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Scaled scores are here

CIMA used the 2015 lecturers’ conference in London to announce the introduction of scaled scores and a calculator policy change. PQ magazine was there to record it all

December 2015

From 1 November, the CIMA OT results will include a grade (pass/fail), sectional performance feedback and a scaled score, announced director of examinations Steve Flatman at the recent Lecturers’ conference.
He pointed out that with the new 2015 regime CIMA has introduced multiple versions of the exams. Each case study in each exam window, for example, has five forms (five versions) of the exam. There are also multiple versions of the OT tests, the content of which will change regularly over time. The challenge for CIMA was to find a way to present candidates’ performance in a consistent way when, despite best efforts, each exam or assessment may have a slightly different level of difficulty.
So percentage pass rates are out, and Flatman has opted for scaled scores, which are the industry standard way of resolving this challenge.

New passing criteria:
OT scaled scores will range from 0 to 150. A score of 100 and above represents a pass. CIMA states: “A candidate scoring 100 has reached the minimum level of competence required.”
For the case study, the scaled score will also range from 0 to 150. Here a score of 80 and above represents a pass. However, in addition, candidates also have to achieve one-thirds of available marks for each competency (excluding leadership at the operational level).
Flatman stressed that CIMA will take raw scores and translate them into scaled scores. That means student who took a slightly harder version of the exam and achieved a raw score of say 98 will get the same scaled score as a student who took a slight easier version of the exam and achieved a raw score of 99. Both would, in his example, be awarded a scaled score of 148/150.

Publishing pass rates
CIMA used the conference to formalised the release of pass rates. In future, the case study pass rates will be released within two weeks of the strategic level case study results being released. Publication of OT pass rates will be synchronised with the publication of case study results. In 2015, OT pass rates will cover the time periods: January 2015 to a specific date. In 2016, OT pass rates will cover the preceding 12 months – a rolling reporting period.

Calculator policy change:
CIMA part qualifieds will also be permitted to take non-programmable calculators from the pre-approved list into CIMA exams at Pearson VUE exam centres. This policy is not ‘time-bound’, said Flatman, and the new policy will be applied for the foreseeable future. This applies to all CIMA professional exams.
If you bring a calculator to the exam, then the exam administrator will check that it matches a model from the pre-approved list. That said, students do not have to bring a calculator to the centre, as a computer-based one is available as part of the exam. Students can practise using the onscreen calculator using the Question Tutorials hosted by Pearson VUE or by downloading the practice exam tutorial (installable MSI version) from Pearson VUE.

Myth busting:
Flatman revealed statistics that he felt showed that the majority of candidates have sufficient time to complete tests. Overall, 3.7% of OT exams sat have more than one item unanswered due to time constraints.
This can be broken down further. At operational level, the percentage of assessment with one or more items left unanswered is 2.3%. For management it is 3.3% and for the strategic papers it is 5.6%.

How ready are you?
The conference heard that every student needs to be familiar with the technology used to deliver the exams. That means taking the exam tutorial!
Candidates also need to use the question tutorial hosted by Pearson Vue, which is accessible over the internet. This will make you familiar with the types of questions you will encounter in the exam.
Another resource comes via CIMA Aptitude, with its formative tests and mock exams. Students can use these tests to help gauge their exam readiness and identify their areas of weakness. These test are produced by third parties, with support from CIMA, and cost £15 in the UK. You can take these tests either in ‘practice mode’ or under ‘timed assessment’ mode. In practice mode, PQs attempt questions at their own pace and get instant feedback to answers and an explanation of the correct answer. With timed assessment, sitters are tested under exam conditions and then get a full report and links back to any incorrect answers.
• PQ will be reporting the reviews of the operational, management and strategic levels in the coming months – so keep an eye out!

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