After years of discussing, planning and developing, AACE International has reached, yet again, another milestone in its quest for certification excellence: Computer Based Testing. Finally, AACE International joins hundreds of other credentialing associations in replacing traditional pencil and paper examinations with computer based testing (CBT).
Over the past decade, we have seen a huge increase of technology which influences our day to day life that coupled with the vital improvements in computer security, it is not surprising that CBT has become the standard in examination delivery for most credentialing associations. Our schools systems, colleges and universities are all incorporating CBT as a viable, if not only, method of examination delivery. Therefore, it is a strong possibility that future generations may never take a paper examination, much less, seen or used a scantron sheet. Clearly, it is critical to the success of AACE International to move from pencil and paper testing to CBT in a world teeming with technology.
During the past 12 months, the AACE International Certification Board has been diligently working to convert its six paper based examinations into CBT examinations with Kryterion, our selected computer based testing vendor. Kryterion is a full service provider of customizable assessment and certification products and services. They work with organizations to build and deliver everything from skills tests and simple online assessments to a comprehensive high-stakes worldwide certification program with unsurpassed program security, control and convenience.
Preparations for the conversion required each examination to be psychometrically evaluated, which primarily helped to uncover poorly performing questions and provide general examination validation results. The psychometric report was reviewed by subject matter experts (SMEs) who compared the report to each examination, question by question, and determined potential problems, grammatical errors and formatting issues or offered recommendation to revise or eliminate a question. After the SME’s thorough review the necessary modifications were made to the exams, in order to fit the CBT mode of delivery. By March, 2012, the CBT version of AACE International exams was completed and ready for beta-testing. The significant changes to note about CBT exams compared to the paper and pencil exams are:
The CCT exam is three hours, maximum (100 questions).
The CCC/CCE, CEP, EVP and PSP exams are five hours, maximum (120 questions).
The CFCC exam is five hours, maximum (100 questions/4 essays)
The CCC/CCE exam is now closed book for the entire exam. However, formula guides were developed to assist in calculating specific questions and available onscreen, when, and if, needed. (The CEP, EVP and PSP exams have not changed – they are still closed book)
For the CCT and CFCC exam, you are only permitted a maximum of two reference books for OPEN BOOK exams (downloaded reference books should be printed and bound in a notebook; no loose paper, iPads, Kindles, etc. will be permitted for resource materials).
CCT candidates may use the CCT Primer – in a binder and the S&K, 5th edition (or previous editions).
CFCC candidates, may use any two books of their choosing that will be beneficial for referencing.
In July, 2012 the CBT delivery of our exams were beta tested in four domestic AACE International sections: Arizona Section, Southern California Section, Houston Section, and National Capital Section. We are currently preparing to beta test four international AACE International sections: United Arab Emirates Section (Abu Dhabi & Dubai), Australia Section (Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane), Aurora-Edmonton Section (Canada) and Indonesia (Jakarta) for the September, 2012 exam cycle. We anticipate the same favorable results.
The beta-testing was used primarily to validate the electronic delivery of content in all certification examinations, in addition to help identify any errors, uncover confusing or missing information, or detect missing or inoperable features, if present. We are pleased to announce the final result of the beta test was positive overall, with minimal issues. Based upon the encouraging outcome the Certification Board is pleased to formally announce, effective January 1, 2013, CBT will be the standard delivery of all AACE International exams!
With CBT, exam candidates will have the flexibility to schedule their exam on a day and time convenient for their schedule. And with over 500 locations worldwide, exam candidates should not encounter any obstacles in finding an exam center near their home or office. Candidates will still be required to register for an exam by completing an application and making payment with AACE International, and submitting the required eligibility documentation (and technical paper if applying for CCC/CCE).
Once the candidate has been cleared to sit for the exam, they will be given detailed instructions on how to schedule for their CBT exam at a Kryterion location. No candidate will be permitted to register directly with Kryterion without permission from AACE International, who will issue a voucher code in the permission notice to be used when scheduling their exam with Kryterion.
As with all things in the technology world, it’s important to recognize there will be an increase in certification fees, to offset the direct costs to deliver exams through CBT. The 2013 fees are:
The increased fees are in line with other credentialing organizations within the same industry, and in many cases, significantly lower. It is also important to acknowledge this is the first registration fee increase in over a decade. Adjusted for inflation, our fee for certification is actually less in terms of constant dollars than in 2000. As the Authority for Total Cost Management, we are pleased to have maintained competitive and cost effective throughout the years.
This is a very exciting time for AACE International and a perfect time to make the decision to get certified. CBT gives you the flexibility and convenience of testing on your own time line. Nothing can stop you now.