History of the FAA Exam System

  • The Foundations

The Federation of Australian Astrologers was founded on 8th July 1970* and became an incorporated association on 16th January 1995**. At the time of founding, there were many astrology schools across Australia, but no consistent syllabus for astrological study or examinations and no nationally recognised standards.

The FAA’s Constitution lists under the heading ‘Objects’ (Purpose) the following statement to ‘conduct (astrological) examinations and award diplomas or other documents evidencing the performance of candidates in those examinations’. The inclusion of this purpose was due to the aspiration of the FAA to develop nationally recognised astrology qualifications towards the advancement of professionalism within astrology.

Among those leading the founding of the FAA were two highly esteemed Australian astrologers Doris Greaves and Allan Johnson who were both highly dedicated to astrological education. In 1971 Allan Johnson, with the approval of his FAA colleagues undertook the creation of an astrological examination system that would be available to student astrologers across Australia. There became an increasing number of students keen to sit these exams and Allan worked tirelessly and single-handed for over ten years to set and mark the FAA Certificate and Diploma exams.

  • The Next Advances

In 1983, in Sydney NSW, there was a meeting of many of Australia’s prominent astrology teachers, including Allan. They came together with the aim to begin to develop a standardised FAA teaching syllabus as the FAA Exam System had highlighted the differences in terminology and teaching methods across Australia. The outcome of this meeting was that Allan presented the new syllabus outline to the FAA National Executive as the basis for the FAA Certificates in Astrology. The FAA National Council approved the syllabus outline as the standard for the FAA Exams and qualifications.

A second outcome from the same meeting was that two established teaching astrologers joined Allan to assist him to set and mark the FAA exams. In 1985 this group became known as the FAA Board of Examiners and by 1986 there were seven members. The Exam Board (the abbreviated term commonly use today) included astrology teachers from each Australian State and a coordinator who assisted the FAA Exam Board with administration and coordination.

During 1986 there was some fine-tuning of the Exam syllabus to clarify terms and finalise the standards resulting in a nationally recognised and agreed syllabus. With the syllabus finalised the first FAA Exams were set and marked to this new standard in 1987.

At this point, the Exam Board also began to meet regularly and to pool their collective knowledge with a view to continue to develop and refine the FAA examination system.

  • 1992 Qualification Levels

FAA Basic Certificate
Attainment of the Basic Certificate meant the student had a good basic working knowledge of astrology but needed to gain more experience and knowledge to be qualified as a practitioner of astrology. The exam consisted of Part A the supervised 3.5 hour calculation exam and Part B of short essays on interpretation of a birth chart for which 3 weeks at home completion was allowed.

A condition was placed that once students gained the Basic Certificate they needed wait at least 12 months before sitting for the next level of Practitioner so they could gain adequate experience and knowledge before attempting the Practitioner’s Exam.

FAA Practitioner’s Certificate (prerequisite FAA Basic Certificate)
Attainment of the Practitioner’s Certificate indicated that the person had a depth of knowledge and experience to provide astrological consultations. The exam was an 8 week at home exam requiring essays to be written to cover dynamic chart interpretation plus advanced techniques.

FAA Diploma (prerequisite FAA Practitioner’s Certificate)
When these qualifications were put into place, a ‘grandfather’ clause that expired in 1992 was agreed to allow for those who had obtained a Basic Certificate but wished to still complete the FAA Diploma could do so without also completing the Practitioner’s Certificate.

Accredited Astrology Teacher (AAT)
A qualification created in 1989 that was awarded to teachers who on application could evidence that they were teaching to the FAA syllabus and had a set number of students who had passed the FAA Basic Certificate.

  • FAA Awards

In 1993 the Allan Johnson Silver and Gold medals for exam candidates were introduced and named in recognition of Allan’s many years of dedication to the development of the FAA Exam System. The Silver Medal was awarded for the Basic Certificate and Gold Medal for the Practitioner’s Certificate with the medals being presented to the student with the overall highest aggregate marks for the relevant examination each year.

