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View Full Version : Long-Winded Post on 5 <> 5a + 5b


Gyudon
06-24-2011, 10:03 AM
So yesterday, some people were hyperventilating about whether or not 5 PM = 5a + 5b. As always in these high stress scenarios some accusations of trolling were also made. The overwhelming majority seems to believe equally qualified candidates will pass whether they took the full or the halves.

Consider these two scenarios.

Scenario 1:
One group takes full 5. 15 minute reading period, 4 hour test.

Scenario 2:
Same group of equally knowledgeable people also study for a full 5 but get to take it in two pieces, say 5a one day with a 15 minute reading period and 2 hours, then 5b the following day after a full day's rest. Again they get 15 minutes and it's 2 hours.

Clearly scenario 2 is more favorable. You have to be intellectually dishonest to say the advantage is zero or virtually nonexistent. Some people claimed the advantage is 7.5 minutes but that's misleading since that's only true per half so really you get a whole 15 minutes of thinking time. In reality, the difference is even worse than scenario 2 since only half the material needed to be studied for a half 5 over a span of 3-5 months.

For practical reasons it may be impossible to adjust for this inequity without pissing on MQC or screwing over people who passed the old 5 or 6. So I feel much more indifferent now about whether 5 PM should = 5a + 5b. However, I am certain that the same people taking full 5 would get lower aggregate scores.

MountainHawk
06-24-2011, 10:06 AM
It doesn't impact me, so take it for what is worth, but didn't 5a/5b takers EARN that advantage by passing one of the old exams?

That said, I would be somewhat surprised if the CAS didn't at least consider if the 5A + 5B pass mark made sense for full 5. I imagine it was the default answer, but if it was going to produce unfair results, they would have moved it.

booyah81
06-24-2011, 10:14 AM
It doesn't impact me, so take it for what is worth, but didn't 5a/5b takers EARN that advantage by passing one of the old exams?

:clap:

FourKicks
06-24-2011, 10:17 AM
a few people have said that the ratemaking portion realistically required 2 hour, 15 minutes to complete while the reserving portion was closer to 1 hr, 45 minutes. if that's the case, you might expect pass ratio(5A) < pass ratio(5) < pass ratio(5B), and that's exactly what we see from the (admittedly biased) results poll.

that being said, i failed 5A and i have no one to blame but myself.

JasonScandopolous
06-24-2011, 10:18 AM
I think your example demonstrates that the only advantage is the extra 7.5 mins of reading time that 5A and 5B people got. If full 5 was broken up into two pieces, I would expect people do to exactly as well as they did now, before considering the effect of having the extra reading period time.

We (the 5A and 5Bers) have already demonstrated that we were MQCs for one half. We merely had to demonstrate this for the other half. It doesn't matter if someone else has to demonstrate that they are minimally qualified for the same thing as me, plus other stuff. I haven't stolen anything from the exam process (besides 7.5 mins of reading time), and my taking of the test should have no effect on the MQC pass mark for you or anyone else taking full 5.

Lucy
06-24-2011, 10:20 AM
I would have thought that if you were equally prepared it would be easier to pass the full exam than to pass both of the two halves on their own. You have 4 hours to alot however you want, you can skip the material you don't know as well (which might cluster in one half) and it's just easier to hit, for example, 60 points once than 30 points twice. (That point value is completely made up. I don't even know how many total points were on those exams.)

That being said, I would expect the people who sat for half an exam to be a lot more prepared (on average) than the people who sat for the whole exam:

1) They only had half as much to study during the past 6 months, or the 2 weeks they cram in, or whatever.
2a) They all have already passed an upper-level CAS exam and know what they need to do to pass again, or at least have a good sense of that.
2b) They have already passed an upper-level CAS exam so they all have the capabilty to do that. There are probably some people sitting for 5 who don't.
3) They only have two chances to get their grandfathered credit, and most would be highly motivated to do well THIS TIME.

So I would be pretty surprised if the pass percentages weren't higher for the parts than for the whole exam.

Vorian Atreides
06-24-2011, 10:21 AM
Scenario 2 is only an advantage to a candidate who is "equally prepared" for each area.

For the candidate who is stronger in one area over the other, Scenario 1 is to that candidate's advantage.

