• [Essex] RSGB announces removal of exam practials

    From Essex via rec.radio.info Admin@21:1/5 to All on Sat Oct 2 03:05:16 2021
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    Essex Ham

    RSGB announces removal of exam practials

    Posted: 01 Oct 2021 09:22 AM PDT https://feedpress.me/link/22841/14785839/rsgb-removes-practicals.html

    The RSGB has today announced the permanent removal of the practical
    elements of the entry-level Foundation exam. This follows the scrapping of
    the Intermediate practicals in 2020.

    Here is the wording of todays official announcement:

    The mandatory Foundation level practical assessments have been suspended
    during the past 18 months when clubs were unable to meet in-person due to
    the Covid-19 pandemic. This has allowed over 4,500 candidates to take the remote-invigilation online Foundation exam through self-training and/or distance learning. Now that Covid-related social-distancing restrictions
    are ended, clubs can meet again and re-start in-person training for those

    candidates that want it. Naturally, tutors are wanting to know if and when
    the mandatory practical assessments will be resumed. This was considered by
    the RSGB Examinations Standards Committee (ESC) at its recent meeting, at
    which Ofcom was represented, and we can now announce that the following

    decision has been reached:

    The current mandatory Foundation practical requirements, as detailed in
    Section 10 of

    Syllabus 2019 v1.4, are, with immediate effect, permanently removed.

    The announcement concludes with a suggestion that practicals will be
    considered as part of the next major syllabus review, and that clubs are
    free to offer practicals if they wish, they just wont be mandatory.
    One of the Amateur Radio Foundation Practical Assessments

    For those not familiar with the practicals at Foundation, these consisted
    of mandatory assessed FM and SSB QSOs, use of radio controls, setting up a station, antenna matching / SWR and either a Morse appreciation or a data
    mode QSO.

    Todays decision is largely set to polarise the UK amateur radio community,
    with arguments both for and against, commonly:
    In favour of removing practicals

    This allows people to get licensed without the need to visit a club for practical sessions handy for those without easy access to a local club
    It speeds up the licensing process no need for students to wait for a
    local club to run a course
    Many view practicals to be of limited value, not relevant, and often
    treated as tick boxes
    Allows more time for a club to focus on teaching the theory, or developing
    its own, more relevant practicals
    Removes the admin of the Registered Assessor and venue approval

    Against the removal of practicals

    Many people like to learn hands-on visually, as opposed to from a book or online videos
    Clubs may feel cut out of the training loop, which is often an area for recruiting new members
    RAE exams were often criticised for having no practical element and
    producing operators with limited practical experience, something fixed with
    the 3-tier system
    Hands-on training encourages students and tutors to work together and
    allows for a two-way interactive experience
    Improves confidence when buying and setting up a station, and getting
    on-air solo for the first time

    As the RSGBs announcement suggests, clubs are still free to run hands-on practicals and demos during their training courses just because theyre no longer mandatory, that doesnt stop clubs from demonstrating concepts via
    demos, practicals and show-and-tell.

    Its already evident that during the pandemic, over 4,000 people have been
    able to pass the exams and get on-air without the need for practicals or
    the support of a bricks-and-mortar club. That said, many of the recent newcomers will have passed without touching a radio or adjusting an antenna.

    Many clubs initially concerned about the removal of practicals will no
    doubt see the opportunity that this change presents by putting on events
    and skills / activity sessions aimed at helping newcomers, theyll be able
    to offer a valuable service to newcomers, free from the burden of the exam structure and the admin of formally assessing exams. For many years here in Essex, we were heavily involved with a monthly Skills Night aimed at
    helping newcomers to gain confidence and try something new.

    Moving forward, we can expect to see the smarter clubs moving towards
    training and skills development, as a way to attract newcomers to their
    clubs, and to fill the need for local hands-on support and advice for the
    new generation of online exam students.
    Your thoughts?

    What do you think of the removal of practicals? Have your say belowThe post RSGB announces removal of exam practials first appeared on Essex Ham.

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