CAS Leadership and the Failure of 2020 Exams

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Viewing 16 posts - 17 through 32 (of 84 total)
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  • #1199
    saul goodman
    Participant

    Chicago and Los Angeles are on lock down. I think that’s a pretty good reason to have online exams. Especially since they promised that in April.

    #1201
    Bananas88
    Participant

    For those of us who already took the exam, how do you think they should make it so we have the online exams rather than taking exams at the Pearson testing facility? Personally I’d have loved to have taken my exam online, in the comfort of my own home, rather than at the Pearson testing facility. If some people are allowed to take it online/at home, that’s giving them an unfair advantage.

    Also, if exams are administered online, what prevents someone from stashing their flashcards in a bathroom cabinet, and going to look at them during a quick bathroom break?

    #1208
    Hop-n-Hazy
    Participant

    Exam 5 had the same questions on all the “cheaters” out there, I think it was less prevalent than the fears of those who thought everyone was cheating.

    For the most part outside of exam 6 most of the upper level exams you need such a quick and deep understanding of the material that having a quick peek at your notes would net you maybe 1 or 2 points on the whole exam anyway.

    to be honest the only thing having all of your notes next to you for exams 7,8, 9 would do is help on the random formula’s you have only seen twice since starting the material months ago but they are asking you to remember and use. Everything else you need to really understand (the way they want you to) to answer the questions as of the last 2 years

    With how poorly the CAS write’s their beloved blooms questions you have to guess at what the heck they even want you to do half the time anyway.

    When they rolled out the CBT plan for exam 5 they said in their webinar that the goal was to get to all online exams and for the uppers they would eventually be open book similarly to how engineering exams are. That just makes way too much sense for the CAS to ever do it though, because we all know on a regular basis if we need to attempt some method we haven’t used in a while we make sure to do it from memory and don’t check the source because that is how we were taught to do it on the exam….

    #1209
    Michael Scott
    Participant

    The cheating isn’t purely from stashing notes. First off, you greatly simplify what can be gained from looking at notes, but even assuming everything were true as you claim and that it doesn’t help on the exams… The main issue with this setup especially having a window of 1.5 months (assuming dec 31 cutoff but it sounds like this will go into January now), it’s the fact that people who take the test later will GAIN INSIDE INFO on what the actual questions are. Are you seriously saying knowing what the questions are and how to prepare is NOT going to help someone’s score? This is precisely the cheating that people are worried about, not merely looking at a note card to get a peek at a formula. We know there’s an NDA, but again like I mentioned in my earlier post, just like in a job interview for a prospective candidate. If an actuary knows another actuary at the candidate’s company, you can bet they’ll ask about them even though it’s extremely unprofessional to do so. I for one, wish the NDA and fears of cheating are enough to stop people from talking, but I seriously doubt that happens, especially at larger companies. This is precisely the issue with what people are concerned about, not that they stashed a hidden notecard. I really wish the CAS will adjust the grading to account for this, but I have my doubts on that one…

    #1212
    Hop-n-Hazy
    Participant

    so you want even higher pass thresholds for all of the exams because it is possible someone cheated? Got it.

    Early exams notes would be invaluable, upper level exams not as much from a purely see notes get answer perspective.

    The exams aren’t correlated with how well someone actually does their job in the real world anyway, it is just a barrier to entry and a pay grade differential at this point.

    #1215
    Olmstead
    Participant

    If someone from another company asks you what WA son the exam why would you tell them? If they bribe you?

    Any who I think the solution is to just grade the exams on a curve so only the top 40th percentile pass. Then if for whatever reason you help someone else cheat you’re just screwing yourself over

    #1217
    Bananas88
    Participant

    Just so I understand what you’re saying correctly, do you mean that it wouldn’t be significantly beneficial for a candidate to have notes on the RBC formula for exam 6, the ODP bootstrapping process for 7, or the formula for the Meyers-Reid method of capital allocation for exam 9, stashed on a formula sheet in another room?

    The sitting I passed exam 7, I lost points on a question because I got Siewert and Sahasrabudhe mixed up. That’s something that a candidate wouldn’t get mixed up if they had flashcards stashed away. That’s why I don’t think it’s fair to have some candidates take their exams at Pearson, while others take their exams at home.

