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    National Testing Requirements around the World

    In reading another thread "AUS / NZL Competitions" under Kiss and Cry. A conversation regarding requirements to pass the Senior Level had come up. I am interested to see what other coutries require or if they require testing at all to compete at the Senior level. Thanks!

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    In the U.S. there are 8 test levels consisting of 2 tests each (moves and freestyle). The tests must be passed in sequential order, and the moves test (edges and footwork) must be passed before the freestyle test can be attempted. U.S. singles Skaters must pass 16 tests before they can compete in senior qualifying events.

    I don't know about pairs and dance. Pairs skaters used to not have to do figures, I don't know if they are currently required to pass moves tests. Ice dancers seem to have a bazillion tests to pass.
    Last edited by aliceanne; 06-03-2012 at 06:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    In the U.S. there are 8 test levels consisting of 2 tests each (moves and freestyle). The tests must be passed in sequential order, and the moves test (edges and footwork) must be passed before the freestyle test can be attempted. U.S. singles Skaters must pass 16 tests before they can compete in senior qualifying events.

    I don't know about pairs and dance. Pairs skaters used to not have to do figures, I don't know if they are currently required to pass moves tests. Ice dancers seem to have a bazillion tests to pass.
    ALL skaters in the US, in every discipline, must pass moves tests. Dancers must pass all 8 moves tests, 5 free dance tests, and all 23 compulsory dances in the preliminary through goldlevels. There are also 10 international dances that can be tested ( while testing these is not mandatory, these are generally the dances that are chosen from as the mandatory pattern dance to be included in the short dance). It is best to test it to prove mastery of the dance, especially if the skater wants to eventually coach.

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    To make it easy here is the link to the Australian Test Papers.

    http://www.isa.org.au/testforms.htm

    The patterns have just come in. I don't think any one in Australia has tested them yet.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    All the U.S. Figure Skating tests for Moves in the Field / Singles / Pairs / Dance / etc. are listed on/linked from the Trial Judge Test Forms page: http://www.usfsa.org/shell.asp?sid=20820

    Skate Canada's various programs have separate test structures: http://www.skatecanada.ca/en-us/deve...schedules.aspx (I assume that test forms are located in the "Members Only" section of the site?)
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Thanks - interesting to see if they differ greatly!

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    I can give some information about Testing system in Austria as far as freestyle is concerned:

    There is a testing system with three levels (A-C Test) which is basically recreational level as e.g. the hardest jump element is a waltz jump (C-Test). – What is a bit tricky, is that all elements have to be executed successfully on both sides.

    Then we have freeskate classes (Kürklassen). They go from 1 to 8 (freeskate class 8 is the hardest and you have to be able to do triple jumps). If you pass level 8, you may participate at Senior Austrian Nationals (exception: you may also participate with level 7 if you achieved a certain amount of points in competition).

    Here is a link with the elements:
    http://www.ekl-austria.at/kkl/kkl.pdf

    There is no separate testing for MITF and Freestyle itself (= i.e. testing with emphasis on skating a programme and doing jumps and spins). However, in the freestyle testing you need to do certain MITF-elements and even step sequences with prescribed difficulty level at the more advanced freeskating classes. Interestingly, other than the name might suggest, you don’t have to do the elements to the music or choreographed in a programme. It’s just the skaters, judges and nerve-wrecking silence.

    Unlike in the US we don’t have a separate testing system for adults which I feel very sorry about. After the A-C tests you may only opt to do the freeskate classes, and very, very few people decide to do so and you probably can only advance to class 1 or 2 as it is very difficult to get double jumps for adult skaters.

    (In addition it’s quite embarrassing if you have to go on the ice as a pretty high grown adult with all the little kiddies doing test at athlete level. – I passed the 1st freeskate class two years ago and being the only adult skater among the kids and their parents around watching made me even more nervous. I’m pretty sure not one of the parents was thinking “now what’s the crone doing there on the ice?" Despite being in my thirties I felt like an old women. )


    There is also a testing system for Ice dancing, but I don’t know details about it. Once more this system makes no difference between adult skaters and athlete skaters.

