How does the Practice Analysis influence the CPA Exam?
What is the timeline for this Practice Analysis?
Who is responsible for the Practice Analysis?
How comprehensive is the research? What are the steps to determining what is on the next CPA Exam?
What will be on the next version of the CPA Exam?
When will the next version of the CPA Exam launch?
How can I find out more information?
A Practice Analysis is a systematic study of a profession to describe the job responsibilities of those in practice. This information is then used to identify the knowledge and skills required to effectively carry out those responsibilities. The AICPA began conducting a Practice Analysis in 2014 that will inform the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination to be announced in 2016.
For the Uniform CPA Examination, the Practice Analysis is the first step to building a technically sound and legally defensible licensure examination. It provides a way to evaluate the knowledge and skills required of CPAs entering the profession and to determine the resources required for assessment. Findings from the Practice Analysis influence the exam blueprint, which documents the content, skills, length and time of the CPA Exam. Test questions are developed in accordance with the blueprint and this information forms the basis for the content validity and legal defensibility of the Exam.
The Practice Analysis process must be repeated periodically to ensure the continued relevance of the Exam to the profession. The last Uniform CPA Examination Practice Analysis was completed in 2008.
The standards used for the Practice Analysis are those specified in Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing developed jointly by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association and National Council on Measurement in Education.
The Board of Examiners (BOE), the governing body for the Uniform CPA Examination and a senior AICPA committee, authorized the launch of the Practice Analysis in 2014. The Practice Analysis will conclude in 2016. The next version of the CPA Exam will be announced in 2016 and launched in 2017.
Under the oversight of the Board of Examiners, the AICPA Examinations Team is conducting the Practice Analysis. The AICPA Examinations team includes CPAs who specialize in various areas of the profession, psychometricians (experts in the field of measurement), test development professionals and a project management team.
The BOE formed a Practice Analysis Sponsor Group to provide focused oversight on the project and present all recommendations to the BOE for approval. Half of the six members on the Sponsor Group are representatives from the state boards of accountancy. In addition, a Sponsor Advisory Group consisting of 12 professionals representing all areas of the CPA profession is also providing guidance on the project.
The AICPA is working in collaboration with its Exam partners NASBA and Prometric to gain additional input and guidance throughout the process. NASBA staff also serves as an Executive Sponsor of the project.
The 2014 Practice Analysis consists of three phases – Exploration, Confirmation and Exposure. Each stage requires the expertise of CPA subject matter experts, psychometricians specializing in the field of measurement and data collection professionals. Collaboration with a large number of CPAs is instrumental to the success of each milestone.
From Research to Launch
Exploration: Focus groups and interviews are used to understand the activities performed by newly licensed CPAs and to identify the knowledge and skills to be tested on the Exam.
Confirmation: An Invitation to Comment on maintaining the currency of the CPA Exam will be distributed to all stakeholders requesting feedback on specific questions. A Survey will also be administered to thousands of direct supervisors of newly licensed CPAs and newly licensed CPAs. The purpose of the Survey is to validate information gathered from the Exploration phase and to understand what knowledge and skills should be tested on the Exam.
Exposure: An Exposure Draft requesting input on proposed changes will be distributed to stakeholders. After considering stakeholder feedback, the blueprint for the next version of the CPA Exam will be finalized and the Exam design will be approved. The findings of the Practice Analysis, or the skills and knowledge that will be tested on the Exam, will be included in this blueprint.
The culmination of these activities will result in the next version of the CPA Exam, which will be announced in 2016 and launched in 2017.
The research conducted through the Practice Analysis will inform the blueprint for the next version of the CPA Exam. The Practice Analysis is a comprehensive study that includes research, confirmation and exposure of proposed changes. Once these stages have been finalized, the AICPA Examinations team, under the oversight of the BOE, will publicly announce the blueprint for the next version of the CPA Exam in 2016 and release in 2017. Updates regarding the next version of the CPA Exam can be found on AICPA.org/cpa-exam.
The next version of the CPA Exam will be announced in 2016 and launched in 2017. Announcements can be found on AICPA.org/cpa-exam.