Key Takeaways on US CPA Exam Scoring
What is the passing Score?
The passing score is 75 on a 0-99 scale.
Who sets the Passing Score?
The passing score is determined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Board of Examiners (BOE) which considers factors like standard for results, trends and exam content changes. The BOE receives input from NASBA, consultant psychometricians, the academic community, and licensed CPAs. The passing score is the basis of the pass or fail decision recommended to Boards of Accountancy on the advisory score report.
Is scoring an automated process?
Scoring is fully automated for all Exam components except the written communication tasks. Most written communication responses are scored by a computer grading program, which is calibrated using human scorers. In some cases, responses are scored by a network of human graders (all CPAs). If your score is close to the passing score, your written communication tasks will be automatically re-graded by human graders. When there is more than one grader for a response, the average of the scores is used as the final grade.
The AICPA uses Item Response Theory (IRT) for the objective portion of the Exam. IRT is a well-established psychometric approach of scoring used by licensing and certification examinations that administer many different test forms.
All scoring routines, whether automated or not, are verified at various stages of the scoring process.
How does the exam tests my knowledge and skills?
The Exam uses a multistage adaptive test delivery model for all multiple-choice testlets. Your first testlet will be given at a level of moderate difficulty. The next testlet will be the same level or slightly more difficult based on your performance. The adaptive model is not used for task-based simulations or written communication tasks.
How do you decide which questions are difficult and which are medium?
The difficulty levels of the test questions (and other statistics that are used to describe each test question) are determined through statistical analysis of candidate responses. At the question level, difficulty is not quantified as a category (e.g., moderate or difficult), but as a numeric value along a scale. Testlets are classified as either medium or difficult based on the average difficulty of the questions within that testlet. All testlets have questions ranging in difficulty. Questions in difficult testlets just have a higher average level of difficulty than those in medium testlets.
Is it worth getting a score review if scoring a 74?
The score review process involves making certain the approved answer keys were used and applied correctly in determining a score. It is not an opportunity to have alternate responses considered. It is simply an additional independent verification of your score. The AICPA ensures that scores undergo thorough quality control checks before they are released. Given all the quality control reviews already completed, it is highly unlikely your score will change due to a score review