Key points from the CIMA UK Facebook Q&A session hosted by the head of Learning and Development at CIMA, Peter Stewart on Wednesday 6th May 2015.
Here are some answers from Peter Stewart in response to student questions raised on Facebook.
Interesting details on the pass mark for Objective Tests
“We released an indicative pass mark of 70% for Objective Tests last year. This represents the standard required to pass, however the way in which we assess students in objective tests means we can't issue percentage scores. A raw score is produced, but due to objective tests drawing on a range of questions from a question bank, we cannot compare student performance from exam to exam. To determine whether a student has passed or failed, an industry standard psychometric method called Anghof has been used to identify the minimum boundary required by a student to demonstrate competence in each question and syllabus topic area. Once a sufficient number of exams have been sat across all nine objective tests we will be in a position to start issuing scaled scores as we currently do for Case Study exams”.
Information on pass rates
“Detailed pass rates will be available as soon as we can produce statistically valid figures (weeks rather than months). The case study results went out recently (including a 62% UK rate at the Strategic Level) and they suggest to me that that area of assessment hasn't made life harder for candidates. For the majority of the OTQ exams, it currently looks like the pass rates are at or above what you would have expected throughout the 2010 syllabus”.
Comments regarding the review of F3 and P3
“Performance in the F3 tests is being analysed with the intention of being able to feed back to students & tutors with guidance on how to improve chances of passing. We've had no indication that there is a fault in the test and, therefore, no plans to "re-write”.
“Please don't read the "review" as being an expectation that the exam is somehow faulty and we need to make changes. We have statistical data on the performance of all questions across the exams and are analysing that to identify the syllabus areas that need attention”.
Useful advice on Time Management in OT exams
“There's always been time pressure in exams. I guess it feels a bit different when you can see that there's a clock ticking and a specific number of questions to complete. Don't work on an assumption that EACH question takes 1.5 mins. Some will take less than that, others will require longer. It's part of the process of setting what we call a "balanced" test and the mix of question styles is taken into account when achieving that balance. I've described a "3 sweep" approach to going through the exams. First - the quick and straightforward questions; Second (using the review screen after Q60) - the questions where you know that you know how to answer but need calculations or a bit of thinking time; lastly (again on the review screen of incomplete questions) the lengthier and more involved ones”.
Reasons for the exams being computerised
“We have taken a well regarded approach in the sector by using computer based assessments. Our exams are able to assess 100% of syllabus content in each subject as opposed to approximately 70% under the paper-based model prior to 2015. This ensures that the qualification you're studying is rigorous and produces competent and skilled CGMAs based on the needs of businesses”.
Answer to a student’s concerns over method marks not being given in new style of exams.
“I'll start with the 'Devil's advocate' answer. If you had to provide an analysis to your boss that was full of errors, do you think you'd get credit for 'method used'? OTQs have developed over the years to become an accepted (and expected) method of assessment in some very high-stakes exam. The variety of questions makes it highly unlikely that someone will get through on guesswork and the specifically objective nature of them means that you'll get through if you really know your stuff. No single question is worth enough marks that it, alone, makes the difference to passing or failing. We've set the pass mark at the 70% level to allow for this calculation errors etc, that you mention. We've also got the case studies which you allow you to demonstrate how you apply your knowledge in a work-based scenario”.
Response to those students that are considering moving to the ACCA qualification
“I'd be naturally disappointed. I don't think people should seek a professional qualification based upon how easy it is to obtain (which weakens the value of the qualification) but upon the employment opportunities that the qualification gives you”.
Information on the marks awarded on ‘tick all that apply’ questions
“There are about 6 different styles of OT question; "Tick all that apply" is one and is used more towards the upper levels of the syllabus. It aims to test the completeness of your knowledge/application and so the score is only awarded for a perfect match”.
Reasons for CIMA’s decision to not give students detailed feedback after their exam.
“The old system had all students taking the same exam and so you could compare scores with one another and discuss with your tutor. The fact that you all have slightly different sets of questions makes that comparison misleading. We indicate syllabus areas that need more attention than others. We can't drill into that with more detail for a few reasons (I'll come back to if time allows) but do expect that a student can reflect on that feedback and assess whether your own learning led you to a position where you were confident (and so failed with a couple of wrong questions) or if it's an area that you really didn't get to grips with - in which case you, yourself, know that the questions were beyond you”.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/cimauk for more answers.
Discuss your opinions about this Q&A session with other students on our CIMA forum page - http://cimaforum.boards.net
Nick Best and the Astranti team