BU Assessment Philosophy:
The examination process is broken into two parts, both of which consist of drills and challenges at the table. The first portion (Exam I – Fundamentals) is a fundamentals assessment and placement examination that measures all important basic pool skills (aim, alignment, stroke, ball pocketing, speed control, and cue ball control). The second portion (Exam II – Skills) is a skills proficiency examination that tests specific skills important in a variety of game situations (position play, strategy, defensive play, kicks, banks, jacked-up shots, jumps, and the break).
There are three levels of Exam II (Skills) designated Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate. The score on Exam I determines which Exam II the student is placed into, based on the demonstrated level of ability. All three Skills Exams test the complete set of pool skills necessary to be a good pool player, albeit at different levels. The drills are consistent, with increasing mastery from one diploma level to the next. This makes it easy for the student as they progress up through the diploma levels, and the increasing difficulty encourages and assesses continued improvement.
The total combined score on Exam I and Exam II provides a single rating number corresponding to different levels of playing ability. Also, the total score (regardless of Exam II placement) indicates the player rating and diploma achieved directly.
- The standard to achieve a diploma is fairly high, and not all students will be successful at all of the drills; however, a Bachelors diploma is easily attainable to a lower intermediate player with practice and/or training. A novice player with no dedicated practice or training will not be able to receive a diploma. Diplomas require education and training, and the multiple diploma levels provide a mechanism and goals for continued improvement and mastery of the skills required to progress in ability.
- Basic and more important skills are weighted more in the scoring system, and all skills are tested (even if some people may not be successful at all of the skills).
- The exams are useful to instructors for assessing a player’s ability in a variety of skill areas. The drills help identify weaknesses and can help an instructor develop a training program for improvement and set appropriate short-term and long-term goals (e.g., certain scores in each Exam I and Exam II category).
- All of the drills are from the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Practice (VEPP), with only slight modifications for simplicity, scorability, and appropriate level of difficulty. Both VEPP and the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (VEPS) provide focused and specific learning resources to help a student develop skills in each of the exam areas.
- Unlike league handicap systems and other match-statistics-based rating systems, the BU scoring and rating system is independent of league ability level, which can vary significantly from one league to the next and from one region to the next. The BU rating offers the significant advantage that it is based solely on individual performance and not on the performance of others. Therefore, the ratings are meaningful across all regions and internationally.