:19 PM
To: SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU; jontugman@YAHOO.CO.UK
Subject: Re: SAS Advanced Programming Exam for SAS 9: SAS Joke of the
Test preparation is akin to following a simple algorithm:
1. Evaluate the test and discover if it is worth taking.
2. If #1 evaluates false then go to exit.
3. Determine if your *test* knowledge of SAS is insufficient.
4. If #3 evaluates true, do the test preparation.
5. Pay the money.
6. Take the test.
From your standpoint, the step of paramount importance is step #1. That
where you mainly failed. From SAS' standpoint, only one step matters:
This is the only reason the test was created in the first place.
The world would be a better place if all employers understood that as
However, some recruiters/HRers require the certificate as a CYA backup
should they accidentally hire a pure test-passer.
Fortunately, I have not seen many occurrences of this nature since the
inception of the boondoggle, perhaps because most candidates are almost
inevitably interviewed by people qualified in SAS better than HR. And
qualified people saw the program for what it is even before its advent.
SAS-L is replete with numerous posts to prove it.
Needless to say, it does not imply in any way that any
has no more SAS behind the belt than the certificate can cover. Far from
that! Many fantastic real-world people have been forced into the thing
their SAS partnership business needs, many have taken it just for the
of it because their employer would pay for it, etc.
My opposition to the thing as a matter of principle is based on the
conviction that this form of exam cannot even approach the evaluation of
one's ability to do SAS-related work with any degree of accuracy, even
the questions were formulated ideally and in sufficient quantity. It
be especially apparent to anyone having had the misfortune to waste gobs
time creating a similar computer-adaptive test from scratch.
On Fri, 31 Aug 2007 11:00:08 -0700, jontugman@YAHOO.CO.UK wrote:
>Sick joke, not funny.
>You would have thought that adding the 9 tag to the exam would have
>meant testing the ability of using version 9. Not so. The exam doesn't
>test the ability of version 9. It doesn't even test the ability of
>using SAS. It tests one's ability of guessing the right answer,
>because on a lot of the questions that's all you can do.
>We cannot take material out of the test centre, so I am relating these
>issues from memory, but 42 is the answer to the Universe, and this one
>did stick in my memory.
>Question 42: Correct answer: None of the above. They have swapped the
>value of one of the observations around and there is no option in the
>A-D to do that.
>At least two other questions return a different sort order to the
>input, with no sort order in the options.
>After coming across question 42, I almost walked out. But I had been
>preparing for this exam for weeks, and I was determined to see it
>through to the end. Plus I don't like throwing money away.
>You might call me bitter: Failed the exam by 2%, that is just one
>guess wrong. I normally have problems with multi-guess exams, the only
>exception being IQ tests which I normally score quite high on. But as
>with the IQ tests, this SAS advanced certification is totally
>meaningless. I came across a thread written some years ago, which the
>writers expressed the opinion that it doesn't count for anything at
>all. I had already paid for the exam by then, but if I had read that I
>wouldn't have paid for it, because quite rightly it doesn't have any
>bearing on anything.
>Plus, if I were a potential employer, and wanted to evaluate the
>validity of using the exam to test potential candidates, I wouldn't
>want to future of my business riding such a pile of doodoo.
>I've two shots at this one. I am not doing again. I have the base, and
>that is good enough for me.
>Who ever added the version 9 bits to exam, has obviously not used
>version 9 in anger, as the really nice stuff which you can't do in
>version 8 wasn't there at all. I have been using version 9 for a year
>now, and will not willingly go back to version 8. VVALUE, CATX,
>COMPGED just a few examples. Give those to a version 8 programmer and
>he would be floundering.
>No, my recommendation is to simply ignore this one. Don't do it, it
>just raises the blood pressure unnecessarily.
>Oh, and don't for goodness sake, do any SAS exam in France. A friend
>of mine did the base recently, and when no certificate was evidenced
>in the post, or his name in big shining lights was shown on the
>website, after his triumphant success at passing it, he phoned SAS,
>only to be told that they have no record of him passing it, and, to
>quote (but translated from the French) "Did you pass it?"
>So its probably just easier now to phone SAS, say you've passed their
>exam, and when they say they haven't the paper work, just stamp your
>for on the floor in defiance of their ineptitude, and they will
>relent, because they have screwed up in the past, they can do it again.