Certification Examination Process
The candidate will be provided with the following information at least two weeks prior to the exam:
The panelists will be provided with the following information at least two weeks prior to the exam:
Selection of Panel
The examination panel is comprised of at least three current Diplomates in the Academy who are in good standing, including a Chair that is assigned by the Application Committee. To maintain consistency, the Chair must be someone who has already served as a panelist in the ACOPNE interview process; the other panelists may or may not have been through the process before. They will be selected by the Application Committee out of the pool of Diplomates in good standing. Anyone who has not been on an examination panel before will receive detailed instruction on the process by the Chair.
Each panelist will receive a score sheet where they can track the applicant’s responses and rate the applicant as either meeting the requirement satisfactorily or not. After the examination the panel will discuss any requirements that were found not to have been met satisfactorily by all of the panelists. If there is any discrepancy, each panelist will explain the reason they found the applicant to have been deficient in one of the requirement areas. If all of the panelists find the candidate deficient in the same area, the candidate failed the exam.
After discussion of the requirement, a consensus must be reached. If there is no consensus between the panelists, the Chair will present the matter before the Application Committee. The Chair will try to remain unbiased in his presentation and present both sides of the argument to the committee. The Application Committee will decide the final outcome with a simple majority vote.
As part of the score sheet, there is a place for the panelist to provide feedback about how the exam was conducted and the processes used. The feedback is then used by the Application Committee to improve the process over time.
Pre-Examination Meeting of the Panelists
The chair of the examination panel must meet with the panel immediately prior to the examination start. The Chair must cover the following areas:
The candidate is to give a presentation that should cover his professional work experience, with example projects as appropriate. Through this presentation, the candidate should demonstrate that they have achieved mastery in one of the Body of Knowledge (BOK) elements. The candidate should be specific about which BOK elements they believe they have mastered. The candidate can provide hand out materials only to supplement their application. No computer projector, slide, overhead presentations, or any other electronic medium that would aide in the presentation are allowed. (Although for example, a handout of PowerPoint slides is acceptable). It is up to the candidate to convince the panel that they have achieved the requisite body of knowledge at the expert level. In most cases, this can be accomplished in 30 minutes to an hour, although there is no time limit or time requirement.
Following this presentation, the candidate will be given a scenario or a number of scenarios to assess their professional judgment. These scenarios will not be provided to the candidate before the interview. The responses will be used to evaluate the candidates understanding of Coastal, Ocean, Port and/or Navigation Engineering and approaches to solving problems.
Admissions Committee Evaluation Criteria
In evaluating the above requirements, the ACOPNE board has decided to use the ACOPNE Body of Knowledge (BOK) elements and levels to evaluate whether a candidate has progressed to an acceptable level of professional competence and can be considered as an expert in one or more aspects of Coastal, Ocean, Port or Navigation Engineering.
After the presentation, the candidate will be given a series of questions by the examiners to clarify the full extent of the applicant’s experience. The examiner’s questions will relate to the applicant’s specific presentation, as well as any other areas of his professional career as necessary to provide a basis for assessing whether the candidate has:
Evaluation of the candidate would be as follows:
Using the scoring form, the individual panelists will determine if a candidate either satisfies the requirement or they are found unsatisfactory. An unsatisfactory mark by one of the examiners doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate failed the exam. After careful deliberation that immediately follows the exam, all unsatisfactory marks will be discussed at length, if there is anyone who marked the same requirement as being fulfilled satisfactorily.
The form also provides several lines for comments below each area of evaluation. This space would be used to briefly state the reason behind the panel’s decision. This would ensure that the Academy has documentation explaining why a candidate may have been rejected.
After the examination is complete, the Chair is to collect the individual scoring sheets from the panel members, fill out the Tabulation of Exam Form and the Panel Assessment of Examination Form as well as any materials that were provided by the candidate to the panel to Academy staff at:
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191
The Academy staff will then forward this information to the Application Committee who will conduct a semi-annual assessment of the examination process in order to improve it over time. Staff will then notify the candidate via email and letter of the examination result as well as any other appropriate materials (i.e. certificates, pins, etc).