    AFAIK as far as the freeskate classes are concerned, Germany has a similar system than Austria. It’s only the other way round (= class 1 is the hardest) and the classes are a bit more difficult (e.g. the easiest one in Germany would about equal the only second easiest in Austria). – This is probably due to the fact that in Germany the standard is higher in general. Here is a list of elements:

    http://www.content-corner.de/show/82...BCrklassen.pdf

    I too would like to learn about the systems in other countries.

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    For the sake of testing purposes only or to acquire a qualification, I understand if an association doesn't require ladies to attempt a triple jump to pass their senior freestyle exam.

    Also, I also get that skaters may only do this for the experience only.

    What concerns me however, is if the same skaters are sent to senior international or championship competition. Without TWO different triple jumps required in the short program, the skater is looking at major TES deductions already.

    How does one prepare for that?

    By sending skaters overseas without the technical tools needed to make any impact and succeed, it's like going to war with water pistols.

    Politically, doesn't it also reinforce in the judges minds that skaters without these requirements can't be competitive with the rest of the field either, and are likely looking at close to last or last place?

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    For the sake of testing purposes only or to acquire a qualification, I understand if an association doesn't require ladies to attempt a triple jump to pass their senior freestyle exam.

    Also, I also get that skaters may only do this for the experience only.

    What concerns me however, is if the same skaters are sent to senior international or championship competition. Without TWO different triple jumps required in the short program, the skater is looking at major TES deductions already.

    How does one prepare for that?
    The federation could determine not to send anyone to international senior competitions who hasn't demonstrated the ability to skate a senior short program with legal jump content.

    How that ability would be demonstrated could be up for negotiation -- e.g., an additional "competitive" senior test with SP rules; credit for rotating two triples and the 2A in the same program in any domestic competition or monitoring session that year; or credit for successfully landing two different triples and a 2A in separate programs over the course of the year

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    Thanks Katarzyna - That is interesting, it appears that the Austrian system requires the ISU elements for compettion at the National level. To me it makes sense to have a recreational system and one for competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gingercat View Post
    Thanks Katarzyna - That is interesting, it appears that the Austrian system requires the ISU elements for compettion at the National level. To me it makes sense to have a recreational system and one for competition.
    There is an international recreational test system. ISI (International Ice Skating Institute). It was formerly ISIA (Ice Skating Institute of America). Although it started in the US there are now competitions in Singapore and Bangkok among other places. ISI Worlds are held once a year in the US. Chen Lu brought a Chinese team one year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The federation could determine not to send anyone to international senior competitions who hasn't demonstrated the ability to skate a senior short program with legal jump content.

    How that ability would be demonstrated could be up for negotiation -- e.g., an additional "competitive" senior test with SP rules; credit for rotating two triples and the 2A in the same program in any domestic competition or monitoring session that year; or credit for successfully landing two different triples and a 2A in separate programs over the course of the year
    An excellent suggestion.

    It would be a great measuring device to determine stronger competitive consistency and awareness, as well as which skaters should be nominated and are ready for international competitions. Your suggestion also underlines what needs to be achieved before skaters are awarded senior test level status with an international assignment.

    Unfortunately, last year it appeared one association sent a handful of junior and senior ladies overseas that clearly did not have the minimum jump standard required at that level.

    The junior women did not have competitive double axels (not having landed or attempted them at the national qualifying events) and the senior women did not have more than one satisfactory triple jump, (if that) at best.

    Not surprisingly, all came last or close to last. At the senior ISU Championship level also, they didn't qualify beyond the short program.

    I'm aware there are many factors that result in this situation, like overcrowded training conditions, lack of government funding and ice time.

    The sport costs a small fortune to skate at the elite international level, and if the skater doesn't have the goods to be competitive with the rest of the field, it's as good as throwing money away, and will produce mediocre results again and again.

    Not everyone is going to make it to an ISU championship event. Not everyone is going to make it out of Nationals.

    Apart from gaining qualifications in the testing stream, I am wondering if it would be productive for training facilities to have a component that allowed their skaters to work towards a career in shows like Disney or Holiday on Ice. That way, they could acquire the skills necessary to audition with and earn back some of the money they spent on the sport.
    Last edited by essence_of_soy; 06-13-2012 at 08:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    The sport costs a small fortune to skate at the elite international level, and if the skater doesn't have the goods to be competitive with the rest of the field, it's as good as throwing money away, and will produce mediocre results again and again.
    At the end of the day it is the skater's choice to spend the money on the sport as most of them are spending their own money or their parents, not anyone else's.

