A number of years ago when we first kicked off a new way of student testing (at the end of our Teacher Training Course) I wrote an article in an attempt to outline a few of the most frequently asked questions about Centralized Testing. After a very successful five years of working with the BASI testing process, the system has been greatly streamlined, but there are still questions that can be answered. In an effort to assay possible concerns (or fears) about participating in both a teaching and a learning experience, I would like to address a few frequently asked questions below:
What is Centralized Testing?
Centralized Testing may be better described as an organized event that provides an environment for a BASI student (who has completed the required attendance of course modules, observation, self practice and student teaching hours) to demonstrate their skills in both a practical demonstration of movement as well as structure a one-hour session using the BASI work.
Centralized Testing is currently only offered within the United States. Our international partners are still utilizing individual testing in each host location. While a practical and teaching evaluation are part of the final process globally, the structure differs.
Recently, BASI implemented the Foundation Apparatus Program (FAP) and the Comprehensive Apparatus Program (CAP) within the United States. These two programs represent the body of the BASI comprehensive work. A student must complete the FAP before moving forward into the CAP. It is intended for students to complete the programs consecutively but we believe providing the option of breaking these into two separate sections allows a student the most optimum environment for success. After finalizing the CAP a student is eligible for Centralized Testing and if successful, in the testing process, will receive their BASI Certificate.
What is the Practical Evaluation?
The practical evaluation consists of at least four arbitrary exercises (one always being mat). Other movements will be a combination of various pieces of apparatus and of various levels. Fundamental, intermediate and advanced level work can all be part of this pool. Master level work is presented in the course to expose a student to the full repertoire, but is not included on the practical portion.
What is the Teaching Evaluation?
The teaching evaluation is an opportunity for the BASI student to teach a session in the studio setting to a client who will be provided to them by the BASI host on the day of the test. The client will be capable of intermediate work and have only minimum restrictions (example: tight hamstrings and low back). An example of the grading criteria is included in the student downloads and should be reviewed in advance of testing. We are primarily looking for a well-structured (not rehearsed) session appropriate for the client assigned. Students will be given a few minutes to speak with their clients to acquire basic information and a feel for their goals.
Who will be testing students?
To ensure Centralized Testing is as impartial as possible, Rael and/or myself handle all testing personally. Students are scheduled with no more than six students at any one time. Testing will begin with the teaching evaluation and followed by the practical examination. We always provide time (at the end of testing) to offer detailed feedback on movement execution as well as session structure, individual choices and insight into each students teaching skills.
What are scores based on?
Scoring of practical examinations and teaching evaluations are based on a pass or non-pass basis. We do this to reinforce with the students that a numerical score does not adequately reflect their work on that day, but rather a requirement of a minimum standard of presentation.
How can a student prepare for Centralized Testing?
The best preparation is to be “well prepared”. This involves investing oneself into the course work through dedicated practice. Practice can involve any number of methods, self-practice, teaching sessions, taking sessions, review of course materials including the Study Guide, Movement Analysis Work Books and utilizing invaluable tools such as Pilates Interactive and the auditing of additional modules. Perhaps, the best option is a good balance of each of these opportunities.
Does every student need to participate?
Every BASI student in the United States is required to participate in Centralized Testing to receive a BASI Certificate. This certificate provides written evidence a student is BASI qualified and may be used to secure employment or participate in advanced education.
As of this date, we have not implemented Centralized Testing outside of the United States. Testing in countries outside of the USA are administered within the BASI host location at the completion of the final course modules.
When will students know if they passed or not?
Each student will receive a letter indicating whether they passed or not within a two to three week period (following exam date). This information will also be entered into the student base and be available for online review.
What if a student doesn’t pass?
If a student receives a non-pass on one or both components, it can be taken again (and again, if needed). Scheduling can be arranged online for retesting at the next testing date.
When will a student receive their BASI Certificate?
BASI Certificates are issued when all required components of the BASI course are complete. This includes receipt of accepted student paper, observation, self-practice, student teaching hours as well as passing scores on both final practical examination and teaching evaluation.
What happens next?
As mentioned earlier, if a student needs to retake one or both exams, this can be arranged through registering at a later date to retest.
If a student successfully passes both components of the exam, congratulations are definitely in order! This represents the beginning of their Pilates career. The many hours invested in attending modules, studying course materials and practicing repertoire will prove to be invaluable as a student moves into a studio or teaching position. As importantly, it supports a student in furthering their work through continued education, conferences and various forms of advanced education. I would like to point out one of the most valuable ways to reinforce the course work is to register to “audit” one or all of the modules again. Viewing the course work with experienced “eyes and ears” engrains the principles of Pilates in the study of the course materials and proves to be invaluable as a student moves forward with their career.
Centralized Testing is an overview of where a student’s work is on any given day. If they are organized and well versed in the BASI work, they will do well. If they are not, they will receive valuable feedback about their presentations and given the opportunity to test again in the future.
It is not our intent to teach a student how to pass an exam. But rather how to embrace the value of this work, its benefits, practice and teaching.