Bert Bates wrote:Hi Guys,
We've got some news from Sun concerning recent changes to the SCJP exam.
First a little background about how Sun ALWAYS administers their certification exams:
All of Sun's exams go through rigorous processes during their creation, AND during their "live" lifetime. First off, the exam's objectives are created and verified. Next, new questions are created using an iterative creation / review / beta test / modification cycle. Once questions have gone "live" their performance is also monitored. Sun checks to see if the questions become too easy or too hard over time, or if questions cause too much confusion. When Sun determines that certain questions aren't performing well in the field, those questions are either fixed and retested, or they are retired.
Finally, Sun wants their certification exams to be challenging. They don't publish their targeted "candidate success" goals, but our assumption is that they want a certain percentage of candidates to pass, and that means a certain percentage will fail. Whatever their formula is, it appears that they want those percentages to stay fairly consistent over time (which makes a great deal of sense, and seems very fair). In other words, if there was a universal "difficulty" rating, and let's say the initial SCJP 6 exam had a difficulty rating of "7.6" (I'm totally making this up ), then when they fix or retire questions they still want the resulting exam to have a difficulty rating of "7.6".
With all that said, what happened recently is that Sun determined that several questions and objectives weren't performing well in the field. Some questions were fixed, and some were retired. In order to maintain a consistent difficulty level, they changed some of the objectives, re-evaluated the remaining questions' difficulty levels, and came up with a new number of questions, and a new passing percentage.
But, long story short, Sun went through an extensive process to make sure that the revised exam is just as hard to pass as the older version - not easier, not harder.