IT Strengths, Weaknesses: Measuring Your IT Aptitude Online

Microsoft now makes available a Windows Server 2003 online skill assessment on its certification site.

Certification measures static understanding of technology, but learning is a dynamic process. Assessing that process can be difficult. To that end, Microsoft recently launched a new, online evaluation program, dubbed Microsoft Skills Assessment, that can help. Like a personal job-task analysis that can be performed at any time, the current version focuses at the moment on Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft Skills Assessment is comprised of six modules measuring Windows Server 2003 implementation preparedness, including:

  • knowledge of features and functionality
  • planning a migration from Windows NT 4.0 directory services to Windows Server 2003
  • deploying the migration
  • implementing a domain name system
  • deploying DHCP
  • deploying remote access services

The tool provides exam simulation with scoring. Plus, registered users of the service can save and compare scores among other users. Users who register for their access are also provided with a learning plan that points to recommended Microsoft Official Curriculum, Microsoft Press books, and TechNet resources.

Microsoft Skills Assessment runs on an engine that was developed and licensed from MeasureUp, one of Microsoft's official practice test provider partners. Dan Truax, Director of Microsoft Certification Business & Product Strategy, says that his group has plans to expand the online tool beyond the operating system, developing assessments, for example, about the use of developer tools.

Multiple-choice question Score report
Microsoft Skills Assessment provides Windows Server 2003-based exam simulations (left) with assessment results (right) and a customized learning plan. (Click images to view larger versions.)

Truax contends that the online tool is meant to measure implementation skills related to the technology, not exam preparation. "Assessment as we've launched it on the Web site today is not diagnostic toward certification. It's targeted at a much different level for people to do projects, whereas certification and the practice tests for certication are targeted more comprehensively at a job role, in preparing to take a high-stakes certification exam."

To learn more about Microsoft Skills Assessment, go to

To listen to an interview with Dan Truax on the company's development of Microsoft Skills Assessment, click here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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