Pass/Fail? No, Pass Score!

Heling, Bruce; Mayo, Rick; Jeffery, Bobbi; Moisand, Dan
August 2002
Journal of Financial Planning;Aug2002, Vol. 15 Issue 8, p18
Academic Journal
This article highlights the author's experiences as a member of the Pass Score Committee for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification Examination. For many people who take the CFP Certification Exam, perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the entire process stems from the inability of the exam-taker to receive a grade. Throughout our schooling, we are taught that we pass or fail based on a certain score. When the CFP Board moved toward a single, comprehensive competency exam, they also used state-of-the art statistical analysis in the world of certification and licensure testing. But in the process of adding greater credibility to the exam process, they also begat great confusion among many financial planners. Each CFP exam consists of about 285 questions, with about 45 of those related to three separate case studies. The case study questions are worth three points each, and all other multiple choice questions are worth two points each. On any given exam, there are approximately 615 potential points--but the total number of potential points is not really relevant to who passes and who fails. This is where the Pass Score Committee comes into play. They determine what the minimally competent CFP certificant would know in order to practice on his or her own before the public. The Pass Score Committee was guided by professionals from The Channcey Group of International, a subsidiary of Educational Testing Services.


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