The AED Foundation recently announced that a new Technical Assessment Platform will be launched this summer. Considered to be the premier technician hiring and evaluation tool for the equipment industry, the platform will only be getting better for the technicians, college programs and dealerships that use it.
The new platform will offer new user functionalities, a new interface and the ability to offer new assessment products. “The current system was built in-house back in 2011 and launched in 2012,” said Steven A. Johnson, vice president of Foundation Academic Accreditation at AED. “As we all know, technology has changed a lot since that time, and the system no longer meets the expanding needs of the Foundation. That basic platform was designed specifically for only one product and also has become more difficult to maintain.”
Despite its basic design, the existing certification assessment platform has had a huge impact on the industry and continues to be a valuable tool at dealerships and colleges. Essentially, the platform contains a test made up of 160 questions that evaluate current and future technicians’ knowledge in the subject areas of diesel engines, powertrains, electric/electronics, A/C and heating, hydraulics/hydrostatics, and safety/administration. By design, the test is fully aligned with the six key subject areas in The AED Foundation’s national technical standards. Assessment questions were put together by a task force of equipment industry technical experts broadly representing AED dealers, equipment manufacturers and technical colleges with equipment programs.
After completing the 120-minute timed assessment, each test-taker receives a “percent correct” score for each of the above subject areas and 20 subcategories, as well as an overall score. Technicians just getting into the heavy equipment field can use these test results to gauge where they are in knowledge and what additional learning they need to focus on. Hiring administrators can use the test scores to get a definitive idea of what a potential employee might know – or not know. And many HR departments are using the test to help decide where employees need additional training.
Benefits of the New Platform
The new platform will bring many more efficiencies and functionalities for The AED Foundation and those that use the platform. The new system offers the Foundation, colleges and member dealerships new analytical capabilities. “Looking in more detail at the test-taker results, where they scored well and where they didn’t, and better evaluation of company results will allow us to better validate the test on a regular basis,” Johnson said. With the new platform, new reports can be created more easily. Perhaps most importantly, the Foundation plans to roll out more new products in the next few years via the new platform. Johnson also indicated that the new system offers flexibility in pricing strategies.
One of the major functionalities being added with the new platform is the ability to offer additional languages. The previous platform offered assessment delivery only in Spanish and English. This new feature is sure to increase use of the test as the needs of dealers and colleges internationally are accommodated.
Future test-takers will see new types of questions that better evaluate specific areas of knowledge. “In looking at what would make a better platform, we questioned some of the limitations of the multiple-choice questions themselves. The new platform gives us the ability to pose different types of questions that are better suited to evaluating the knowledge necessary to succeed as a technician,” said Johnson.
All About Integration
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. These days it’s all about software and system integration. Johnson commented, “Moving forward, system integration will offer a lot of new capabilities and efficiencies. The new system will allow us to better integrate with our learning management and association management systems. This improves data integrity, eliminates redundant data entry and reduces human labor time.”
AED Foundation Technician Certification
Starting in the fall of 2017, The AED Foundation began using the assessment platform to provide recognition to qualifying technicians by introducing the AED Foundation Certified Technician Program. In an industry that is trying to attract and retain as many qualified employees as possible, the assessment brings recognition to test-takers that have scored 70 percent or better. “We evaluated the data and determined that 70 percent was the appropriate ‘pass’ score,” Johnson said.
The program’s goal is threefold. First, technicians should be recognized for their professionalism and technical excellence. Second, technicians should be recognized for the important role they play in the overall success and profitability of their employers. Third, our intent is that AED Foundation Technician Certification become the industry standard for technician excellence.
Technicians that achieve the 70 percent mark become AED Foundation Certified Technicians and receive a certificate and wallet card. They may also purchase an additional kit that includes a wooden certificate frame, a logo hat, a lapel pin, two uniform patches, and tool box decals.
Dealerships like General Equipment & Supplies take this recognition to a more personal level by showcasing their certified technicians on their “AED Foundation Certified Tech Wall of Fame.”
Technicians at General Equipment & Supplies who have taken the assessment with a 70 percent score or better get their names put on the wall that is proudly displayed in the dealership’s office. This is only another example of the importance of the Certified Technician Program. Stay tuned for more information about the new platform.
For more information about the new assessment platform or the Certified Technician Program,
contact your AED representative at 800-388-0650.