It's been a thing for a long time.
Back in the early to mid '80s I took one of my first border collies to a large "canine learning experience" the local KC put on annually. There were match shows, obedience matches (this was pre-agility days), eye and other health exams, various info sessions, etc. And a herding instinct test.
I'd taken Kate for the eye exam, but went over to watch the herding instinct test out of curiosity. The organizers were pretty frustrated as they watched a number of their ACK Working Group dogs (this was also pre-Herding Group and pre-ACK registration of border collies) stroll around the ring completely disinterested in the Indian runner ducks they were using. It had gotten to the point that they were awarding the "instinct certificate" to any dog that would even glance at the ducks.
I watched with amusement as a bearded collie pup thought the ducks were intriguing playthings and chased them around and pounced on them. The testers and organizers were ecstatic! "Wow!" they cried. "Look at that pup turn on!" The puppy really didn't have a clue but was most enthusiastically awarded his instinct certificate.
Well, I was there with my young border collie. She was barely started but she had a decent gather and fetch and some rudimentary directions on her, and I thought why not enter her and show them what instinct really looks like. So I walked up to the registration with my rather nondescript working border collie to sign up. The person doing the registrations turned around, still beaming from the beardie's stellar performance and started to hand me a registration form. She looked at me, then looked down at my dog, then looked back up at me . . . The smile disappeared and without saying a word, she promptly turned her back on me and walked away.
I don't have much respect for ACK "herding instinct" tests.