The Two Most Frequently Asked Questions About the CPRP Exam

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April 12, 2017

Casey Ward Goldberg, former Chief Operating Officer

The most often asked question of CPRP exam candidates is:  “Why does it take so long to get exam results?”  It’s a complicated answer, and as we always tell candidates – it is in their best interest. PRA is committed to providing a fair, valid and reliable examination.  Following each exam administration our team of psychometricians and subject matter experts complete s a full evaluation of each exam and each candidates performance .

Having met the requirements of any one of the six eligibility pathways, candidates entering the exam room are perceived to have the knowledge necessary to perform the tasks outlined on the CPRP Exam Blueprint.  The test questions are designed to allow candidates to demonstrate that knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledege  in real-world psychaitric rehabilitation settings.

Given the diversity of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation field there may be a small number of questions outside the training of every individual. This will vary from person to person depending on one’s training. The number of these questions, however, is not enough to pose a barrier to passing a PRA exam. Qualified candidates who are adequately prepared should pass the examination.

Passing scores are determined through the modified Angoff process, a statistical procedure for establishing the minimum pass level using the judgment of experts. Through this process, the score required to pass is established.  The passing standard for the PRA examinations are set by the Commission using a recommendation from a panel of subject matter experts under the direction of professionals in testing and psychometrics. The criteria define the minimum acceptable level of competence required for the practice of psychiatric rehabilitation.

Now you are probably asking yourself, “And  how does this help me?” Well, it’s simle really, if the psychmoetric team idetifies items that did not perform statistically as expected, the subject matter experts come together to review those items.  The problem could be one of several, the item or question could have simply been too hard or the research too new to expect candidates to know the correct response. In this case, the item is removed from scoring. Another possibility is that the item was keyed wrong, meaning that the incorrect answer was indicated as the correct answer in the exam databank or that the item had two possible correct answers. Again, in these cases, the item would be removed from scoring. Having items removed from scoring means that candidates are not being scored on items that they couldn’t possibly have gotten correct. If we scored on the fly, there would be no opportunity for our team to identify problems and the failure rate would likely increase significantly – and no one wants that!

The second most frequesntly asked question is about how others have performed on the exam. Fortunately we can answer that! We have tracked exam scores back to 2006, so we can report on just over 10 years of exam performance. In addition to that, since 2015, PRA has been tracking candidate performance by exam elibgity pathway. This helps us to understand and evaluate each of the pathways. This information may be used to adjust pathways in the future to better meet the needs of candidates from all edicational and academic backgrounds. The graphs below will provide you with some insight to historical performance, and may help to encourge increased study based on your personal eligbility pathway.