Yes! It is definitely possible for your skill scores to go down, even if you got a pretty good score on an exam. When you take an exam, the Cloud Academy platform chooses the questions to show you based partially on the score you already have in the skills that the exam covers. Then the platform re-calculates your skill scores based on your performance on those questions.
For example, imagine you had a score of 400 on the skill Storage for AWS before you took an exam. Because that is an intermediate score, the system presents you intermediate- and advanced-level questions relating to the topic Storage for AWS. If you get those questions wrong, the platform adjusts your score of that skill downward. For simplicity in this example, we'll say your score is now 300 (a real exam probably would not reduce your score that much for any individual skill).
How Skill Hierarchy Contributes to Your Score
The skills in Cloud Academy relate to each other in a hierarchy. You can see the hierarchy in your Skill Profile. Try clicking the name of a skill on the left side of the Skill Profiles dashboard to see the child skills that comprise it. The graphic below shows the Amazon Web Service skill expanded.
The overall score that you see on the dashboard combines the scores for a large hierarchy of skills. At the top is your overall skill score, followed by your platforms, domains, concepts, software, and tools. You can drill down on each one of those to get even more specific.
Each question on an exam relates to a skill, so obviously your performance on that question affects your score for that skill. Less obviously, though, is that your performance on that same question also affects your score for the related skills in the hierarchy.
To continue the previous example, the platform has recalculated your score on Storage for AWS from 400 to 300. The parent skill for Storage for AWS is Amazon Web Services, so after the recalculation, your Amazon Web Services score goes down as well, though not as much. Maybe your Amazon Web Services score would go down only 50 points.
Your overall score is the highest level in the hierarchy, so it can potentially change every time you take an exam or hands-on lab. Again, though, the impact will probably be less than it was on the individual skill score. In this example, your overall score might go down only 20 points because of your performance on the Storage for AWS questions.
Note: It's possible that your overall score wouldn't go down at all in this case if the exam questions covered more than one skill. In that case, your Storage for AWS score could go down but your score on another skill could go up and they'd cancel each other out in the overall score.
How Trying Something New Changes Your Overall Score
As mentioned above, your overall score is an average of your scores across all the skills. However, any skills that you haven't been tested on yet do not contribute, positively or negatively, to your overall score. As soon as you finish an exam or a hands-on lab that assesses your competency on a new skill, that skill score begins to contribute to your overall score.
The following graphic shows skills with N/A instead of a score. These skills haven't been assessed yet, so they don't contribute to the overall score.
If you started in Cloud Academy by taking a lot of exams and labs on topics you already knew well, you would see a high overall score. If you then took an exam on a topic you didn't know as well, that lower score starts contributing to your average and may bring down your overall score.
In our previous example, your overall score might still be intermediate, even after a disappointing performance on the Storage for AWS exam. If next you took an exam on an entirely unrelated skill, like Networking for Google, you might have a beginner's score because you're just beginning to learn about it. That low score on the Networking for Google skill does contribute to your overall score and can pull it down somewhat. However, it does not affect any of your scores for Storage for AWS or its related skills.
Check our this article on Cloud Academy's skill assessment technology to find out more.