This lesson is important for all educators, but particularly for those at secondary or post-secondary programs where the students are not able to accumulate 800 hours of classroom and/or work experience during the program. It may also be of interest to some employers as a “starter” credential for newer employees.
When the WCA first started offering credentials, the Green Level credential was the first one that a candidate could earn. However, at 800 experience hours, that put it out of reach for many students, particularly at the high school level. While students at some schools were able to accumulate that many hours over their academic career, many were not. In addition, the added cost of Assessment Credits to reach 30 Skill Points can also be a struggle for many high school students. Many of these same schools, however, wanted to participate in the WCA.
To facilitate this, the WCA created the Sawblade Certificate which allows students to participate in the skills testing, and along with a written quiz, gives them a path to a certificate recognizing their achievement. If, in the future, a student who has earned a Sawblade Certificate moves on to work for a WCA member company or attends a member post-secondary school, they can build on what they’ve already accomplished to earn a full Green level credential.
To earn a Sawblade Certificate, the candidate must pass the Prerequisite Layout and Measurement operations detailed in the previous lesson, earn 10 skill points (costing 10 assessment credits), and pass an online 40 question written quiz, which is not currently required the the higher level credentials.
However, unlike the Green Credential and above, the Sawblade Certificate prescribes a specific set of Tool Operations (shown below) that the student must be assessed on; these tools were selected because they represent a range of skills and are tools commonly found in most high school wood shops. If you do not have one of these tools, you can propose another substitute Tool Operation to your Chief Evaluator for their approval in your school only.
Sawblade Required Tool Operations
- Jointer – Edge jointing 1st Edge
- Table Saw – Ripping
- Table Saw – Edge rabbet/single blade or dado set
- Portable Hand Sander – Sand solid lumber
- Drill Press – Drill holes to specified location and depth
Note that the Individual Membership the candidate purchased to join the WCA comes with 10 free assessment credits, which means there is no additional cost for the candidate to pursue a Sawblade Certificate.
Assessing the Sawblade Certificate
Assessing the Tool Operations for the Sawblade Certificate is no different from performing assessments for any other credential. The big difference is that there is an online written quiz required to qualify for the certificate. The quiz consists of 40 random questions and the candidate must receive a score of 80% or better to pass. The test questions and answer key can be found in the Evaluator Documents and Forms under the Evaluator menu on this website in a folder called Sawblade Quickstart. You should review the questions to make sure your candidates are being taught the appropriate material to pass the test.
The candidate must log into the website before being given access to the quiz; they would have received a temporary password via email after purchasing the Individual Membership. However, if they’ve forgotten their password, they can use the “Forgot Password” function on the login page to reset their password.
Results of the assessments for the Tool Operations should be entered in the Registry as normal. For your convenience, there is an assessment group already setup in the Registry with the required Tool Operations for you to use. This will be covered in the Registry videos that you will watch later in your training. However, the online quiz results will not show up in the Registry; the results will be emailed to the WCA and we will verify that the candidate passed before issuing the certificate. The candidate will also have the opportunity to print a certificate with their results when the pass the quiz, which they should print out and submit to you so that you are aware of their score. If they fail the quiz, they will be allowed to take it again until they pass. At some point, we may decide to limit the number of times they may take the quiz.
Important Note: We strongly suggest that you do not enter the candidate’s assessment results into the Registry until they’ve passed the online test. We find that a number of the candidates do not go online to take the quiz, so if you enter their assessments in the Registry, it looks like they’ve earned a certificate, but they have not yet passed. It reduces confusion if you wait until they’ve passed the quiz so that the administrator can check them off as having earned the certificate in the WCA system. Also, there is no need to spend time entering data if the candidate has no intention of taking the quiz. You might consider setting aside class time and access to a computer to encourage them to take the quiz.