Printer Friendly

Appraisal Institute education: knowledge--experience--integrity.

The Appraisal Institute is the premier provider of professional appraiser education. Knowledge, experience, and integrity are the core of the Appraisal Institute's education and publications. And while it may be thought that experience is not achieved in the classroom, it certainly starts there, with the sharing of the experience-based knowledge of instructors and course developers. It is through the quality and integrity of its education program that the Appraisal Institute has achieved its status as the leader in appraiser education.

Leadership in Education

Leadership in appraiser education is part of the Appraisal Institute's heritage. During the 1930s, the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (AIREA) and the Society of Residential Appraisers (SREA) began laying the groundwork for today's education program. As described in Richard Parli's article, "The Education of a Profession," (1) the appraisal profession has benefited because our founders made the dissemination of real estate valuation knowledge a priority.

In the early years of the profession, educational programs were limited in terms of the number and scope of the offerings. In the ensuing years, appraiser education expanded and curriculums were refined. However, it has been during the past fifteen years that appraiser education has changed most dramatically.

In 1989, the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of The Appraisal Foundation established minimum requirements for appraiser education, experience, and examination. Going forward, appraisers would have to meet AQB requirements in order to become state-certified appraisers. These requirements went into effect on January 1, 1993.

To meet the newly established requirements, the Appraisal Institute developed a two-tiered education program for residential and general appraisers. Each tier or level was designed for a specific purpose. The Level I courses were designed to cover the topics and to provide the classroom hours necessary to meet the requirements for state licensing and certification. These courses were open to all students interested in qualifying for licensing and certification. The Level II, or designation-track, courses were designed to build on and enhance knowledge gained in Level I courses. The Level II courses met the specific requirements for candidates (now Associate Members) working toward their MAI or SRA designation.

The Appraisal Institute continued to expand its offerings with the introduction of specialty courses developed in the late 1990s. These specialty courses included Apartment Appraisal: Concepts and Applications; Computer-Enhanced Cash-Flow Modeling; the small, mixed-used properties series; and the litigation series.

Preparing for a New Era in Education

Because of the need for more extensive and demanding education and experience to qualify appraisers for licensing and certification, the AQB held numerous public meetings and solicited input from appraisal organizations in the late 1990s. The Appraisal Institute was a key participant in these discussions, offering its suggestions and comments.

Finally, in 2004, after six exposure drafts, the AQB adopted revisions to the real property qualifications criteria. The revised AQB criteria significantly increased the required appraiser education hours.

The Appraisal Institute realized it had an opportunity to assert its leadership in appraisal education by developing a new qualifying education curriculum that would exactly match the AQB's new core curriculum requirements.

While the core content areas covered in Appraisal Institute courses were very similar to the AQB's content outlines, the Appraisal Institute's content was often too advanced. Consequently, specifications for fifteen new qualifying education (QE) courses (2) were drafted and over the next four years, these new courses were developed. Today, all the new courses have been unveiled and approved by the AQB. (3)

Continuing Excellence in Education

Do the new Appraisal Institute courses continue the goals and aspirations of the founders of the AIREA and SREA? The answer is a resounding "Yes." We believe that educated, trained, and experienced appraisers who apply appraisal standards and adhere to a code of professional ethics best serve the public. Appraisal Institute education today, as in its beginning, is consistent with and fosters that unanimity of purpose.

A One-of-a-Kind Development Process

The Appraisal Institute has always taken pride in providing the best education in the profession. We also take pride in our development process for courses, which involves teams of experienced, knowledgeable developers and reviewers.

How did these new QE courses come about and how did the Appraisal Institute ensure these courses would continue the educational goals of this professional organization?

First, the Appraisal Institute created several development teams, consisting of committed professional appraisers. Using the AQB's Guide Note for "The Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria," the teams fleshed out more detailed specifications. Course developers were selected based on their reputations for excellence in teaching and broad knowledge of the appraisal concepts and procedures. Members of the course review teams were also selected based on their track records of excellence in education and depth of knowledge on specific topics.

Second, the courses were subject to an intensive development and refinement process. After reviewing a developer's first draft of the course, the developer, the team of expert reviewers, and staff worked together to refine and enhance the course. Finally, after a careful review of the second draft (and sometimes third and fourth drafts), the course was presented for the first time. Then, only after any final revisions were made, were the courses released to the chapters.

