The qualities that make a good coach are not the same skill set as those that make an accomplished board examiner. Therefore, all Examiners are required to be current members and go through Certification and Accreditation Board (CAB) exam certification training before they can sit or head an examination board. The trainings are held at the annual conference and at select USFCA clinics. The only exception is for the Assistant Moniteur (A.M.) certification.
- Any current member USFCA Moniteur can certify an Assistant Moniteur. No examiner certification is required. All paper work and hours must be completed properly as per the Assistant Moniteur Guide Book.
Exam certification training is required for the Examiners of the following tests:
- Two Prévôts or one Master are required to conduct a practical exam for the Moniteur level.
- Two Masters are required to conduct a practical exam for the Prévôt.
- Three Masters are required to conduct a practical exam for the Fencing Master.
USFCA members with AAI diplomas who do not have USFCA certification may not serve on certification boards (practical exam boards). However, to honor our commitment to the AAI we will have a page on the USFCA website that lists all AAI diploma holders residing in the US who are current USFCA members.
For an AAI diploma holder to earn USFCA certification, the AAI diploma holder must be a current USFCA member, and pass in the U.S. by a USFCA exam board, all of the required steps to receive the USFCA certification. For example, to be a USFCA certified Fencing Master requires passing both Prévôt written and Master practical examinations and submitting a thesis or an alternative that is deemed acceptable by the CAB.
The above statements take effect July 1, 2010. Any member who has (prior to July 1, 2010) been granted equivalency by the USFCA will be considered a USFCA certified coach with full membership and rights. However, they are not a Certified Examiner without the required training.
Examining boards for Prevot and Master cannot contain any relationship that has a conflict of interest such as: a coach, employer, close relative, spouse, co-owner of a club, etc., of the candidate. To encourage entry and mentorship relationships to the coaching profession this is not the case for Assistant Moniteur and Moniteur exams.
To Be a Certified Examiner:
- Current membership in good standing of the USFCA.
- All Examiners must attend the examiner certification training at a USFCA clinic or the annual conference.
- Head Examiners must re-certify every three years at an official USFCA clinic or conference. All Certified Examiners must re-certify every three years. Examiners must have proof that they went to a certification clinic. Certificates will be given for attendance at all certification trainings.
- Examiners must be certified as a USFCA Prévôt or Master in the specific weapons that they are giving the test.
- All Certified Examiners and Head Examiners trained by the CAB will be listed on the USFCA website with the date and place of training. The CAB will arrange a few times per year the opportunity for Certified Examiners to be trained a few times per year.
Removal as an Examiner:
- All Examiners must follow the duties listed of an examiner before, during and after an exam or the CAB may remove their status as a Certified Examiner (see below).
- The CAB has the right to remove Examiners for breach of ethics and other reasons of misconduct.
- If removed, the coach may reapply for certification as an examiner.
Levels of Examiners:
There are two levels of Examiners.
- One: A Certified Head Examiner that runs a board and is responsible for all the paperwork.
- Two: A Certified Examiner that sits on a board to make it complete or to apprentice.
The CAB secretary will keep in the USFCA certification data base the names of the Examiners that sat on the boards for every candidate that takes a test, pass or fail.
To learn the skill set required to give exams, all Examiners will have to apprentice with Head Examiners during actual exams.
- Any Prévôt or Master that has taken the certification training can sit on a Moniteur board.
- For Masters to move up to a Prévôt or Master board they will have to sit on two Prévôt boards with experienced Head Examiners and apprentice during actual exams.
Head Examiner's Requirements:
- Teach in the U.S. a minimum of three years.
- Member of the USFCA for three years.
- Certified at the level required for examination of the candidate for at least three years. For example: The examiner must have a Prévôt or Master level certification for Moniteur exam, and a Master level certification to do a Master or Prévôt exam.
Head Examiner's Responsibilities:
The Head Examiner oversees the correct completion of grading forms and follows guidelines for testing established by the USFCA (see below for details). At the end of the test the Head Examiner gives the candidate a feedback form that they can email to the CAB on the quality of the exam experience.
Head examiners have to show proof and keep track of the exam boards in which they have participated.
Requirements to be certified as Head Examiner:
- When applying to give advanced exams, Examiners will have to list the exams they have given to qualify to move up to the next examining level. This will be verified by the CAB secretary.
- Before becoming a Head Examiner for Moniteur level, the Prévôt and Master level examiner must have sat on a Moniteur board with an Head Examiner and be approved by the CAB.
- Before a Master can become a Head Examiner and give a Prévôt level exam, s/he must complete two Moniteur boards as a Head Examiner and two Prévôt level exams, and be approved by the CAB.
- Before a Master can head a Master level exam, s/he must have qualified as a Head Examiner for one Prévôt and apprenticed one Master exam, and be approved by the CAB.
For example: Prévôt CL wishes to head a Moniteur exam, so she must submit the name of the candidate of one Moniteur exam she has been on. Master RH wishes to head a master exam, so he must submit the names of the candidates where he has been the head of the boards of two Moniteurs, sat on two Prévôt boards, and one master exam board.
