The USCPA Board of Examiners (BOE), a senior committee of the USCPA, is the body that sets policy for the Uniform CPA Examination in accordance with legal and psychometric standards as they apply to licensure examinations. In addition, the BOE (1) oversees the development and scoring of the CPA Examination; (2) ensures that the CPA Examination is consonant with entry-level knowledge and skill requirements of CPAs; and (3) represents the CPA Examination to state boards of accountancy and the profession.
The Mission of the BOE
The mission of the BOE is to provide reasonable assurance to boards of accountancy that candidates who pass the CPA Examination possess the level of technical knowledge and the skills necessary for initial licensure to protect the public interest.
Members of the BOE are CPA volunteers from every segment of the profession – public accounting, business and industry, and the academic community – the majority of whom currently also have regulatory (state board) experience. There are also some BOE members – such as psychometricians – who are not CPAs but have expertise required by the BOE. Psychometricians are experts on the technical aspects of test development and scoring.
The BOE Committee Structure
The Content Committee
The Content Committee is responsible for the technical content of the Uniform CPA Examination. Membership in the Content Committee is limited to CPAs, most of whom are representatives of the Content Committee’s five subcommittees. Of the five subcommittees, there is one subcommittee for each of the four examination sections, and one for IQEX (the International Qualification Examination). Each subcommittee is responsible for the development of examination content in accordance with BOE guidelines and policies.
The Psychometric Oversight Committee (POC)
The POC directs and evaluates CPA Examination research, and oversees the application of psychometric procedures in accordance with the international standards applicable to licensure and certification examinations. Members of the POC are psychometricians with expertise in psychometric procedures, measurement theories, computer-based testing, and legal issues relevant to licensure examinations.
The State Board Committee (SBC)
The SBC serves as a communication link between the BOE and state boards of accountancy. It is responsible for communicating state board concerns to the BOE and keeping the BOE advised of BOE activities and decisions. SBC membership is limited to state board of accountancy members/chairs or executive directors.
The BOE and the USCPA Examinations Team
The USCPA Examinations Team works under the oversight of the BOE, carrying out BOE directives with regard to the development and scoring of the Uniform CPA Examination. The Examinations Team is composed of CPAs, psychometricians, statisticians, test developers, and administrative staff.
The BOE Decision-Making Process
The BOE seeks expert advice and input from examination stakeholders prior to making decisions that will affect the Uniform CPA Examination. Depending on the issue, the BOE may consult with state boards of accountancy, request recommendations from its committees, ask the USCPA Examinations staff to investigate issues, or seek the views of a broad spectrum of CPA Examination stakeholders and the profession as a whole.
The Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) for the Uniform CPA Examination that are scheduled to be made effective on January 1, 2011 provide a good illustration of how the BOE involves numerous examination constituencies in its decisions and projects.
The new CSOs/SSOs are based on the results of the practice analysis study, which was authorized by the BOE in 2006 and completed in 2008. Thousands of CPAs contributed to the practice analysis – as survey respondents, subject matter experts, or committee members. Additional contributors were members of the regulatory community, psychometricians, and test developers.
A draft of the proposed CSOs/SSOs was released for comment between May 1 and July 30, 2008 in an Exposure Draft authorized by the BOE. Comments on the Exposure Draft were received from state boards of accountancy, CPA societies, accounting firms, standard-setting bodies, educators, and individual CPAs.
The BOE Communication Outreach
The BOE maintains open channels of communication with CPA Examination constituencies. With the advice of its State Board Committee, the BOE employs various means in its outreach, including announcements, exposure drafts, conference presentations, CPA Examination Forums, website materials, and published articles.
The BOE communicates with state boards of accountancy through the State Board Committee as well as NASBA (National Association of State Boards), NASBA committees whose representatives attend BOE meetings, BOE/accountancy board conference calls, and BOE-authorized mailings from the USCPA Examinations Team. Major announcements on CPA Examination topics are also distributed to other constituents, such as educators, state CPA societies, and professional associations.