Sunday, October 3, 2010

ISA HK/China --- QA Credential (Q and A)

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Dear Station Members,

Further to our announcement of the Qualified Arborist (QA) credential in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China on Sep 29, 2010, please kindly study the Q & A below for common enquiries:

Q. Why produce the QA credential in our territory?

A. This is a local credential to be used in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. It elevates experienced Certified Arborists (CA) to a higher level, as well as recognizing their communication skills especially in report-writing in professional English. The QA tests for more than just multiple choice questions, but requiring commitment in ISA & ISA HK/China by staying in membership. It also requires participating into ISA International Conference to meet the world. It requires a number of CEU to ensure post-graduate knowledge without bias in all fields. It requires academic qualification of a degree & recognizes a minimum of 10 year Tree Work as an equivalent. It is a well balanced approach to produce a genuinely Qualified Arborist in our territory.

Q. Why require a degree or equivalent for the QA credential?

A. The QA tests for communication skills for candidates in our territory. The ISA Certified Arborist (CA) credential only tests for reading in English, because it assumes the candidate is already English-speaking, & has 3 year full time tree work experience. In QA, we verify this by asking the candidate to write an Arborist Report in English. We assume that a degree-holder or equivalent will meet this requirement.

Q. Why require the QA to be an ISA Member & ISA HK/China Station Member at the same time?

A. The answer is obvious. We need the candidate to support ISA & ISA HK/China. We can also better monitor the performance of the QA this way.

Q. Why require a 3+ years of CA certification to become QA?

A. There are CA in our territory who do not re-certify after their expiration in 3 years. We need to know whether this candidate is current or not.

Q. Why need 80+ CEU to become a QA?

A. Spreading out 80 CEU in 3 years, it is only 27 hours of arboricultural education per year. Attending one ISA International Conference can get a candidate 40+ CEU already. There are also books, seminars, workshops & other training to get CEU. A CA would need 30 CEU to re-certify anyway. Being a QA & superior, 80 CEU is seen reasonable for a higher status.

Q. Why 25% of the 80 CEU must not come from tree climbing alone?

A. The QA is expected to write Arborist Report in our territory. If the QA can only climb but not write, would he/she be respected for all he/she is required to do?

Q. Why is attending an ISA International Conference a pre-requisite?

A. The QA needs to have met the world in Arboriculture. He/She is expected to be knowledgeable. What's better is it to have our QA see the latest research & technology, communicate with international experts & learn from the advanced in an ISA International Conference?

Q. What is a proof of the attendance of an ISA International Conference?

A. We accept payment receipt, CEU record, written confirmation from an ISA staff & any other form of solid proof to show the candidate has really been there.

Q. Why require report-writing for the QA?

A. The QA is required to write or present in his/her future work, mostly likely for Arborist Reports of all kinds. We are putting up a basic report-writing requirement for the QA candidate to ensure they can write simple reports. This will also test out those CA who can only read, but not write.

Q. Why have the report-writing to be 60% essay & 40% others?

A. This is to prevent we get only graphs & photos for the report. Essay-writing is the essence we are trying to test. This is also exactly ISA HK/China gets most complaints from Govt Depts & clients. We therefore require our QA to be able to describe what they see, & explain how they decide.

Q. Why make such a stringent requirement in grammatical, spelling & punctuation mistake?

A. The English language is a scientific language. One wrong grammar, spelling & punctuation can totally mislead the readers. This is exactly what the QA wants to avoid in report-writing. QA is expected to write clear reports.

Q. Why arboricultural accuracy is not an important criteria in the report-writing submission?

A. The report comes from an actual Arborist Report of the candidate. It should contain adequate arboricultural accuracy for submission to the client. It is also very difficult to go into details, to verify the technical accuracy without visiting the tree & site of the report. Since the report comes from a CA, we respect what is written would comply with international practices, unless we are given rubbish which will be treated otherwise.

Q. Why accept a report of any format?

A. We simply do not know what report is submitted in which format to what client of the candidate. Internationally, there is also no fixed format for Arborist Report.

Q. Why ask for a Reviewing Fee for the report-writing?

A. It costs a lot of time & effort of our Technical Reviewers to examine & give comments on the report coming in. We respect & pay for their time. There will be at least 3 Technical Reviewers to examine each report, & one has to be an IPA. The cost will be equally spread among the three reviewers, which is rather small for their average weekly earning.

Q. What is the quality of the Technical Reviewers?

A. Our Reviewers must be an ISA Proctor & holding an overseas degree at the same time, I.e. they have lived abroad to use English as a living language. Local Technical Reviewers with similar quality may be recruited later.

Q. Why require the fresh report to be on a new tree(s), if the first submission fails?

A. We want a new report for re-submission, not that with correction of the first report, because our Technical Reviewers would have already given comments on the mistakes. What's the point of using our correction to pass the original report? Is that not cheating?

Q. Why make the validity of the QA credential to follow that of CA?

A. The QA credential builds on the CA credential, except it further verifies the CA's abilities in communication. Therefore, the validity should follow that of the CA credential for technical benefits.

Q. How popular would the QA credential in our territory & outside?

A. When the public can see the quality & benefits of the QA credential, they will follow. After all, the QA is a good credential by requiring a range of qualities tested outside the CA credential. Most candidates in our territory are not English-speaking. The QA credential will verify their English communication skills, at least in writing. ISA HK/China will promote the QA credential like the IPA in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. We would require our China brothers & sisters to write good English report before we give our QA credential to them.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."