Payments to Examiners:
Fencing Masters and Prévôt are paid per weapon for sitting on the practical exam boards:
The form for reimbursement can be found here. (You must be a registered member of the USFCA and logged into this site to see the linked page)
- Total payment for two Prévôts or one Master for each Moniteur test is: $30.00 per Weapon
- Payment for each Master for a Prévôt test: $50.00 for Certified Examiner, $70 for Head Examiner
- Master Thesis Review Committee - $30.00 for each of the three reviewers
- Payment for each Master for a Master test: $50.00 for each Certified Examiner, $80 for Head Examiner
Non-conference or Non-clinic Exams:
On the occasion an exam (Moniteur) is not held at the annual conference or a clinic, but has been approved by the CAB, the examiner is requested to review the testing guidelines to which the examination board must adhere (the information is all on the USFCA website). For the practical exams to be valid the Head Examiner will indicate his/her agreement to the guidelines with an email to the CAB before giving the practical exam.
Use the official members’ only USFCA website to locate the forms to grade the practical exams.
Under certification (you must be logged in to the USFCA website to access these links):
Moniteur Evaluation Form - http://www.usfca.org/Default.aspx?tabid=117 (click on Exam Forms)
Prévôt/Master Evaluation form - http://www.usfca.org/Default.aspx?tabid=117 (click on Exam Forms)
In Preparation for Giving an Exam:
Before sitting on an examination board, review the USFCA study guides, testing and certification policies.
Read the written resources and contact any member of the CAB if you have any questions.
Examiners should dress appropriately, in nice warm ups or casual business attire.
Print out practical exam evaluation sheets, oral exam questions, and report sheet from the USFCA website.
At the exam, Board members pick a certified chair to manage the exam. If there are a number of Examiners
that are certified to be Head Examiners, use the most experienced coach.
Head Examiner Duties Before the Exam Begins:
- Check for USFCA membership.
- Check that the candidate has passed the written exam for the level being tested.
- USFCA testing fees are paid online and proof of payment is necessary.
- Tell candidate the format of the exam and the Board members’ expectations.
- Allow the Moniteur candidate to pick, or assign the themes for footwork and the main lesson.
- Allow the examinee up to 10 minutes to prepare for their chosen themes.
- Distribute evaluation forms to the other Examiners.
- Prepare one official report sheet that has the agreed upon score from all Examiners.
During the Exam:
- Candidate salutes the examining Board and introduces him/herself and his/her student.
- Lesson proceeds with a minimum of interruptions.
- Examiners should be professional, respectful, encouraging, fair; honest, and not patronizing, dismissive, or insulting to the candidate or other board members.
- Do not ask questions that are outside the preview of the USFCA published study guides.
- The purpose of the test is to evaluate and find out how much the examinee knows. Do not interject comments or make excessive requests of the candidate during the exam. It is not a time for the examiner to show off.
- Be as organized and efficient as possible.
- Never criticize other Masters, coaches or systems; focus on your task.
- The examiner may correct a candidate however, if the examinee resists the correction do not insist, simply evaluate and grade the candidate fairly.
- In the oral part ask questions that match the level of the exam.
- Use the recommended questions document for guidelines.
At the Conclusion of the Exam:
- When the exam is complete, excuse the examinee, review all grades, add up the scores, and put down the overall total score on the score sheet.
- Ask the examinee to return, discuss with the examinee the grades and his or her performance.
- Examiners must use the official score sheet.
- Fill in the area of the sheet to show clearly if the student passed or failed.
- Clearly tell the examinee if they passed or failed. At the end of the test the examiner should show the examinee the grade and discuss it, offering feedback as to what was and what needs improvement.
- If the candidate did not pass, the Examiner should remain encouraging and offer help in preparation for the next time. It is our responsibility to mentor the new coaches.
- In any case, it is our duty and responsibility to make this exam a positive educational experience.
- In both cases either congratulates and/or thanks the examinee for the effort. An Examiner appreciates the fact the candidate attempted to take the test.
- The examinee will one day be a colleague, be prepared to spend at least 5 minutes for a pleasant conversation if the examinee initiates it. Encourage the examinee to continue his career as a fencing coach and offer any advice or ideas to help.
- Head Examiner collects all exam sheets and sends one set with the final average scores and results to the CAB Secretary. Complete the exam report sheet and keep one copy for your records and send the original to the CAB secretary. Either the day of the exam or the next day, please email the CAB secretary that the forms are on the way and list the candidates that passed the exams.
- Give the completed Proof of Exam form to the candidate.
Summary Tables of Minimum Requirements:
| Qualified in the weapon being examined
| Certified at the level appropriate to the examination
|| Yes - for 3 years|
| Examiner certification training
|| Yes - every 3 years|
| USFCA Membership
|| Yes - for 3 years|
| Experience teaching in the U.S.
|| Yes - for 3 years|
|| Yes - see table 3|
2) Requirements for Examination Boards
||Any Moniteur, Prévôt, or Maître
||1 Prévôt plus
||1 Maître (may be apprenticing) plus
||2 Maître (may be apprenticing) plus
3) The Path to Head Examiner
|Head Examiner for
||Prévôt or Maître
||Minimum of 1 Moniteur Board with a Head Examiner|
||Minimum of 2 Moniteur Boards as a Head Examiner and 2 Prévôt Boards with a Head Examiner|
||Qualified as a Prévôt Head Examiner, and 1 Maître Board with a Head Examiner - at least 1 Board at any level must have been as a Head Examiner|