Low pass rates for L3.
Three key reasons:
1. A lack of understanding on where the bar is.
2. A lack of understanding of where their own abilities are.
3. A lack of concern about the exam itself.
1. A lack of understanding on where the bar is. Several have already posted some of the reasons for this. Getting Examiners all on the same page across the country is a daunting task in itself - but they are working on it. Getting Area Trainers to that same page is even more daunting. Getting everyone to that same page is impossible. IMO, PSIA RM has done the best at helping to develop that understanding with their videos and the BB 2007 Exam Maneuvers document. I am astounded that National has not adopted them and taken them to the next level nationally. Perhaps the best thing about the document is it describes what perfection is and what failure is. The videos would be greatly enhanced by commentary that describes what movements are being made that define passing. Stop action photos with lines etc. to enhance what is required. Kind of a full blown MA of it that is the hallmark of MA here on EpicSki. I think showing videos of typical failures would also be a real plus, with the same EpicSki MA quality. Video tape real candidates in real exams and point out what they are doing that does and does not meet the standard for that level. Link the Visual Clues to it. I wrote my PSIA Division asking for this, if you agree, write yours and maybe we can get enough energy to get it going.
2. A lack of understanding of where their own abilities are. This can be a real problem as several have already pointed out. This runs the gamut of not being told, sugar coating it, not hearing it, not really understanding it or just not accepting it. Never mind "now that I know, what do I do about it". You would think a cornerstone of our profession would be being honest and telling it like it is. How you do that can vary a lot but fundamentally don't we owe that to everyone we teach? However, I know how difficult it is to look a peer in the eye and tell them they are just not ready. It isn't any easier for Ed Staff and Trainers to do either. Another Division is looking to use the Visual Cues to Effective and Ineffective Skiing as the vehicle for providing participant feedback in clinics and Exams. Outstanding! Written yes or no for each item could go a long way towards clearing the fog around what a person is or is not doing in their skiing. (Well, at least an understanding of what is or is not being seen. Serious further discussions need to take place to better understand what is or is not going on.)
3. A lack of concern about the exam itself. By this I mean there are a lot of people that I think take the exam knowing full well they are not skiing at or above the level required to pass. It is an event or they take it to meet their education requirement. Some take it to get the feedback they can't or don't seem to be able to get otherwise. Lordy, some even say to learn something but I can only speak for myself and an Exam is the least conducive environment to actually learn anything.
Is L3 hard to make - you bet! Each level is exponentially harder. If Level 1 is a one degree of difficulty, then Level 2 is a three level of difficulty and Level 3 is a nine! Or 2, 4 and 8! Regardless, IMO, the L2-L3 gap is considerably wider than the L1-L2 gap. I advocate that PSIA have a fourth level like CSIA so that L3 isn't the pinnacle that seems to get further away the closer I get!
It would be interesting to get some real statistics about pass fail rates.
Actual pass/fail rates by year. By Division? Any trends? Any unusual discrepancies?
Average number of times an exam is taken before passing.
Average length of time between exams? Between levels?
Pass/fail rates by age, by gender?