The International Accounting Education Standards Board has released a paper on the development and management of written examinations for accountants.

The International Education Information Paper aims to help professional organizations conduct written examinations of aspiring accountants seeking qualification. The paper is intended to help professional accounting organizations implement the revised International Education Standard 6, Initial Professional Development, Assessment of Professional Competence, issued in November 2012, and covers the many policies and procedures to develop, administer and grade written examinations.

The IAESB said the paper would be especially useful to still-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 aspiring accountants are able to demonstrate competence upon entry to membership,” said IAESB chair Peter Wolnizer in a statement. “There are various methods used to assess aspiring accountants 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. We expect professional organizations outside accounting may also be interested in this paper. Many of the objectives and challenges of developing and administering a final written examination exist in other professions, both regulated and unregulated.”

As part of its initiative to improve the clarity of its standards, the IAESB has redrafted and revised IES 1-6 to prescribe the requirements for Initial Professional Development. In addition, IES 7, Continuing Professional Development, has been redrafted in accordance with the IAESB’s new drafting conventions. IES 8, the remaining standard in the suite of eight IES, is expected to be redrafted and revised by the fourth quarter of 2014.

The IAESB operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, whose member bodies include the American Institute of CPAs, which administers the Uniform CPA Examination with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

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