Thursday, 6 August 2015

New Google Exams

WOW! I have just completed my Google Educator Level 1 exam. I was expecting a "refresh" but that is not what I got. I am already a Google Certified Trainer (Previously Google Educator) so I didn't need to do the exams but want to understand how they have changed.


The previous Google exams were very skills based. When exams are so rigid in the knowledge they expect you to know, it is rather like being tested by a binary switch; you either know it or not, right or wrong 0 or 1! This meant that if you didn't know the exact set of answers required, you would not do so well.  What the exams didn't test was your application of these skills in context. 

Skills are pretty useless unless you can use them in context so a change that puts you in the role of a teacher in a school and sets tasks where you can demonstrate your skills is a much better model. So this new style of exam is a much better way to test your skills and knowledge. 

I don't want to talk about specific scenario in the exam in case some of you are tempted to prepare that particular scenario. I suspect that they have a large number of different questions that are selected randomly so I may do you a dis-service if I am too specific.

I will say I was tested whether I:

  • was comfortable using a range of different media in the classroom
  • was able to organise a whole range of different resources to enable easier access for your students
  • was able to apply a variety of  communication tools (email, comments, Google groups etc...) to give feedback and support that feedback with relevant resources
  • was able to use tools beyond the standard Google Apps for Education 10 core tools


It was a much more intense and rigorous exam than the previous iterations of these exams and you had to read the questions very carefully (when was that not the case in exams?).  I think this is a much more appropriate test and whilst I found it hard, I am very pleased it has moved to an education focused scenario model and that it is a more challenging test overall. There were some things I had not done before the exam but I was able to complete them because the test required me to complete the task in the actual app rather than be asked a question as to whether I knew or not. The chance to go and find out how I do something during a test and not be penalised as long as I work it out, is a fantastic piece of functionality in this exam. You can't always know everything but you can usually work a lot of things out given time. 180 minutes is definitely what I would call lots of time.

The training materials are great. There are sections of text, places to make notes about your thoughts, targets and ideas which you can compare against previous answers from other teachers, videos covering a number of different topics and regular topic tests to check you have understood. There were some topic test question whose answers showed too simple an understanding of the different roles who might help schools but overall they were very useful prompts about what you had and had not understood sufficiently well to complete the test.


If you are logged in, it will track your progress through the materials and you can return to it many times and find your place.

DONOTREPLY in your Contacts

Once you register for your exam, you will get an email notification of the immenent arrival of your exam. That email tells you to add an email to your contacts to make sure you receive all other emails. It is very important that yuo do this. I have heard of people having trouble receiving emails and I suspect (not absolutely certain) that it is to do with this email in your contacts. Your presence is tracked via your webcam which means you can't leave your place and you have to be logged out of all accounts except the test exam. This did cause me one problem. I was logged in to the machine with my usual account but had logged out of Chrome once logged in ( a complicated sentence but I hope you understand what I mean). When I came to select some resources out of my test account, it didn't find the correct Drive. I had to download some resources and locate them in the Downloads folder. I would strongly suggest that you print off your account details and log in to the device with that single account to avoid this.


Overall, A much better exam process that tests (as far as any single test can) the knowledge a teacher brings to bear on their classroom as well as the technical skills of using Google Apps in their classroom. So, Level 1 down - on to Level 2 now! I'm a glutton for punishment!