Exam Background and Scoring

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CHES® Exam Background and Scoring

The CHES® examination contains 165 items; 150 of the items are scored and 15 of the items are used as pilot items and do not contribute to the final score on each exam. Examinees are informed that there are pilot items on the exam, however, the candidate is not told which items are being piloted and which items are being scored. NCHEC pilots new items on the CHES® exam to ensure high statistical integrity of this certification examination. Item piloting is used to determine the psychometric properties of an item before the item is actually included as a “scored item” on an examination. This also allows for the removal of items that do not perform at acceptable levels for certifying examinations.

Determining the Passing Point on the CHES® Exam

NCHEC has used the Modified Angoff method and variations of this method to set the passing point for the CHES® examination. The Modified Angoff method is the most widely used criterion-referenced passing point technique within the credentialing industry and is based on the judgment of content experts regarding the expected test performance of candidates who are just qualified. This criterion-referenced procedure sets the performance standard before the examination is taken by candidates. Therefore, this standard is independent of examinee performance. Essentially, this method allows subject-matter experts to establish a consistent level of knowledge that is expected of professionals who are just qualified for certification. There is also no penalty for guessing on an item on the exam. The results are reviewed by NCHEC and a final standard is set. This standard is upheld on every subsequent form of the CHES® examination using a statistical process called equating. Although all examination forms are based on the same test blueprint and are carefully constructed to have similar difficulty levels, slight differences in difficulty are unavoidable. To ensure that candidates who take an easier or more difficult form of the examination do not have an advantage or disadvantage, equating is used to adjust the passing point for the difficulty level of the form.

Receiving Your Results

CHES® exam candidates will receive an email notification of provisional results as "pass/did not pass status" after exiting the exam.  Provisional results are provided as a convenience to the examinee, and examinees' official scores may differ from their provisional results.  Additional evaluation of the functioning of all exam items is done during and at the close of each exam testing window.  This additional review is to ensure that all examiness are evaluated accurately and fairly.  Candidates will receive an official scaled score report showing each candidate's overall pass/fail status, as well as diagnostic information about the candidate's performance in each area of responsibility or domain.  A diagnostic level of "proficient," "moderately proficient," or "below proficient" will be presented for each area of responsibility.  To protect confidentiality, results will not be provided by e-mail, phone or fax.

NOTE:  Candidates who applied under the 90-day eligibility option must provide proof of graduation before they will receive exam scores, certificate or certification number

Reading Your Score Report

Candidates will receive an official scaled score report showing each candidate’s overall pass/fail status, as well as diagnostic information about the candidate’s performance in each area of responsibility or domain. A diagnostic level of “proficient,” “moderately proficient,” or “below proficient” will be presented for each Area of Responsibility. This information is provided to aid in self-assessment and can help candidates to focus on areas in which they need to pursue further study or professional development. It is important to note that the Area of Responsibility proficiency information is provided ONLY to inform decisions regarding further studying and professional development purposes. Please note that each CHES® candidate’s pass/fail status is determined solely by their performance on the entire examination, not on performance in individual Areas of Responsibility.

Reliability and Validity of the CHES® Exam

Item analyses are conducted and the results are reviewed for each examination form administered. Reliability of the examination is calculated using the Cronbach’s coefficient alpha. Reliability coefficients above 0.80 are considered satisfactory for credentialing exams. The CHES® exam reliability coefficient, as determined by the Cronbach’s alpha, has consistently met or exceeded the standard over the years.

Confidentiality Policy for Exam Scores

The exam score is confidential and will not be disclosed unless NCHEC receives a written request to do so from a candidate or is directed to do so by subpoena or court order. A candidate wanting scores released to another entity must indicate in writing which particular scores may be disclosed and identify specifically the person or organization to which the scores should be revealed. No candidate scores will be given by telephone, facsimile or e-mail for any reason.

Statistical Information Regarding the CHES® April 2022 and October 2022 Examinations

The below table shows the average score for each Area of Responsibility for the April 2022 CHES® exam.


The below table shows the average score for each Area of Responsibility for the October 2022 CHES® exam.


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