Everyone should review and understand the IBM Policies and Test Practices listed on the certification web site. Additionally, before taking any future test, you should visit the policies web page to check for updates.
What is Non-Independent Test Taking (NITT)
NITT is when a test taker receives assistance, (either from other individuals or physical materials), that is not a standard and acceptable type of assistance available for all who take the test. And, as a result of that specific type of assistance, the responses provided by the test taker during the exam, are not necessarily their own.
One critical outcome of NITT is the test results received are meaningless. The purpose of certification testing is to assess the knowledge and skills of the individual person who registered to take the test. When a test is not taken independently it has no value.
Interesting points about NITT:
- Using any type of assistance does not ensure success.
- A test taker may actually fail the test (even with assistance provided).
- If caught, the consequences are severe.
The types of activities often thought of as an example of NITT is a test taker who:
- secretly takes written notes (or other documentation) into the testing location, with the intention to use them when taking the test.
- looks at another test-taker's answers during the testing session.
- communicates with another person to get answers when they take the test.
People often refer to these activities as: Cheating. All methods of Non-independent testing are equally serious. It does not matter when the assistance occurs. If testing is not independent it is a NITT violation. An Example: An excellent example of NITT activities outside of the testing session is: Using study material with the certification exam test questions.
An Example of Non-Independent Test Taking (NITT):
Use of study material containing questions from the actual certification exam. Everyone who uses certification test questions to prepare for an exam, compromise their ability to test independently.
The reality is that just by reviewing actual test questions, in advance of an exam, it is impossible for the test taker to respond spontaneously, based on independent thought. (This is NITT.) Further, the assistance & unfair advantage provided, is based on advanced knowledge of proprietary information.
All IBM Professional Certification test questions are IBM confidential, copyrighted, and are the property of IBM. So, the violations actually go beyond policy and also become a legal concern, as well. The implications become more & more serious. Still, there are some web sites offering "study guides & exam preparatory materials" considered to be fraudulent, because they are really illegally acquired, certification test questions.
And although the "guides & materials" (that include the actual certification test questions) are illegal, unauthorized, and unreliable, they are passed around openly on the internet (on websites & blogs), and from person-to-person in discussion groups, etc.
To safeguard your on-going certification status, you should carefully consider test questions provided as study material**. Look for indicators to suggest the material may be the certification exam test questions. Any one of the following may be an indicator that you might want to consider:
- Are many IBM tests, for distinctly different product areas, listed on the site?
- Are most IT companies, also, included on the site?
- What does the site indicate about the tests?
- Are there claims the questions are the same as the certification exam?
- Any guarantees of passing the exam?
- Are actual educational study materials provided as a study guide?
- What have your peers told you?
- What comments do others make about the test (in person or on the web)?
It is to your advantage to avoid study materials that may contain the actual certification questions presented on IBM certification exams. IBM has data forensics that can detect results based on a candidate's prior access to certification exam questions.
**The only study materials which contain questions, that can be considered 100% assured of being authorized by IBM, are those listed on or pointed to from www.ibm.com/certify
Detecting Non-Independent Test Taking
IBM (and many IT certification programs) has devised methods to detect the use of resources containing IBM certification test questions. Through complex data forensics, we can identify a NITT violation. The forensic analysis is based on a variety of factors and different elements of the testing results. (IBM does not rely on any single piece of data.)
It is important that in addition to a standard review of the overall test results, there are multiple aspects of response patterns that are analyzed. The psychometrics of the test performance is evaluated. And IBM also includes independent statistical analysis in making the determination. Based on this rigorous evaluation, IBM can make the NITT decision with certainty and with an unchallengeable degree of confidence.
IBM takes notification of NITT very seriously. A notice is sent only when the conclusion is unmistakable.
By sending a violation notice, IBM has determined, undoubtedly, the testing candidate had access to the test questions (and used the questions) to prepare for the exam. The status of Pass or Fail does not matter. Also, it is not relevant whether the use of questions, from the certification exam, was intentional (or unintentional). In all cases, the fact is the test-taker had reviewed the questions from the certification exam, prior to taking the test.