16. How was the passing score set for each section?
Volunteers who are licensed CPAs with recent experience supervising entry level CPAs participated in a passing score study. They reviewed test questions and how candidates performed on those questions in order to make judgments of what test performance is required to ensure the protection of the public interest. The results of this study were used by the Board of Examiners (BOE) as a guide when it established the passing scores for each section. These passing scores were then mapped to a score of 75 on the scale used to report scores. This process, known as Standard Setting, is common practice within high stakes testing.
17. How do I find out my scores for each content area of the exam?
We do not release subscores by content area. We do, however, report categories of performance. You should use caution in interpreting your content area performance. The subscores are calculated on fewer items and therefore not as reliable as the final score. The performance comparisons of weaker, comparable and stronger are provided to candidates as a general indicator of performance. The subscores are not disclosed because we do not want to convey a sense of precision in those scores that is unwarranted. That＊s why, in the event you decide to retake any section of the Exam, you should study all content areas. If you study only the areas in which you are weak, you might do better on those areas, but worse on others when you take the Exam again.
18. In general terms, what are the steps taken to produce the reported score?
Initially, for purposes of score reporting, each component (multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication) is treated separately. For the multiple-choice and task-based simulation components, Item Response Theory is used to obtain the scaled score for each type of question. The multiple-choice estimate is then
mapped to a score on a multiple-choice scale. Similarly, the task-based simulation estimate is mapped to a score on a task-based simulation scale. The total written communication raw score is mapped to a written communication scaled score. The scores are then combined with the policy weights (60% multiple-choice and 40% simulations for AUD, FAR and REG, 85% multiple-choice and 15% written communications for BEC). The final step involves mapping the aggregate score to the 0 to 99 scale used for score reporting. The process can be viewed in the following diagram.
19. Is there more that I can read about the Exam?
Yes. There are many technical reports related to the psychometric characteristics of the Exam. All of these reports are posted to the Psychometrics section of the Exam website. Other useful publications can also be found under the Research and Reports section of the site.