CFA Scoring

Can someone explain how the exam is actually scored. CFAI website is not very clear. Actual exam scores are not released. The score matrix provided on the exam results is an indicator of overall performance and cannot be used to determine approximate scores or pass/fail status. The “<=50%” range is considered poor; “51%–70%” is considered poor to average; “>70%” is considered average to above average. Is there a curve of some sort?

I remember hearing somewhere that they use 70% of the top 1% of the exam takers, and set that as the passing mark. But i’m not sure if that’s accurate. and the matrix is reflective of your actual percentage score.

More specific, lets say you are average across the board. What designates you from the next guy who is average across the board. I’ve seen similar scores with one candidate failing and one passing. “Setting the Minimum Passing Score From 1963 through 1977, the minimum passing score (MPS) was described as being “70 percent of the total points.” From 1978 through 1989, the MPS was publicized as being “70 percent of the average of the several best papers” (It should be noted that the several best papers operationally referred to the top 1 percent of the papers). Since 1989, no one method of establishing the MPS has been utilized. The CFA charterholders among the CFA Institute Board of Governors set the MPS each year using a combination of performance metrics—70 percent of the maximum points, 70 percent of the top paper, 70 percent of the top 10 papers, and 70 percent of the top 1 percent of papers—and analysis of candidate and examination data. In addition, at Levels I and II, the results of a standard setting workshop, described in the following paragraph, are used as one of the criteria. The Board of Governors also commissioned a small group of charterholders to review Level III examinations and results and recommend the appropriate MPS. In 1996, a methodology for arriving at the MPS—the Angoff Standard Setting Method—was introduced to the CFA Institute Board of Governors. The Angoff method was specifically developed for multiple choice examinations and has been employed as a supplemental criterion for the establishment of the MPS for the Level I examination since that time and for Level II beginning in 2005. CFA Institute retains psychometricians— experts in the design and measurement of examinations—to conduct standard setting workshops. Workshop participants are practicing CFA charterholders. These individuals participate in a systematic process that adheres to sound psychometric practice and typically yields a workable range of MPS values. It should be extremely comforting for both charterholders and candidates to note that the results of the standard setting workshops have been remarkably consistent with previously utilized performance metrics (e.g., 70 percent of the top 1 percent, etc.). The standard setting results are one piece of information that the Board of Governors uses in establishing the minimum passing score. The determination of the actual MPS, however, is a policy decision that is based on a variety of information. CFA Institute professional staff and the Board will continue to monitor advances in the psychometric field to augment the information currently employed to set the MPS.”

because you both get the same matrix score, does not imply you have the same score. The matrix is there to give you an idea on how you did and what areas you did good/poorly on. a guy with all his scores in the average could be one that has 51% in all section, therefore 51% on the exam and almost guarenteed to fail. or 70% on all sections of the exam and get 70% on the exam and probably passing. both will have matrix scores of with 51 to 70% range for all categories.

Bottom line they add up the points you got right, express it in terms of percentage of total points on the exam, and compare that to a percentage determined using a variety of methods.