Vorian Atreides
06-24-2011, 10:23 AM
And I agree with Lucy.

Inconceivable
06-24-2011, 10:25 AM
I would have thought that if you were equally prepared it would be easier to pass the full exam than to pass both of the two halves on their own. You have 4 hours to alot however you want, you can skip the material you don't know as well (which might cluster in one half) and it's just easier to hit, for example, 60 points once than 30 points twice. (That point value is completely made up. I don't even know how many total points were on those exams.)

That being said, I would expect the people who sat for half an exam to be a lot more prepared (on average) than the people who sat for the whole exam:

1) They only had half as much to study during the past 6 months, or the 2 weeks they cram in, or whatever.
2a) They all have already passed an upper-level CAS exam and know what they need to do to pass again, or at least have a good sense of that.
2b) They have already passed an upper-level CAS exam so they all have the capabilty to do that. There are probably some people sitting for 5 who don't.
3) They only have two chances to get their grandfathered credit, and most would be highly motivated to do well THIS TIME.

So I would be pretty surprised if the pass percentages weren't higher for the parts than for the whole exam.

end thead/

Gyudon
06-24-2011, 10:32 AM
It doesn't impact me, so take it for what is worth, but didn't 5a/5b takers EARN that advantage by passing one of the old exams?

Very possible which is why 5 PM = 5a + 5b may be the best outcome all things considered (and they settle on that in the end). I was just making a point that there is a real difference in the two scenarios.

CASualty
06-24-2011, 11:15 AM
I wrote and passed the full 5. I took 2.5 hours to do 5A and 1.5 hours to do 5B. I could have easily passed 5B on its own, but I would have had little chance of passing 5A on its own.

nonactuarialactuary
06-24-2011, 01:31 PM
From the early results in the other poll, it looks like 5B was the easier exam to pass. 5A was the hardest, and 5 was in the middle. Is it fair to everyone? Of course not. Ideally, in my mind, you establish 3 separate passmarks that consider the distribution of actual scores for the exams. This meshes with the MQC concept though, but a hybrid approach might make sense where you establish the MQC passmarks as an initial benchmark, and adjust them upward or downward if they're out of line. You would need enough people taking the exam for this to be realistic though, so for an exam like this past sitting of 7 with only 9 people taking it, keep the MQC passmark unadjusted.

That said, even though it's not entirely fair, it does help to reverse some of the transitional quirks:

*Anyone who passed old 5 but not old 6 got screwed in the transition (only credit for 0.5 exams), but benefited here (easier half exam)

*Anyone who passed old 6 but not old 5 benefitted in the transition (got credit for 1.5 exams), but got screwed here (harder half exam)

I actually wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional by the CAS, and would expect to see the same thing in the 2012 sitting as well.

Kongo
08-08-2011, 01:14 PM
I think Dan's response makes no sense, thoughts AO?

http://www.casact.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&articleID=1611


Examination Committee Comments on Pass Marks for Full v Partial Related Exams
08/08/2011 —

By Daniel Roth, Examination Committee Chairperson

In response to concerns regarding the relationships between the pass marks and pass ratios for Exams 5, 5A and 5B, the Exam Committee reiterates that pass marks are based on an evaluation of the points required on the questions provided in the exam, and are not directly related to how candidates may or may not have performed on those questions, or how candidates performed on other exams.

The pass mark for an exam is generally the sum of the point requirements determined for the individual items. The committee has been applying this approach to its typical four-hour exams for a number of years, and similarly follows this approach in establishing the pass mark for Exam 5.

In establishing final pass marks, the committee considers the sufficiency of the time allotted to complete the items for each exam independently. Because the partial exams are restricted to fixed partial time allotments, it is possible that time adjustment(s) could result in the sum of the pass marks for

Exams 5A and 5B being less than the pass mark for Exam 5, even though the item-specific standards are the same. Although the committee’s determination of time adequacy is not made public, the release of the pass marks will reveal that the sum of the partial-exam pass marks is not less than the full-exam pass mark for the 2011 sitting.

The committee is aware of suggestions that the partial exam pass marks should be adjusted upward relative to the sum of the item-specific standards to redress a perceived lack of fair treatment between partial exam and full exam takers, but the committee views such adjustments as contrary to its standard-setting process. The committee sees no reason to fail candidates who have scored the required points on their tested items because they are perceived to have had a less challenging study schedule or testing environment.