    But when it comes to tests, they are only a criteria that a skater has to meet in order to skate at a certain level. The competition is what sorts them out.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    At the end of the day it is the skater's choice to spend the money on the sport as most of them are spending their own money or their parents, not anyone else's.

    But when it comes to tests, they are only a criteria that a skater has to meet in order to skate at a certain level. The competition is what sorts them out.
    My point exactly. If the association allows a skater to pass a senior test set below the required international standard, how does the skater find the technical skills to compete at that level? Send the child overseas for further coaching / training?

    Having spoken to several coaches, some parents seem to put their children in the sport with the expectation that there will be a financial pay - off at some point as well. It puts tremendous pressure on the kids, and there are so few financial rewards available other than at the top ISU championship and Grand Prix level.
    Last edited by essence_of_soy; 06-13-2012 at 09:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    My point exactly. If the association allows a skater to pass a senior test set below the required international standard, how does the skater find the technical skills to compete at that level? Send the child overseas for further coaching / training?

    Having spoken to several coaches, some parents seem to put their children in the sport with the expectation that there will be a financial pay - off at some point as well. It puts tremendous pressure on the kids, and there are so few financial rewards available other than at the top ISU championship and Grand Prix level.
    But the skater only has to pass the test criteria, not achieve an international standard to get a Senior test. If you look at the test papers you can see exactly what the criteria is for a skater to pass. If you sat with a judging panel doing a test you would learn how they work and what decision making goes into passing a skaters test.

    I don't know which coaches you have been talking to but I don't know any parents who think being involved in the sport is all about financial payoffs (and as you know I know plenty of them). Most of them get into it quite naively thinking it would be a nice thing for their kids to learn to skate and it is only when the kid starts progressing that they then start spending a fortune on lessons and everything else that goes with it. In fact I do know some who would prefer their kids quit skating because of how much it costs them but they keep doing it because their kids love the sport so much.

    If anyone, by the time they get to Novice level, does not realise they are not going to make money out of the sport, they are living in la-la land.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    Your suggestion also underlines what needs to be achieved before skaters are awarded senior test level status with an international assignment.
    Not everyone is going to make it to an ISU championship event. Not everyone is going to make it out of Nationals.
    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    My point exactly. If the association allows a skater to pass a senior test set below the required international standard, how does the skater find the technical skills to compete at that level?
    But my point is, there may be some value to allowing skaters to pass a "senior" test who are not going to be able to compete at an international senior level.

    Passing the test does not guarantee international assignments. If you want those, you have to demonstrate additional competence.

    I'm looking at it from the US point of view, where we have a lot more skaters. So there might be a couple dozen junior and senior skaters competing in any given year who can land most of the triples -- more than enough to fill the available international slots -- more who can land triple salchow and toe loop, and a hundred or more junior and senior ladies who can't rotate any triple jumps, many of whom don't even try.

    With fewer skaters and a similar percentage, you might have fewer skaters worthy and qualified for international assignments than there are slots available. So some slots would go unfilled until skaters can step up and show the necessary skills.

    Meanwhile, you have skaters who start as kids, put in the years of practice and get solid skating skills and solid double jumps, but who by nature don't have the body type or physical talent to master triples even with the best possible coaching, training conditions, and work ethic.

    What message do you want to send those skaters?

    *As soon as it becomes clear that you'll never reach an international standard -- no double axel by 15, no triples (or only one) by 19 -- you should quit skating, go away, and never darken a rink again? We won't allow you to pass any more tests or to compete domestically when you've passed the international age limits for your skill level.

    *You can continue to skate domestically at novice level in the same group with talented preteens (who might lose their jumps when they grow anyway)?

    *Keep improving everything about your skating as much as you can, compete for domestic honors against your peers and keep working on your jumps as best you can maybe something will click for you technically after all . . . if not, you can still be the best possible skater you can be.

    Which of these approaches is most likely to keep skaters training, and competing domestically if they like, to late teens or beyond, and create sufficient demand for high-level practice sessions that it would be financially worthwhile for rinks to offer them? Which is most likely to produce a new generation of competent coaches and officials?

