The Only Constant is Change – by Chris Rogers

For the last couple of years, your Snowboard Committee has been in the middle of a huge update and overhaul of our exam processes. We started out with small tweaks and updates, but 2018-19 and 2019-20 will see a slew of bigger adjustments that will change our exam experience.

These changes are exciting, they’re needed, they make our exam process more humanistic, and they set us up well to align with the future of PSIA-AASI. Our adjustments fall into three general categories: Updates to provide better feedback through the existing process; updates to align with National Standards, other divisions, and other disciplines; and updates that lay the foundation for future changes.

Here’s a high-level overview of what’s new for this year:

Assessment Forms

  • We’ve adopted averaged scoring for certain components at Level 1, 2, and 3. This means you can receive a 3 in certain areas as long as it’s averaged with 5,s and 6,s to an overall passing score. A score of a 1 or 2 cannot be averaged into the overall score.
  • All scorecards have been completely revamped to better match the line items with what we actually do on exam day.
  • Level 2, 3, and RMT have new 3-page Assessment Forms, completely redesigned to provide more room for written feedback.
  • Level 2 and 3 riding assessment now better link movements and performances with outcomes and tasks. Tasks are chosen by the examiners from a set of available tasks and are written in on the exam day.
  • The new L2 and L3 task chart has groupings of tasks possibly used for assessment, while specific tasks will be chose on the day of based on the mountain, terrain, conditions, etc.
  • There are new Exam Standards and Overviews, Examiner Outlines, and supporting documents, as well as new MA tests to accompany them.

Exam Day Timeliness

  • Once piece of feedback we’ve heard from you is a desire for more accountability to timeliness during exam days. While there are unavoidable situations that sometimes arise, we agree that we can do better.
  • We’ve updated our daily examiner outlines with much more detailed timeframes, including examiner morning meetings, on-snow time, end-of-day wrap up, and certification results.

Paired Examining

  • Level 3 exams are now conducted with a pair of examiners like the Level 2 has been for the last few years.
  • All three days of Level 2 and Level 3 will have two examiners present.
  • We do our best to keep the same two examiners through each exam group, but do not guarantee it.

Movement Analysis

  • If you’ve been to a Level 2 or 3 exam or preview in the last few years, you’ve probably experienced some time sitting at the bottom of a run waiting for suitable riders to show up so that you can get your MA on. Starting this season we will be conducting the Movement Analysis portion of our Level 2 and 3 exams using riders from the group.
  • The expectations and standards for MA have not changed, just the on-snow process.

Teaching Scenarios

  • Many of the best mock-teaches we see during exam days include focuses on student profiles. This season we are adding a student profile component to all Level 2 and Level 3 teaches to assist candidates with painting the picture.
  • At the Level 2 Exam, candidates will be provided with a student profile along with their “Intro to” topic and Board Performance focus.
  • At the Level 3 Exam, the examiner will facilitate a group discussion at the beginning of the day. Candidates are expected to draw information about their peers from this conversation and use it during their teach later in the day.


  • This has been a hot topic for years. As of right now there has been no change to the national standard, but the Snowboard Education Taskforce has been working on it.
  • In the meantime, all divisions have agreed that change is necessary, and are addressing it in a few different ways.
  • For 2018-19 in RM, pipe is now one of several possible freestyle tasks but may not always be evaluated depending on the mountain. This opens up the opportunity to run Level 3 exams at mountains without superpipes. This year we have scheduled a mid-season Level 3 a Taos and a late-season Level 3 exam at A-Basin. These exams will focus on airing off transitional features and will have a bigger focus on steep terrain.

CS Pre-Req for L2

  • Snowboard is adopting Children’s Specialist 1 as two of the three days of pre-reqs clinics for the Level 2 exam. A candidate must also attend at least one other day of the existing preview clinics, or other prep-style clinics we may add in the future. Candidates are welcome to attend additional days of the preview clinics as needed.
  • This year during the transition, candidates may choose to use either route, CS1 +1 day of clinics, or attend all three days of the Exam Preview.

National Assessment Forms

  • All 8 divisions have committed to working towards national assessment forms in the next few years. The committee is proud of our spiffy new 3-page assessment form design, and feel that it will help provide good framework to the design of national forms, but be prepared for additional changes in the next few years.

Changes to our RM certification process are not taken lightly, and we know there will be bumps along the way. Our Examiner Fall Training and Resort Trainers events were primarily focused on getting familiar with these adjustments, and our education team is ready to help people understand what is changing and why. Exam Previews will address the new processes, but Examiners will also go over changes to the process at the beginning of each exam for anyone who took the Previews last year.

One key point I must stress is that the bulk of the changes are designed to provide better feedback and create a more humanistic environment – NOT to change the exam standards. I feel confident that if you were successful or unsuccessful in the last couple of years, you would receive the same results with our new process. However, with the new process, I also feel that our team can provide better feedback, and create better outlines for training to movements and skills, rather than tasks. In the long run, a more understandable, consistent, and humanistic exam should lead to higher pass rates and satisfaction with the exam process.

Finally, I have to include a shoutout to the AASI RM Committee: Christina Bruno, Nick Harris, Jonathan Hershberger, Chuck Hewitt, Mark Lawes, and Tony Macri. Their passion, commitment, and dedication to improving our process is truly incredible.

The committee puts in long hours, and has many more to come as we look to better alignment with the other divisions and disciplines.

Change is not always easy, especially if you are mid-way through a process. If you have questions or feedback about any of the changes, I encourage you to reach out to me or any of our committee members or current examining staff.

Thank you,

Chris Rogers

Committee Chair, AASI-RM


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