CFLE Directions: Permanent Committee to be Formed for CFLE Exam and Possible Exit Exam

by Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, NCFR Director of Education
CFLE Network

Since the CFLE exam was first created in 2007, NCFR has held a number of exam update sessions. We've created a series of ad hoc committees to handle the job analysis, item writing and review, and scoring aspects of exam development. It has been a time-consuming process involving face-to-face meetings at the headquarters in Florida of our testing vendor, Schroeder Measurement Technology, as well as multiple virtual meetings via webinars.

During this last exam update we modified the process so that most of the item writing was completed online. This method proved to be very efficient. In fact, creating the exam questions via an online portal proved so successful that we are going to change the way in which we update the CFLE test bank going forward. Instead of creating large numbers of new exam questions every 3-4 years, I am creating a standing Exam Committee that will create and approve new questions on an ongoing basis.

Members of this committee will serve 3- to 5-year terms. The main selection criterion will be subject matter expertise (in the 10 family life content areas). NCFR has the advantage of having professors who are familiar with test creation available as subject matter experts, but it will also be important for the committee to reflect the CFLE population and include practitioners as well as college faculty. Training in item writing and review is provided, so no previous experience in test development is needed.

This change in procedure will enable us to regularly populate and update the CFLE exam test bank, ensuring relevance and security. It also will make it feasible for NCFR to consider the development of a senior exit exam.

I have been contacted by numerous schools over the past 5 or so years, inquiring about the possibility of using the CFLE exam as an exit/assessment exam for their family science program. Through conversations with representatives from Schroeder Measurement Technology it became clear that using the actual CFLE exam was not an option and that it would be necessary to create and use a separate exam. If we did not have the CFLE exam infrastructure in place it would likely be too expensive for NCFR to create and maintain an exit exam, but by creating a standing exam committee and carrying out much of the exam development and review process online this may be something we can do. It is possible the CFLE content outline would be used as the foundation for the exam because the people I have spoken to think it is representative of much of the content of family science. (A review of the applicability of the CFLE content outline for an exit exam would be part of the exit exam development process.)

We distributed a survey to gauge the interest and support for a NCFR-sponsored exit/assessment exam and the response to-date has indicated that there is strong interest. In addition to interest in an assessment exam however it will also be important to determine if there is sufficient financial support as well given that there will obviously need to be a charge. We will likely administer a second, more detailed survey regarding logistics in the near future.

Development of a standing formal Exam Committee will proceed regardless of the outcome of the exit exam survey, and we'll begin the ongoing exam-development process in early 2016. If you are interested in serving on the Exam Committee, or want to follow up on the status of the exit/assessment exam, please email me or call me 763-231-2882.

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