RAC Bulletin 2013-011E – RAC Completes First Phase of Review of Amateur Radio Exam Questions
In December of 2012 Industry Canada put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) to update the amateur radio question bank. RAC responded and subsequently entered into a contract with Industry Canada in January 2013 to update the amateur radio question bank. RAQI was engaged by RAC to collaborate on the French language component of the contract.
This is an update on our project milestones with respect to this project which is of keen interest to all amateurs. Radio Amateurs of Canada, on March 13, 2013, delivered to Industry Canada a comprehensive and detailed set of recommendations to improve and modernize the question banks used for examinations to qualify radio amateurs in Canada.
The curriculum will not be changed by the review. Prospective hams still need knowledge of the same topics. However, changes were proposed to make all questions correct, clear, understandable and relevant to amateur radio in Canada today.
This required great attention to detail. The review team examined more than 3000 questions and 12000 answers used for the Basic and Advanced examinations in English and French and aimed for perfection in every one.
Technical and linguistic accuracy were equally important in the review. Changes included correcting factual errors, replacing obsolete language and examples, making questions and answers more clear and addressing current amateur radio practices and regulations. The team accomplished most changes through editing of existing questions but also recommended that some obsolete questions be deleted and proposed new questions. Comments from radio amateurs in response to the RAC bulletins on the question bank review aided the team in identifying where changes were needed.
The review also assessed the complexity of questions and recommended where questions in one exam might be more appropriate to the other. It recognized current trends in learning and assessment. Rote memorization is no longer important in a society where detailed information is at everyone's fingertips. Understanding principles and concepts and where to find information are more important today. Several questions were modified to recognize this approach. The overall objective is to remove unintended barriers to participation in amateur radio and provide the basis for fair examinations of required knowledge.
Industry Canada will review the proposed changes and respond to RAC in early April. The review team will consider this and develop further recommendations as required in the final phase of the review that will be completed in mid April. Industry Canada will decide on the final changes as a result of this process. Until that decision is made the existing examination material will remain in use.
Glenn MacDonell, Project Manager, Question Bank Update Project and Deputy Director Ontario North East, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW
President, Radio Amateurs of Canada
Vernon Ikeda – VE2MBS/VE2QQ
RAC Blog Editor/RAC E-News/Web News Bulletin Editor