The Financial Services Skills Council is believed to be planning an inter-mediate exam between FPC and AFPC based on multiple-choice questions, prompting fears of “dumbing down” ahead of next week's examination review update.
The FSSC is scheduled to unveil its plans to move from approved to appropriate examinations and it is believed that it will set out proposals for a new exam to be positioned between the current FPC and AFPC levels.
One industry source says the exam will be entirely multiple-choice, which some believe is “inappropriate for testing the application of knowledge”. Some industry commentators believe that this move will leave the council open to criticism.
The CII says the council needs to provide the industry with substance to handle the changeover from approved to appropriate exams effectively.
CII qualifications development manager Paul Turner says there is a growing pressure to provide the industry with specifics rather than general themes.
He says that the biggest problems are the timescale of changeover, selection of exams and definitions of what is an appropriate exam.
One industry source says: “The Skills Council is running scared. It knows that it needs to deliver something soon so it can show it is effective but providing a new exam like this is counter-productive.”
“If this new exam goes out as multiple-choice, it will not be testing application of knowledge. This will dumb down the industry.”
Turner says: “If there is no clarity, then people will have to move forward of their own accord. Companies and trade bodies need to start preparing for change and they are unable to unless the Skills Council provides specifics.”