This rigorous process has ensured that all the courses in the new education program are accurate, comprehensive, and structured to maximize learning. Arlen Mills, MAI, SRA, who served as a member of the AQB (1997-2002) and as its Chair (2000-2001), observed that the Appraisal Institute's development process has been integral to our program's high quality:
 The patience and attention to details were extremely impressive.
 The intensive detailed development and review process ... ensured
 that the final education product reflects accurately the most
 widely held knowledge and experience of the large number of
 appraisers involved as well as consistency with Appraisal Institute

Updating the Educational Approach

The creation of courses for the new educational program provided an opportunity to update the approach used in teaching the courses. The new education program creates a completely new style of presenting educational material. It incorporates extensive applications with a new look and feel that students have been very positive about.

While the Appraisal Institute's education program has always taught the most up-to-date procedures and techniques for valuing real property, it has also always acknowledged that critical reasoning is essential in making the difference between "a scientifically formed judgment [and] a haphazard guess." (4) The appraisal problems and case studies in the new curriculum demand not only critical reasoning, but also the articulation of that reasoning.

Broadening Coverage of Concepts and Procedures

Although the courses are new in format and delivery, the traditionally important concepts and procedures remain. The valuation process as presented in The Appraisal of Real Estate remains the basis of all Appraisal Institute course material. It is in the broad fleshing out of the details of the process that the new courses shine. For example, the concept of highest and best use--the foundation of all appraisal analysis--is no longer presented only in lecture form in the Basic Appraisal Principles course. While it was always recognized as foundational, now each course explores highest and best use as each valuation approach or other part of the valuation process is presented. Moreover, this topic is presented in-depth in separate residential and general qualifying education courses: Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use and General Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use.

As the rifles of these courses suggest, the need for a strong market analysis in deriving the highest and best use of real property is given prominence in our new qualifying education courses. Students learn not only how to collect data from the market area, but also how to apply it in highest and best use analysis. Moreover, each course shows the relationship between market and highest and best use analysis and the application of the three approaches to value.

Another example of expansion of concepts and procedures found in our curriculum is the careful and accurate presentation of the appraiser's reasoning in all parts of the valuation process. While always implicit in previous courses, throughout the new QE courses students are required to relate how they derived adjustments, income and expense estimates, site value indications, etc.

Likewise, case study courses, a staple in Appraisal Institute education, are also a staple in the new QE curriculum. These courses provide real-world applications for students to analyze a property from various perspectives and reconcile separate value indications into a sound, defensible value opinion for a specific property. In the new courses, this teaching tool is employed as students explore in-depth the application of each approach to value. In some courses as many as three case studies are used to derive value indications from the approach that is the topic of the course.

In these case studies, the process of reconciliation within the approach is emphasized. Students learn the basics of reconciliation that are carried forward into the final reconciliation to a strongly supported value opinion. Thus, the new courses provide extensive tools for a central conceptual process that was always implied in the courses but now is explicit in each course in the new QE curriculum.

The content of the new QE courses, while broadening and deepening presentation of material covered in the former courses, also focuses on and emphasizes information and valuation issues that appraisers need knowledge of today. These issues include emphasis on the following:

* The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), showing the relationship between USPAP and each part of the valuation process

* Report-writing skills to make the appraiser's reasoning clearer to the intended user of the report

* Critical reasoning skills

These expansions in the way we teach appraisal performance are not just a result of the mandates of the AQB or of the new course specifications created by experts in the field. Appraisal Institute members who served as graders of report-writing examinations and of demonstration appraisal reports provided insight into the weaknesses they saw not only in report-writing skills, but also in correct application of valuation methodology. Now QE courses provide more tools to help appraisers become stronger in these areas.