Kongo
08-08-2011, 01:19 PM
views such adjustments as contrary to its standard-setting process

more specifically, this line, why? this is unprecendeted test, why is this contrary?

Vorian Atreides
08-08-2011, 02:11 PM
For what other Exam does the CAS make adjustments for "perceived lack of fair treatment"?

Kongo
08-08-2011, 03:04 PM
When has their been .5 *Exam A + .5 *Exam B= Exam C?

Kongo
08-09-2011, 01:16 PM
no comments, I thought Dan's note would get more pub

chicken_po_boy
08-09-2011, 01:31 PM
I think Dan's response makes no sense, thoughts AO?

http://www.casact.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&articleID=1611

The pass mark for an exam is generally the sum of the point requirements determined for the individual items. ..

...In establishing final pass marks, the committee considers the sufficiency of the time allotted to complete the items for each exam independently. Because the partial exams are restricted to fixed partial time allotments, it is possible that time adjustment(s) could result in the sum of the pass marks for
Exams 5A and 5B being less than the pass mark for Exam 5, even though the item-specific standards are the same.

Makes total sense to me, seems fair too.

FourKicks
08-09-2011, 02:40 PM
the explanation seems incomplete to me. on the one hand he states...

In establishing final pass marks, the committee considers the sufficiency of the time allotted to complete the items for each exam independently. Because the partial exams are restricted to fixed partial time allotments, it is possible that time adjustment(s) could result in the sum of the pass marks for Exams 5A and 5B being less than the pass mark for Exam 5

ok. so in determining the pass marks for 5A and 5B, they take the time allotment into consideration.

then he states...

Although the committee’s determination of time adequacy is not made public, the release of the pass marks will reveal that the sum of the partial-exam pass marks is not less than the full-exam pass mark for the 2011 sitting.

...which implies that they made no time adjustment wrt the half exams.

so it sounds like he's saying that, while the committee does look at time allotment when determining the pass mark, in this particular instance, the committee concluded that there was no need to make any time allotment adjustment for the two partial exams. is that a correct interpretation of what mr. roth is saying? if so, that doesn't jive with what some candidates were posting here: namely, that exam 5A was the longer half-exam and was realistically a 2 hr, 15 min exam as opposed to 2 hr.

The committee is aware of suggestions that the partial exam pass marks should be adjusted upward relative to the sum of the item-specific standards

there were just as many suggestions that the partial exam pass mark be adjusted downward due to time constraints.

so did they make a time adjustment for the half-exams or not? if not, what was the reasoning behind this decision?

and he didn't even address the issue of exam 5A candidates missing the ISO PAM at the start of the exam.

Vorian Atreides
08-09-2011, 02:42 PM
When has their been .5 *Exam A + .5 *Exam B= Exam C?
I'm not sure what the weightings mean.

The pass mark is a point value (not a percent of available points).

So, Exam 5A + Exam 5B = Exam 5 isn't unprecendented since w/o the transition, this would be how the PM for Exam 5 would be calculated anyway.

And why should those taking the transitional Exams need to demonstrate greater competency than those taking the full Exam?

IKnewIt
08-09-2011, 04:20 PM
so it sounds like he's saying that, while the committee does look at time allotment when determining the pass mark, in this particular instance, the committee concluded that there was no need to make any time allotment adjustment for the two partial exams. is that a correct interpretation of what mr. roth is saying?

That was how I read it. They considered the time constraints but ultimately decided to make the pass marks for 5A + 5B = Full 5. I guess we'll know for sure whenever the pass marks actually come out.

Bobby
08-10-2011, 01:02 AM
no comments, I thought Dan's note would get more pub

I believe at this point, most of us are just used to grabbing our ankles and taking it with a smile from the CAS examination committee.

Bobby
08-10-2011, 01:06 AM
More seriously, I'm surprised he talked about whether or not they should judge the 5A/5B more harshly. I believe it's the other way around: the 5 people were the ones judged harshly. We got a 5A exam that was too long and a 5B exam that was too long, and a pass mark that was determined by a group that included people taking half-exams.