Microsoft can't give away beta cert exams, so starts charging

Naughty you: 'No show rate is at historic highs' for tests and that pollutes Redmond's data

Microsoft can't give away enough of its beta exams, so it will start charging for them.

That odd state of affairs was revealed in a post from Microsoft Learning that brought us news that the “No show rate is at historic highs” for beta exams.

That's a problem for Microsoft because the company uses beta exams to secure a pool of data that lets it “perform the required psychometric analysis to identify the good items and remove the bad items in a few weeks.” It's also unwelcome because if you bail on a beta “these seats are 'lost,' meaning that they took a seat from someone who would have showed up but couldn't participate in the beta because all the seats were taken when s/he tried to register, often requiring us to extend betas.”

Beta exams are free to sit, but still count towards certifications.

Microsoft's principal psychometrician and quality lead Liberty Munson has therefore announced that “Starting with our next beta … we are introducing a model where the beta codes will be an 80 per cent discount off the exam price rather than a 100 per cent discount.” The fee you pay for a beta exam “will be applied to the next exam that you take within one year” regardless of whether you pass or fail the beta.

Clearly, Microsoft wants people to take its beta exams seriously. The Register, however, can imagine naughty people signing up for a beta exam, spending a lazy fifteen minutes on nonsense answers and pocketing the 20 per cent discount for an exam they want and/or need to take. Microsoft could be left with data just as dirty as it has now.

Not that Reg readers would do this: our stories about vendor certifications always attract comments galore about them being of dubious value compared to real-world experience. Feel free to go there again, if you feel like it. ?


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