State Board Report

August 2009

The statistics for the 2008 Uniform CPA Examination have been compiled and show Nebraska to be the jurisdiction with highest percentage of first‐time candidates passing all sections of the examination. The top three were: Nebraska – 60.5 percent, North Dakota – 60.0 percent, and South Dakota – 60.0 percent. Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination – 2009 Edition, has just been published by NASBA with the help of the State Boards. Drs. Allan S. Cohen, University of Georgia, and James A. Wollack, University of Wisconsin, analyzed the data voluntarily collected from the candidates and developed the report that accompanies the statistics.

As the accompanying chart shows, Wake Forest University was the school with the highest passing rate among first‐time candidates without advanced degrees, 89.7 percent, and Brigham Young University claimed that distinction for the highest passing rate among all candidates with advanced degrees, 84.15 per cent.

“The passing percentages for 2006 and 2007 were noticeably higher than they were in 2004. In 2008, this trend appears to have slowed with passing rates only slightly higher than they were last year,” Drs. Cohen and Wollack write. “Passing percentages among repeat candidates were noticeably lower than for first‐time candidates. Interestingly, the biggest difference was observed from the BEC [Business Environment and Concepts] section. This section was the easiest for first‐time candidates, but was clearly the hardest for repeat candidates, as only 36.9 percent of repeat candidates passed the BEC section. Approximately 45 percent of the repeat candidates passed each of the remaining three sections. This overall pattern is in keeping with previous years.”

The authors note that the background information was provided by only 4,206 of the 85,362 candidates who took the examination in 2008; however, they add that NASBA is continuing to explore ways to improve the rate of return of completed questionnaires.

Among the many listings Included in the study are: passing rates of all candidates by jurisdiction; performance of candidates with and without advanced degrees by accounting school; performance of candidates by semester hours of accounting; and performance of candidates by undergraduate major.

It is anticipated State Boards will be receiving copies of Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination – 2009 Edition by the end of the month. Copies may be ordered from NASBA by calling 615‐880‐4258 or emailing cpb@nasba.org to request an order form. The cost is $130 for the soft‐cover book; $75.00 for the CD; $180 for book and CD combination. More information about the book can be obtained from Denise Flagg at cpb@nasba.org or 615‐880‐ 4258.

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