How is a passing score determined?
The level of performance required for passing a credentialing test should depend on the knowledge and skills necessary for acceptable performance and should not be adjusted to regulate the number or proportion of persons passing the test. The ABVLM Board Certification Exam follows this model, called Criterion-Referenced testing. The pass point was determined by careful analysis and judgment of acceptable performance in consultation with the ABVLM consultant psychometricians.
Each exam is equated to a benchmark scale established every five years. A test equating process is designed to calculate differences in the difficulty of examinations among administrations and then adjust the scale of the current test administration so that the same criterion standard can be used. By accounting for differences in difficulty across years, all candidates have a comparable opportunity to pass the examination, regardless of when they take the test. For example, if the test administered in a particular year is found to be more difficult relative to other years' tests, the percent correct necessary to pass would be lowered to be equivalent to the criterion standard. On the other hand, if a test administration is easier, the percent correct necessary to pass would be higher to be equivalent to the criterion standard.
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