PSM II and PSM III timeboxes

Last post 08:51 am July 29, 2021
by Tomasz Głowacki
6 replies
11:52 am July 28, 2021

Could somebody explain to me why timeboxes for PSM II and PSM III increased by 30 mins in the last few months, to 90 and 150 minutes, respectively? Was the change correlated to changes of the exam based on new Scrum Guide? Is the change done to make the exams easier? How does it look like from your perspective. staff answers are more than welcome.

02:05 pm July 28, 2021

Increasing the PSM III timebox by 30-minutes last March was done for several reasons.

With the release of the 2020 Scrum Guide we continued to evolve the questions to ensure we are validating the knowledge and experience that we expect of someone who has earned PSM III. Virtually every question was updated in some manner and new questions were added. Part of improving the questions involved offering a little more guidance on the general direction we expect the answer to take, but that also demands that the assessment taker respond with the specific topics we are looking for - answering may require more typing and time.

Also, in our continual efforts to combat fraud, we are continuing the policy introduced that 2020 to restrict assessment takers from preparing answers in advance and pasting those answers directly into the assessment. 

The 30-minute extension allows us to maintain the reputation, integrity and difficulty of the PSM III, while adjusting for those that simply need more time to type their responses and those for whom English is not their primary language and may find typing answers in English versus their first language more laborious.

**The timebox for PSM II is unchanged at 90-minutes.

04:54 pm July 28, 2021

How the combat fraud topic is related to PSM III timebox? I am not sure whether I understand it?

09:30 pm July 28, 2021

The quick answer is that while limiting the ability to paste deters people from purchasing/sharing answers(fraud) it increases the amount of time required to complete the exam.

Limiting the ability to paste an answer into the PSM III (and PSPO III), is just one of multiple steps we take to combat fraud. For example, we detect substantially similar answers on tests taken by multiple people. We restricted the ability to paste in 2020, and speaking with test takers and watching the duration of the exams after making that change led us to believe that the 2-hour timebox was too constraining, when you consider that all answers must be typed into the system.  We did not want to reduce the difficulty of the test or the number of questions as to reduce the value of the exam instead decided to extend the timebox.

As we outline in our Standard of Conduct, we strive to keep the assessments accessible and affordable around the globe.  A large part of that is not requiring you to take the exam "in-person" or "virtually-proctored", so we prefer to take several smaller measures to combat fraud.

09:45 pm July 28, 2021

Thanks for the explanation. This is great and clear what you expect now. What surprises me is that the conclusion could be "before restriction people could paste the answers and we taken it into account by shorten timeboxes"? Was it allowed? Or you rather mean "people could support their answers by using external text fragments"?

11:03 pm July 28, 2021

Yes, in the past test takers were able to paste in external text fragments, and the graders of the exam made the final determination about whether the text, pasted or typed, provided an acceptable answer. The grader was assisted by tools to evaluate whether other test takers had used the same or very similar language. We were unable to selectively block what can be pasted, so when we did allow pasting of text the grader would be unable to tell if the entire answer was prepared in advance, or just a quote from a source was pasted.  Completely restricting the ability to paste in text is the direction we have taken to help even the playing field, combined with the timebox extension.

The timebox is in place to assess the test taker's ability to respond without having answers pre-written. We know that since we require answers in English some test takers in the past were inclined to prepare answers in advance, and the new restriction on pasting may have created a disadvantage for those for whom English is not their first language, yet must rapidly type their answers in English.

Just as we do now, we have always required that the test taker properly reference or attribute any copyrighted material used in their answer.  Also, a quote alone is not an acceptable answer, the answer must explain why the quote supports the test takers response.

*Quoting other materials is not required to achieve all possible points, and is often a detriment to a good answer.  We want to hear the answer in your own words.

08:51 am July 29, 2021

Okay thanks. One technical perspective from my side: when I was doing PSM III exam in the new approach, I wanted to change order of my two sentences (which was more than only "nice text", but was about the order of the steps in case study. I cut the sentence from the text input and I was not able to paste it back. I needed to rewrite this sentence.