Maximizing Learning

The Appraisal Institute's new courses have been developed on the combined bases of excellence and awareness of the needs of those who take the courses. Recognizing the professional needs of those preparing for careers in real property appraisal, we have modernized our courses and their presentation in ways that better accommodate students' lifestyles and business commitments. Initiatives in this direction include:

* Application of techniques proven to be effective for adult learners

* Opportunities for students to share their own knowledge

* Discussion questions that require assimilation of information

* Review quizzes for each part and practice tests for each major section of the course, giving students ways to reinforce their understanding of the material

* Application-based learning through problem solving and case study work

As Gary Taylor, MAI, SRA, 2004 President of the Appraisal Institute, notes,
 The goal of Appraisal Institute education is to provide the
 strongest foundation possible for professional real property
 appraisers and the skill set necessary to meet the challenges of
 the ever-changing real estate environment.

Taylor believes that the new courses do provide intensive, hands-on experience and a very strong foundation for appraisal students. Moreover, they prepare our course participants for the national exam (prepared by the AQB and adopted by most states) that will go into effect on January 1, 2008.

Looking Toward the Future

The concerted effort by representatives at all levels of the Appraisal Institute has produced an education program with materials that exhibit new directions in appraisal education. The Appraisal Institute presents its new program with great pride and satisfaction-we are confident that we have continued along the path set by the founders of our organization and have established a basis to meet future needs.

It is clear that the future holds both excitement and challenges for appraisal education. The next major focus of the Appraisal Institute and the Education Committee will be developing advanced education for the MAI designation and adapting our courses for international presentation. The experiences of Appraisal Institute Instructors in China, South Korea, Italy, Turkey, Vietnam, and other countries have given insights into the challenges of providing quality education on an international level and the need to adapt traditional appraisal education and theory to the diverse practice of appraisal Internationally. The Appraisal Institute stands ready to provide the most comprehensive education materials and instruction for practitioners worldwide.


The Appraisal Institute accepted the challenge of the Appraiser Qualifications Board, and we used its mandates as an opportunity. We have successfully enhanced our education program and tailored it to today's students. Appraisal Institute educational products are second to none, and they provide the basis for the most comprehensive educational experience available. We constantly provide workshops for our instructors, and we listen to our public. This will ensure that the Appraisal Institute will continue to be the preeminent provider of appraisal education in the future.

by Joseph C. Magdziarz, MAI, SRA, and Sheila F. Crowell

(1.) Richard L. Parli, "The Education of a Profession," The Appraisal Journal (Fall 2007): 326-338.

(2.) The AQB defines qualifying education as "education that is creditable toward the education requirements for the Trainee Classification and licensure or certification under one or more of the three real estate appraiser classifications (Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser, Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser, or Certified General Real Property Appraiser).

(3.) At press time, AQB approval of one course was pending. To see a list of Appraisal Institute AQB-approved courses, go to http://www.appraisalinstitute. org/education/course_describ/course_overview.asp

(4.) Philip W. Kniskern, "A Message from the President of the Institute," The Journal of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (October 1932): 1-5.

Joseph C. Magdziarz, MAI, SRA, is Chair of the Appraisal Institute Education Committee, and he has been instrumental in moving forward recommendations to improve education development and delivery. Magdziarz received the Appraisal Institute President's Award in 2004 for his role as an instructor and mentor as well as for his service on 717 Education Evaluation Project Teams. In 2001, he received the Kinnard Award for professionalism in education for his extensive involvement in development of the overall education mission of the Appraisal Institute. Magdziarz's appraisal firm, Appraisal Research, Inc., is located in Rockford, Illinois. Contact:

Sheila F. Crowell is the Course Content Specialist in Classroom Education for the Appraisal Institute. She reviewed courses for the new qualifying education curriculum and is a codeveloper for Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use and Advanced Residential Report Writing and Case Studies. Crowell began her career at the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers in 1980 as a technical writer, working on The Appraisal of Real Estate, The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, Appraising Residential Properties, and The Appraisal of Rural Property. She was instrumental in developing the first instructor handbooks for Appraisal Institute courses and has worked on most of the Appraisal Institute's course materials, including the development of the Level II curriculum. In 2004, Crowell received the Kinnard Award for professionalism in education. Contact:
COPYRIGHT 2007 The Appraisal Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:NOTES AND ISSUES
Author:Magdziarz, Joseph C.; Crowell, Sheila F.
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2007
Previous Article:The effect of distance to cell phone towers on house prices in Florida.
Next Article:Appraisal procedure of federal agencies.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters