Frequently Asked Questions About Licensing Exams

Reporting test scores

CLEAR Exam Review (Winter 1992)
Eric Werner, M.A.

Question: Many of our board's licensure candidates have asked over the years for the board to provide their test scores to employers who consider the scores as one kind of information about the desirability of the candidates as employees or about whether to promote the candidates. The board does not wish to be unhelpful, but we prefer not to do this. What do you think?

Answer: I think that you serve on a wise board. Much could be written in answer to your question, but let me make just a few points here. The use of test results should be restricted to the purpose for which a test was validated and constructed. Few, if any, licensing examinations are developed to serve as employment or promotion standards. We should strongly discourage this test misuse. An employer who obtains and uses them in these ways is asking for legal trouble. A board that cooperates in providing licensing test results to the employer will very likely experience no less trouble. Also, I believe that it is usually unwise to provide to anyone the actual numerical test scores produced from credentialing tests. Most such tests have been developed to produce meaningful pass/fail results only. Exceptions to this would include giving failing candidates diagnostic feedback about how they did on parts of the test. This practice is a good one only if the test has been developed to produce reliable diagnostic information.


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