Lineage vs Testing

Gerry Seymour

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Agree with you 100% there.

To go to the

- college, you will need to take the SAT test.
- gradulate school, you will need to take the GRE test.

Without testing (ranking), how can you separate good students from bad students?
If the same professor taught the student beginning to end, there wouldn't be a need for formal testing, so long as they have a way of evaluating knowledge along the way (asking questions, having discussions, etc.).

I personally like testing for a number of reasons, but I don't think it's inherently necessary within MA, unless you want to be able to transfer between schools.
 

Hyoho

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Agree with you 100% there.

To go to the

- college, you will need to take the SAT test.
- gradulate school, you will need to take the GRE test.

Without testing (ranking), how can you separate good students from bad students?
I don't know how you grade but I have sat on many Japanese grading panels. The word "bad" is not mentioned. We look for what people can do for them to pass. If they can't do certain things that are required? They are simply not ready and should try again when they are.
 

Hyoho

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Testing doesn't need to be a test. A non-martial arts example:
When someone wants to be certified to SCUBA dive, they start with a basic Open Water certification. There are minor variations between agencies, but generally speaking that certifies them to plan and conduct dives, with a buddy, in open water, to a maximum depth of 60 feet. Single tank. No overhead environments. No mixed gases. No mandatory decompression.
There are skills that have to be learned and demonstrated to obtain that certification. Mostly mechanical skills. If you like, you can see a list HERE. These skills are initially taught during the classroom, and then practiced in a pool or other confined water.
So some instructors will take the student down, sit them on the bottom, and go through the skills one by one.
Others (and this is my preferred approach) say "OK, let's go diving." because in large part, those skills are things you are going to do on a dive. Doing it this way is low stress, because let's face it. Test anxiety is a real thing and a real problem. This is also my preferred approach in the dojang. Every student is tested in every class. The "test" day is just a chance for them to show off in front of the other students.
My problem with that is taking a group of Chinese or some Japanese on a dive from the Dive Shop who already passed PADI Advanced. Many sink straight towards the bottom and have zero negative buoyancy. Zero idea of distance kicking each other in the face and many more things. Sadly like MA there is often a double standard.
 

Dirty Dog

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My problem with that is taking a group of Chinese or some Japanese on a dive from the Dive Shop who already passed PADI Advanced. Many sink straight towards the bottom and have zero negative buoyancy. Zero idea of distance kicking each other in the face and many more things. Sadly like MA there is often a double standard.
Your problem with what?
Sounds to me like you know all you need to know about them. They have poor skills. That's what a test is for; determining the level of skill. If it does that, it did it's job, regardless of how formal or informal it was.
And what is considered good certainly varies widely. And that's not entirely unreasonable. If it reasonable to expect an OW or AOW diver to have the same buoyancy control I do? Probably not. Is it reasonable to expect someone certified by PADI, which is aimed at the mass market vacation diver who gets 20 dives in 10 years to have the same skillset as someone certified by GUE, which is aimed more towards technical divers or those who plan to move into technical diving? Probably not.
It may not be an apples to oranges comparison, but it is, at the very least, comparing apples from opposite ends of the apple spectrum.
 

Hyoho

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Your problem with what?
Problem is you don't know until after you have jumped off a boat with them in the middle of the ocean. They show the card and you have to assume they are what the card says. Dive shops don't have policy or testing or checking customers abilities.
 

Dirty Dog

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Problem is you don't know until after you have jumped off a boat with them in the middle of the ocean. They show the card and you have to assume they are what the card says. Dive shops don't have policy or testing or checking customers abilities.
No, but you can (and most shops in my experience do) ask things like how long they've been certified, and how many dives they've done, etc.

When they're PADI certified (PADI is the agency for the masses, which means their minimum standards are pretty minimum), have been certified 5 years and have 10 dives, you should have a pretty good idea what to expect from them.

I've been to a number of places (mostly shore diving destinations) where a "check out dive" was mandatory before you were turned loose. The given reason was "to get your weights right" but you can be assured it was also a way to see who had what skills.

And most all dive shops that I use make sure that someone new to their shop goes someplace easy to be checked out. For example, one of the "bucket list" dives on Cozumel is The Devils Throat. It's a tunnel about 60' long, that starts at about 80' and comes out at 130' or so. Technically, OW divers should not be in that sort of overhead environment, but it's common practice for OW divers to do swim throughs. A swim through of that length, though, especially at those depths, is a bit sketchy for OW divers. Everybody wants to go do it. There are a couple of dive shops who will look at your card and say 'get on the boat', but not many. The shop I use there (Aldora Divers) and most others, will not take you there regardless of what card you show them, until you've been on an easy dive or two so they can check out your skills.

If you look at a site map for Cozumel, you'll notice that all the sites are on the west side, south of the town. There are actually excellent sites to the north, and on the east side, but they are all considered advanced dives, because of current, depth, etc. One example... if you go astray at any of the southern sites, you're going to drift along the coast, past tons of boats, or you could paddle your way in to shore. If that happens on the north shore, the next thing you're going to see is Cuba...

Aldora is the only shop that does east and north sites. On one trip, I wanted to go north. I went into the shop, and the fellow was new. I handed him my cards (Trimix, Hypoxic trimix, Cave...) and he insisted I needed to do some south sites first. I was willing, because those are all fabulous sites. But Memo (Memo and Dave are the owners) came through and straightened it out.

Honestly, I would avoid a shop that didn't do this sort of thing like the plague. Or cattle boats.
 

Hyoho

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No, but you can (and most shops in my experience do) ask things like how long they've been certified, and how many dives they've done, etc.

When they're PADI certified (PADI is the agency for the masses, which means their minimum standards are pretty minimum), have been certified 5 years and have 10 dives, you should have a pretty good idea what to expect from them.

I've been to a number of places (mostly shore diving destinations) where a "check out dive" was mandatory before you were turned loose. The given reason was "to get your weights right" but you can be assured it was also a way to see who had what skills.

And most all dive shops that I use make sure that someone new to their shop goes someplace easy to be checked out. For example, one of the "bucket list" dives on Cozumel is The Devils Throat. It's a tunnel about 60' long, that starts at about 80' and comes out at 130' or so. Technically, OW divers should not be in that sort of overhead environment, but it's common practice for OW divers to do swim throughs. A swim through of that length, though, especially at those depths, is a bit sketchy for OW divers. Everybody wants to go do it. There are a couple of dive shops who will look at your card and say 'get on the boat', but not many. The shop I use there (Aldora Divers) and most others, will not take you there regardless of what card you show them, until you've been on an easy dive or two so they can check out your skills.

If you look at a site map for Cozumel, you'll notice that all the sites are on the west side, south of the town. There are actually excellent sites to the north, and on the east side, but they are all considered advanced dives, because of current, depth, etc. One example... if you go astray at any of the southern sites, you're going to drift along the coast, past tons of boats, or you could paddle your way in to shore. If that happens on the north shore, the next thing you're going to see is Cuba...

Aldora is the only shop that does east and north sites. On one trip, I wanted to go north. I went into the shop, and the fellow was new. I handed him my cards (Trimix, Hypoxic trimix, Cave...) and he insisted I needed to do some south sites first. I was willing, because those are all fabulous sites. But Memo (Memo and Dave are the owners) came through and straightened it out.

Honestly, I would avoid a shop that didn't do this sort of thing like the plague. Or cattle boats.
Here in Asia we tend to steer away from locally run shops and go for those run by foreigners. Twice I have come up and the boat was "gone". They had not even done head count of how many were diving!
 

Dirty Dog

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Here in Asia we tend to steer away from locally run shops and go for those run by foreigners.
In much of the Caribbean, there are... legal obstacles to this. The shop I meaned, Aldora Divers, is typical. Dave is American, and Memo is Mexican. Dave provided most of the capital, Memo provided the dive expertise and runs the operation.
Twice I have come up and the boat was "gone". They had not even done head count of how many were diving!
Sounds like an unskilled, inexperienced diver (which is kind of redundant, actually) is the least of your worries.
 