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    My point exactly. If the association allows a skater to pass a senior test set below the required international standard, how does the skater find the technical skills to compete at that level? Send the child overseas for further coaching / training?
    I am looking at this from a US perspective- but there are MANY more people who pass the senior tests than who will ever compete internationally. The federation can't discourage people who won't compete internationally from skating, because they need their money to fund international skating. It is all a pyramid, with basic skills at the bottom and the elites at the top- the money from the bottom has to come in.

    The US senior test (same for men and women) requires 7 jump elements, you can do doubles or triples, but lets take the lowest test you could do: 4 different double jumps, including a double lutz, two different double-double jump combinations, an axel type jump (so presumably a single axel could pass).

    Now think about what a JUNIOR man is doing at the international level. Some of our junior men don't compete senior nationally (though many do). This test is pretty much meaningless to them.

    The skills to be acquired to compete internationally don't come from the tests, they come from the individual motivation to compete internationally.


    If training isn't available nationally, then I suppose skaters would have to go overseas (not an issue here). However, I wanted to note- based on discussion on the Aussie thread- top skaters in the United States almost ALWAYS have to leave home, there are only a few training rinks, the rest of the rinks are filled with hockey and public sessions, and until you reach the very top, there is no funding, and it is fleeting. Most parents mortgage their homes to pay for elite skating. By the time there is a pay off, you have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    The skills to be acquired to compete internationally don't come from the tests, they come from the individual motivation to compete internationally.
    ITA. Passing a senior test is a huge feat but should be one reachable by anyone who puts in the work. Doubles seem to be the defining line of reachable. We need coaches. Having a Senior test gives people a standard that shows you are accomplished and can coach. If you can teach a double jump then you can teach a triple jump. There are older coaches that I have witnessed, who only did doubles when they competed in the 60s-70s, yet they foster an extremely high quality level in their students, who are doing triples.

    If you make the tests too hard simply to "create" an international-level skater then what does this accomplish exactly? Say that all 8 doubles (minus axel) only got you 4th out of 8 tests because to pass 8 you had to land 5 triples. People aren't going to want to skate if they can only pass half of 8 tests after practicing their whole life. The organizations also need participation and who is going to want to participate in a system like that?

    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    What concerns me however, is if the same skaters are sent to senior international or championship competition. Without TWO different triple jumps required in the short program, the skater is looking at major TES deductions already.

    How does one prepare for that?

    By sending skaters overseas without the technical tools needed to make any impact and succeed, it's like going to war with water pistols.

    Politically, doesn't it also reinforce in the judges minds that skaters without these requirements can't be competitive with the rest of the field either, and are likely looking at close to last or last place?
    I understand what you are saying, but if a country doesn't have enough skaters who can do two triples, then they don't have enough skaters. Making the tests easier/harder isn't going to make any skater have the ability to perform those jumps.

    Yes, it may be necessary for them to train in other countries if their country doesn't have the resources.

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    Thanks for all of your feedback, guys. It's been appreciated.

    But reigning it in, my main concern is smaller associations that have set the senior test requirements to preclude any triple jumps (and the double axel required for the short program), and subsequently sending skaters without these jumps (actually landed in competition) to international championships.

    The results unfortunately, speak for themselves.

    Of course, every athlete has different goals and dreams, but if the technical content isn't there, it is really doing everyone a disservice.

    Using Swimming Australia as an example, there is a minimum time limit that the athletes have to meet set by FINA. Yes, there is a greater talent pool to choose from. But it prepares the athletes for serious competition, not setting them up for disappointment.

    The ISU of course has a minimum TES requirement as well. But if the skaters don't have the jumps available, they are immediately going to be penalized for that, and that is my main worry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    my main concern is smaller associations that have set the senior test requirements to preclude any triple jumps (and the double axel required for the short program), and subsequently sending skaters without these jumps (actually landed in competition) to international championships.
    That's why I suggest that there need to be higher standards for international assignments than just passing a test.

    Don't make graduating from the test structure unattainable for skaters of average physical talent.

    But don't give the international assignments to skaters who haven't gone beyond the average attainable standard. Require an additional credential, beyond passing tests and winning a national medal in a limited field, for skaters to earn those assignments.

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