by Sharon Youngs, OGA
Picture it: A candidate for ordination as a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) taking all of the standard ordination exams online on a flexible schedule and receiving the results in a matter of days.
That image is the vision of a plan announced by the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) to move the administration and evaluation of the exams to an online management process.
The new process, to be implemented in phases over the next three years, will streamline the evaluation process and administration costs, while maintaining the integrity of the examination process.
For well over forty years, candidates have taken ordination exams at PC(USA)-related seminaries at one of two set times in a calendar year. They have recorded their answers in color-coded test books for each section of the exams. The books have then been shipped to the Office of the General Assembly to be sorted and sent on to reading groups who have gathered in six locations across the country for a week to evaluate them. Candidates have waited up to two months to receive results.
The Reverend Timothy Cargal, interim associate for Preparation for Ministry and Exams within the Office of Vocation, says the move by the PCC should be of great benefit both to those who take the exams and those who read them.
He said, “The new process will allow us to move from an industrial to a digital model. The assembly line approach worked in an earlier time, but now it makes sense to take advantage of today’s technology.”
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