State Board Report

December 2007

The 2007 edition of the Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination has been released. Since the Examination was moved to a computerized format, in April 2004, the candidates’ data has been analyzed and prepared by NASBA with the assistance of two experts in testing and statistics: Allan S. Cohen, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia, and James A. Wollack, Ph.D., associate scientist in Testing and Evaluation Services at the University of Wisconsin.

Under the computerized format, the Examination is administered throughout a two-month window within each quarter. Consequently, the 2007 edition covers information from the 2006 Examination that was offered In January-February, April -May, July – August, and October- November.

A total of 69,259 candidates took at least one of the four sections of the Examination in 2006 – compared to 44,513 in 2004 and 61,884 in 2005. Among the 2006 candidates, there were: 21, 893 candidates (31.61 percent) who were first time test takers that had not previously taken any section of the Examination; 36,201 candidates (52.27 percent) who were repeat candidates, having attempted all sections of the Examination previously; and the remaining 11,165 candidates (16.12 percent) were first timers on some sections and repeat test takers on others.

In previous years, with paper and pencil examinations, nearly all boards of accountancy required that candidates complete a questionnaire which provided biographic and demographic information. Under the computerized format, however, the same procedures were not initially in place. Some data was not obtained, such as when candidates decided to study accounting. Only 6,600 candidates (less than 10 percent of the 2006 test takers) provided this information. Based on the small number of responses, the authors concluded that “…clearly, the majority of candidates who reported this information indicated they decided either before entering college or while they were lower division students.”

The schools with the highest passing rates of all sections are listed in the accompanying tables. Only schools with at least 20 candidates attempting the section were included in the analysis. The authors note, “As expected, candidates with advanced degrees tend to have higher pass rates. In particular, candidates holding only an Associate’s degree perform significantly less well than the other candidates.” Candidates with no degree had a passing rate of 42.54 percent. That number was almost as high as candidates with Master’s degrees, with a 42.97 percent passing rate. The passing rate of candidates with “no degree” was higher than candidates with Bachelor’s degrees, who had passing rate of 34.68 percent.

State Board offices will be provided with a copy of the 2007 Edition of Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination.

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