Guidelines for Regionalized Administration of Exams

Protocols for Off-site Administration of Master Beekeeper Exams, Certified Level Adopted 31 Jan 2012; revised: 5 Mar 2012, 6 Aug 2015, 18 May 2016 Suspended 16 May 2019; Revised in beta 27 Jan 2021

Since 2002 the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program has certified almost 1000 individuals as competent ambassadors of the craft of beekeeping, drawing participants from 22 states and two countries. The Program is a 4-step process in which candidates advance through four grades of increasing complexity and demonstrated expertise: Certified, Journeyman, Master, and Master Craftsman. The highest grade approaches an MS-level graduate degree in its complexity and demands on the student. Receipt of the entry grade, Certified, testifies that the holder has a basic knowledge of bees and beekeeping.

Master Beekeeper Numbers from 2002-2018

The Program administrators have developed guidelines for off-site administration of exams at the Certified level. The plan depends on the cooperation of local bee clubs to offer training, administer the exams, protect the integrity of exams and the grading process and submit student scores to professor Delaplane. Upon receipt of the required documents, Delaplane's office will mail signed certificates to the successful candidates. Essentially, the local club is deputized to train and examine candidates on behalf of the program administrators. Beekeepers achieving the Certified rank this way will, after the standard 12-month wait time, quality to pursue the Journeyman and higher ranks at the annual Young Harris Institute. 

Effective 2016, the program began requiring recipients of the entry level rank, Certified, to have at least one year's prior experience keeping bees. The practical exam includes an affidavit form to be filled out and singed by the student and examiner. The program was suspended in 2019 and reinstated for a beta trial year in 2021. 

It is our hope that off-site testing will broaden the impact of the Georgia Mater Beekeeper Program throughout the state and region, relieve pressure at the annual Institute and strengthen local bee clubs by expanding the services they can offer their members and community. The next two sections give a roadmap for clubs interested in pursuing this member service. 

A Road Map for Off-site Administration of Certified Exams -
Qualifications for hosting organization 

  1. It is expected that the hosting organization (host) will be a local bee club with the normal indicators of a public non-profit. These include such things as a constitution, elected officers, open accounting policy, open membership policy, and in some cases incorporation.

  2. Any training sessions leading up to the examinations will be supervised by an individual holding the rank of Journeyman or higher from the Georgia Master Beekeeper program. This supervisor will be a member of the hosting association and serve as the liaison between the host and Professor Delaplane.

  3. Final examinations will require the direct on-site participation of an external examiner who holds the rank of Master Beekeeper or higher and is not a member of the hosting association. It is this individual’s charge to impartially superintend all details of administering the exams, including training any exam proctors, supervising grading, and settling any disputes therein arising. Proctors may be members of the hosting association and must hold at least the grade of Certified, and external examiner will coach these individuals on the content of the exam and correct procedure for testing. The host is responsible for arranging the external examiner and covering all costs of the individual’s participation. Information about Master Beekeepers available to provide these services.

  4. At least four weeks before an intended offering, the host will submit to Professor Delaplane a written statement describing the group’s qualifications and the proposed training/certifying event.

Road Map of Certifying Process

  1. Upon confirming qualifications of the hosting organization, Delaplane will contact the supervisor to discuss curriculum requirements. In a timely fashion, supervisor will forward Delaplane contact information on the external examiner so Delaplane can provide this individual with the latest exam versions and any related details. Host agrees that exams will not be retained, copied, photographed, or otherwise propagated, and all exams will be destroyed after grades and names are recorded.

  2. There are two exams: a written exam that tests basic knowledge and a practical exam that emphasizes bee-handling skills and visual identification of hive parts, diseases, and bee colony components. In communications leading up to the event, Delaplane will coach supervisor and external examiner on the content of exams and proper mode of administration.

  3. Host agrees to administer the written exam in a setting that is quiet and without distractions. The room will be proctored constantly for the one - hour limit to discourage cheating and answer procedural questions.

  4. The practical exam is administered individually, with one proctor, a clip-board and one candidate. With large numbers of students, it will be necessary to use many proctor/student pairings.

  5. Host agrees to make on-site preparations for the practical exam. This includes plainly labeling hive parts and comb components; providing live bee hives, smokers, fuel and all necessary bee-handling equipment; and providing real examples of bee diseases or disorders. It may be necessary for supervisor to visit the UGA Bee Lab for more specific guidance.

  6. UGA requires a fee (published in annual Institute registration information) to process paperwork and cover costs for mailing signed certificates to successful candidates. The host agrees to collect this fee, make the check payable to the UGA Bee Lab and forward to Delaplane, preferably in one check. The host is free to add to this fee whatever cost recovery required at their end.

  7. Host will forward to Delaplane a list of student names, street addresses, telephone numbers, emails and numeric scores for each exam within two weeks of event.

  8. Delaplane will procure certificates with signatures and mail directly to successful candidates via conventional post within one month of receiving data. Delaplane will copy information to supervisor.

  9. A passing grade (70% or higher) is required for both exams to qualify for the Certified level.