Gyakuto

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The advantage of examinations for discrete grades, is supposed to be one of consistency of ability between candidates from different dojo. A 1st Dan in the U.K. should have comparable skills with a 1st Dan in Canada. However, this assumes a comparable level of rigour in grading panels across the world. This is not the case!

I personally think its very unhealthy for a teacher to grade their own students because of unconscious bias. Better to have dispassionate examiner who doesnt know the student.
 

Dirty Dog

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The advantage of examinations for discrete grades, is supposed to be one of consistency of ability between candidates from different dojo. A 1st Dan in the U.K. should have comparable skills with a 1st Dan in Canada. However, this assumes a comparable level of rigour in grading panels across the world. This is not the case!
And, as with so many others, seems to assume that this requires a formal testing environment. It does not.
I personally think its very unhealthy for a teacher to grade their own students because of unconscious bias. Better to have dispassionate examiner who doesnt know the student.
Agreed. Sometimes. As I have said before, our tests are more just a chance for the candidate to show off a bit. But we do grade their performance. And it is impossible to fail. If a student cannot perform a given part of the curriculum (which happens, it's generally a matter of test anxiety) their promotion is pending, and they will try again. Historically, it's pretty much always a smaller/younger student who struggles with the breaks. On one occasion that I can recall, it was test anxiety so bad that the student forgot how to do several forms.
For geup ranks, grading is done by a senior student. Generally, this is one of the Dan holders, but lower ranks (always higher than the person testing), with a Dan holder supervising and advising 2-3 of them.
Dan ranks are graded by a board of three or more. They may all be from our school, but when possible we do bring people from other schools, and our KJN tries to attend as many as possible.
Unless it is completely unavoidable, instructors avoid being on those panels. And I flatly refuse to ever sit one for a member of my family. I train them, but I will not grade them. Not because I'd grade them higher. But because I have a tendency to hold them to a higher standard than other students. They have free private lessons, after all!
 

Gyakuto

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Agreed. Sometimes!

I suppose the point about unconscious bias is that its守nconscious and its good you recognise this with your family members. But you may not with your own students, within whom youve invested time, effort, seen them train hard (or very little!), buy expensive gear, come every training session or not etc etc. It is bound to colour your opinion of them守nconsciously

Our official graders have to be 4th Dan or above ( which equates to a minimum of 9 years experience in the art), have been through a mentoring programme and observed a certain number of gradings observing their mentor, had their first attempts at being an examiner supervised by their mentor before they are signed off to examine up to 2nd Dan (or is it first?) only. Its avfairly robust system, I think, but certain examiners are known to be soft and other much more discriminating. Across a panel of five examiners, this bias is believed to average itself out, but I still see people pass grades who, in my opinion, should not have!仄賤儭

To reduce unconscious bias, I personally think all examination candidates should perform their grading with a brown paper bag over their heads (with breathing holes punctured through, of course匈m not a sadist).
 

Dirty Dog

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Agreed. Sometimes!

I suppose the point about unconscious bias is that its守nconscious and its good you recognise this with your family members. But you may not with your own students, within whom youve invested time, effort, seen them train hard (or very little!), buy expensive gear, come every training session or not etc etc. It is bound to colour your opinion of them守nconsciously
I suspect that's more of a problem when the test is rigid and formal. If I don't already know they can perform the curriculum, they're not testing.
Our official graders have to be 4th Dan or above ( which equates to a minimum of 9 years experience in the art),
That would be a 1st Dan in our system. Possibly (but very unlikely) 2nd.
have been through a mentoring programme and observed a certain number of gradings observing their mentor, had their first attempts at being an examiner supervised by their mentor before they are signed off to examine up to 2nd Dan (or is it first?) only. Its avfairly robust system, I think, but certain examiners are known to be soft and other much more discriminating. Across a panel of five examiners, this bias is believed to average itself out, but I still see people pass grades who, in my opinion, should not have!仄賤儭
Again, the whole concept is predicated on the idea of a rigid, strictly structured test. We don't do those. And your system also requires a lot more access to high Dan holders.
To reduce unconscious bias, I personally think all examination candidates should perform their grading with a brown paper bag over their heads (with breathing holes punctured through, of course匈m not a sadist).
I'd still know who each one was.
 
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