The International Accounting Education Standards Board has released a paper aimed at helping professional organizations conduct written examinations to assess the capabilities of candidates for professional certifications, licenses and other qualifications.

The standard-setting board, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, released the International Education Information Paper, “Development and Management of Written Examinations,” to help not only professional accounting organizations with their exams, but other types of professions as well.
“We believe that this research will also interest professional associations outside the accounting profession, because many of the objectives and challenges of developing and administering a final written examination exist in other professions, both regulated and unregulated,” said the paper.

The paper is intended to help member bodies implement International Education Standard 6, “Assessment of Professional Capabilities and Competence,” issued in October 2003, and covers the many policies and procedures to develop, administer and grade written examinations. The paper is especially useful to developing organizations that need to make decisions on assessment practices for their education programs.

The paper provides an overview of the policies concerned with the development and administration of examinations, including “high stakes” examinations that lead to qualification as a member of a professional organization. It also includes examples of the processes and procedures that member bodies use to deliver reliable and valid assessments, including appropriate elements of quality control.

"IFAC member bodies have a public interest obligation to ensure that candidates are able to demonstrate competence upon entry to membership," said IAESB chair Mark Allison in a statement. "There are various methods used to assess candidates throughout the education process; however, written examinations continue to be an important assessment method. This information paper is intended to help member bodies evaluate their current approach and follow good practices that suit their environment and circumstances."

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