Changes to the Level 2 Tester Certification

Written by CJ Crooks
Level 3 (PC), USA

Written by CJ Crooks
Level 3 (PC), USA

In April of 2016, Judge Program Leaders unveiled a restructuring of the program. The New New World Order introduced Advanced Roles and certifications as part of the changes. Among those certifications was the Level 2 Tester (L2T) Certification. It was designed to empower Level 2 judges to assess a Level 1’s readiness for the next level.

Overall, L2Ts have done tremendous work. L2Ts have acted as mentors to judges and candidates that previously had none. Different styles of teaching and learning were integrated into areas resulting in a more diverse population of judges. As new level 2 judges began mentoring candidates and certifying level 1 judges, players saw judges who more closely resembled their attitudes and personalities.  The process resulted in new inquiries and new judge candidates.

The L2T certification has also encountered troubles. In remote areas, arguably the areas that need the L2T certification the most, prerequisites are difficult to obtain. The L2T certification is administered at a regional level. Some regions choose not use the L2T certification at all as they have a significant amount of testers available. Other regional coordinators have created a limit to the number of L2T certifications in the region in order to adequately oversee the quality of new judges.

The inconsistencies in the certification have caused many concerns. Once a judge fulfills the prerequisites they may not be able to achieve the same certification that their peers have achieved. There have been concerns over the fairness and transparency of L2T allocations within areas. Judges have seen their prerequisites expire while waiting for a L2T position to open up in their region.  L2T certification holders moving to a new region have been told that the certification is no longer valid. New Regional Coordinators may not agree with the previous L2T process used in the region.

Certifications always create a level scope concern. Although the initial announcement specifically stated that the L2T was not level 2.5, several individuals have touted the L2T certification as such. This has led to a lot of confusion within regions and within the program as a whole. It is important that program construction be consistent so judges can share their experiences and tournament organizers can make decisions based on their expectations.

Overall, L2T created many negative experiences within the program.

During the recent Judge Leadership meeting in Richmond, it was decided to remove the Level 2 Tester certification. The decision passed after a lot of discussion and reflection on the certification. Program leadership is extremely grateful for the work that L2Ts have been doing.

The Level 2 Tester was created to meet two important program needs:

  • Make it easier for Level 2 candidates to test.
  • Provide ways for Level 2 judges to improve and contribute to the Judge Program without seeking L3 advancement.

These needs still exist. In many areas, it is difficult for a Level 1 judge or judge candidate to find a mentor. Several L2s feel the PPTQ schedule in their area is overly demanding. The program will always need capable teachers, mentors, and role models. However, those individuals do not need to have a certification to be able to help others progress in the program. If you are working with a judge candidate or a judge looking to advance, please continue doing so.

Moving Forward 
As of now, every Regional Coordinator may empower any L2 they deem appropriate to administer a level 2 test. Regional Coordinator applications will be open to any L2 judge in the region should a suitable in-region L3 judge not be selected. Program Coordinators will be investigating new ways for Level 2 judges to improve and contribute to the Judge Program without seeking L3 Advancement.

Ideas are welcome and can be shared by emailing us