    In terms of people telling coworkers what’s on the exam, I think it’ll be better in future sittings if and when they have a problem bank, since lower levels seem to do fine with avoiding significant cheating, but for now…hopefully the CAS looks has something built into the exam to give a sense of who may have cheated, or at what scores people who took the exam on the first day got, compared to those who took it on the last day, but there doesn’t seem to be anything airtight that they can do.

    That being said, I still think they should do what they can to at least try to keep testing conditions as comparable as possible for all candidates.

    #1219
    Olmstead
    Participant

    Interesting I’ve seen people asking for score for each day of testing window. To me that just opens up a can of worms which I don’t THINK CAS wants to deal with

    #1222
    Gandalf
    Participant

    No way they will have a different score for each day. How could they possibly justify it? You need more correct answers to pass because some people taking it the same day you are may have been cheating?

    #1227
    saul goodman
    Participant

    I thought no two people were taking the same test? That we were now dealing with question banks?

    For exam 5 in 2018 we had online proctors. It’s the same thing. If you cheat in the bathroom, then I guess you do. But you can do that at Pearson too. You just promise not to. You’re allowed to access all your personal belongings and the bathrooms are typically down the hall from the center itself.

    #1230
    Bananas88
    Participant

    For this sitting, the tests are the same for everyone. I think moving forward, they’ll have question banks.

    That’s true in terms of still being able to look at flashcards in a Pearson bathroom, but I do think it would be harder for candidates to do at Pearson than at home.

    Also apparently “cheating” is a politically incorrect term, so I apologize if anyone was offended by my use of the term in a prior post. Moving forward, I’ll be sure to call it “undocumented studying.” :/

    #1232
    Michael Scott
    Participant

    I don’t know how they will adjust the grading, but they’ve gotta do something. If they let the people at the end of the window get away with the cheating and grade as is, the people taking it earlier will get screwed, since I seriously doubt the CAS is going to allow 70+% passrates across all exams. You’d think they have something that detects it and fairly accounts for it, but I can’t say I’m hopeful based on how they responded in the webinar when it was brought up.

    I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact that remote testing would have been a safer option given the pandemic. However, that would only work if the CAS did that from the beginning and that’s clearly not the route they chose to go. I actually don’t remember any communication from them that confirmed they would offer a remote option this fall (correct me if I’m wrong), so it probably isn’t helpful to demand the special treatment. IIRC, there was a mythbusters email stating that they weren’t going to offer remote testing. Apart from the cheating concerns (would be far more in a remote environment as another poster pointed out), how would you suggest making it comparable to those who already took their exams?

    To the poster who suggested implementing a 40% curve, hasn’t the CAS explicitly stated the exams are not graded on a curve? But if that’s what happens, that would sure suck for folk who took the exam earlier and didn’t say anything…

    #1233
    Olmstead
    Participant

    There’s going to be losers in every scenario. If the pass ratios are 70% then so be It. It’s one sitting in a global pandemic.

    #1236
    Hop-n-Hazy
    Participant

    I think also if someone has time in a Pearson environment to leave for the bathroom, find some stashed notes, review enough to be helpful, and get back in the room and finish without time running out they were good enough to pass without looking at notes anyway.

    It is NOT a short process to leave the room for a Pearson exam, I chose not to take a bathroom break and still ran out of time on my last problem.

    Also people forget that the prior exam 5 sitting extended the testing time to 4hr 30min and to be honest I think due to testing facility restrictions they should consider it. The extra 30 min will help candidates who are “slower” but I don’t think that slow = unqualified. For others it just may offer them a bathroom break and time to review a few problems.

    #1237
    Gandalf
    Participant

    [quote]
    I don’t know how they will adjust the grading, but they’ve gotta do something. If they let the people at the end of the window get away with the cheating and grade as is, the people taking it earlier will get screwed, since I seriously doubt the CAS is going to allow 70+% passrates across all exams.
    [/quote]
    I don’t know what they will do. It wouldn’t surprise me if they look at raw score distribution by day before finalizing a pass mark. If the distribution shows an extreme pattern, it might affect the resulting pass mark. No matter how skewed, a pass mark varying by day should not be a possibility.

    #1267
    Loki
    Participant

    It’s not reasonable to assume candidates who took the exam later will have cheated. It unfairly penalizes honest candidates. Sure there’s the option to cheat for later exam takers, but the day the CAS stops relying on an honor code is a dark day. Also I’d believe there’s a significant amount of material mastery required to pass even if you do know what types of questions will be on the exam, unless you have a perfect photographic memory, which in that case you’re probably going to pass anyway.

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