2000 and onwards
In January 2000 the FAA Examiners Board, based on student feedback, their experience as Examiner’s plus input from many teachers presented to the FAA National Council a proposal to change the FAA Examination System. The concept was to create an exam system that was more flexible with the introduction of four exam modules, Calculation, Interpretation (together the equivalent of the Basic Certificate), Dynamics and Advanced Techniques (the equivalent of the Practitioner’s Certificate). This system would allow students to complete the examination modules in any order as they gained experience and knowledge. Once all four modules were successfully completed, the student would gain the FAA Practitioner’s Certificate.
This proposal, that coincided with the first Saturn return of the original FAA Exam System (the Exams began in 1971 with Saturn in Gemini), was accepted by the FAA National Council in January 2000. The implementation began with a ‘grandfather clause’ included for all those holding a FAA Basic Certificate allowing these members to only complete the Dynamics and Advanced Techniques modules by December 2003 to gain their FAA Practitioner’s Certificate (originally the ‘grandfather’ clause was until Dec 2002 but this was extended for 12 months).

Awards 2000
At this point as there were now four examinations it was agreed that the following awards or Silver Medals, be presented for the highest aggregate mark in each examination (all modules are now officially called examinations).

The Allan Johnson Silver Medal to be awarded for the highest aggregate marks in the Calculation Examination and the Dynamic Examination.

The Doris Greaves Silver Medal to be awarded for the highest aggregate marks in the Interpretation and the Relationship and Specialist Techniques Examinations.

The Allan Johnson Gold Medal became the FAA Examination Board Gold Medal of Excellence to be awarded each year to an exam candidate who had gained their Practitioners Certificate during the past 12 months and achieved the highest aggregate marks for all four examinations (aggregate 80% or above). If no candidate achieves an aggregate mark of 80% or above for the four examinations then the Gold Medal is not awarded.

  • FAA Exam Board

The FAA Examination Board continued with the FAA elected examiners rotating the role of Chair of the Exam Board and a coordinator who provided the administrative role to support the Exam Board.

In 2004 there were changes within the Exam Board and the position of the Coordinator became the Exam Board Director. The Exam Board Director’s role had increased responsibilities and became the person who interacted directly with exam candidates on all counts allowing the Examiners to concentrate on setting and marking the exams.

  • National Educational Standards

In 2007- 2008 the FAA Exam Board began to research national educational standards for qualifications within Australia and overseas and how these related to the standards of the FAA Examinations.

The result was a proposal to the FAA National Council in January 2008 to revise the names of the current qualifications in line with established educational standards. The FAA Practitioners Certificate became the FAA Diploma of Astrology [Dip Astro (FAA)] and the FAA Diploma became the FAA Advanced Diploma of Astrology [Adv Dip Astro (FAA)].

These changes were widely welcomed and stand as evidence of the growth and development of the FAA Examination System over the past 38 years that now provides nationally, and internationally recognised astrological qualifications that promotes professionalism within astrology.

2013 sees the implantation of changes to the Interpretation and Advanced Exams in order to make the Diploma of Astrology more attainable to students wishing to sit for their national qualification. The Advanced Techniques Exam, renamed the Relationship and Specialist Techniques Exam includes the Relational (Synastry / Composite) essay. The removal of this question from the Interpretation paper allows the Interpretation Exam greater variation to increase its range of questions based on the delineational techniques involved in astrological practice. A 60% overall pass mark for all exams ((Interpretation, Calculation, Dynamic and Relationship & Specialist Techniques Exams) also takes effect.

References

FAA Journals Vol 22 Number 1 March 1992, Vol 22 Number 4 December 1992, Vol 23 Number 2 June 1993, Vol 30 Number 1 March 2000, Vol 37 Number 3 September 2007, Vol 38 Number 1 March 2008

*FAA Founding Chart 8th July 1970 3.21 pm in Cleveland, Queensland
**FAA Incorporation Chart 16th January 1995 5.25pm Melbourne Victoria