Frequently Asked Questions About Licensing Exams
CLEAR Exam Review
Eric Werner, M.A.
Question: Our oral examination is under fire from some of those who have failed it and from some persons who have trained these failed persons. Certain state legislators have also questioned its effectiveness and fairness. Our board would like to do what it can to help assure a high-quality assessment process. What can you suggest?
Answer: Not very much in the space remaining to me. Here is a brief list of suggestions that might help you:
Assume that your examination assesses
demonstrably job-related, important factors. A job analysis
should serve as the basis of your oral examination plan.
Use your oral examination to test only
factors that cannot be effectively measured with more
conventional and efficient testing formats.
Use a structured oral examination
process; avoid clinical interviews, the substance and process of
which vary from one candidate to the next.
Carefully plan and pretest your
examination questions, including follow-ups. Make sure the set of
inquiries used represents a suitable sample of important job
knowledge and abilities as defined in your exam plan.
Use a structured, acceptably reliable
process to evaluate candidate responses. Objectively define and
pretest your rating scales.
Teach examiners how to avoid common
pitfalls of oral examining, which are documented in many texts
and articles on this subject.
Train examiners thoroughly in their tasks
and in the candidate evaluation standards to be applied. Ensure
that examiners can perform equivalently--that is, that they are
calibrated to some standard.
Analyze the results of the oral examination so that you have information on the performance of individual examiners, the reliability of the evaluations made, the questions that were more and less difficult, and so forth.
© 2002 Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation