NEW! NCIDQ Test Scores Released Immediately After Exams
Beginning fall 2018, CIDQ will release preliminary test scores for IDFX and IDPX immediately after you finish your exam. You will receive notification by email within one hour of completing the exam. This will be sent to the email address you provide to Prometric at registration. This email will be the only way for you to view your preliminary score, which you can view or print and download as a PDF file.
There will still be an analysis done of each exam following the test administration. The same scoring process will be used and scores will be scaled accordingly; read on to learn more about this process below. While it is possible, the chances of an individual’s score changing between preliminary and final scores is low. Questions go through several pre-test rounds prior to even making it on the exam.
Also, any pretest/pilot questions are not included in either the preliminary or final/official score reports. Those questions are not graded at all. To learn more about those types of questions, see “Experimental or pretest questions (making the test better for you)” below.
Approximately six weeks after the end of testing, CIDQ will release PRAC scores and final scores. All scores will then be posted in your MyNCIDQ account.
How are the NCIDQ Exams Scored?
A member in our NCIDQ study group asked about exam scoring. I get this question every year, because the IDFX and IDPX exams are NOT scored like a typical exam.
Lisa! I have been taking these quizzes over and over again and someone I went to school with who took the IDFX already told me that 63 is passing 500/800 is this true? I have been thinking 70 was passing…
CIDQ sets a passing point using proprietary methods and adjusts this for each new version and administration of their exam.
So 500/800 is NOT equal to 63% or any set percentage correct. The scores for the NCIDQ Exam are not based on a 100 point scale or percentage correct, like tests you took in school. To be fair to all test takers, CIDQ and test administrator Prometric compare each exam to previous versions of the same exam to ensure they are comparable in difficulty.
Here’s an explanation from CIDQ:
The two multiple-choice sections (IDFX and IDPX) are scored by computer. Scores are reported on a scale ranging from 200 (0 correct) to 800 (all correct), with the passing point anchored at 500. CIDQ prepares new versions of the exam regularly and uses statistical equating procedures to ensure that all versions are equal in difficulty.
What is your scaled NCIDQ test score?
The total, or sum, of the number of points that you earn for correctly answered items is your raw score.
Your scaled score is your raw score converted into a consistent and standardized scale. The reason for using this standardized scale is to make exam scores comparable across different versions of the same exam.
For example, with the standardized scale, scores earned on the fall 2018 version of the exam can be adjusted to be equivalent to those earned on the spring 2018 version. This is important because exam questions will change with each administration (version), and the distribution of questions will change over time (approximately every 5 years), according to the Practice Analysis.
On the NCIDQ Exam, the raw passing score translates to a scaled passing score of 500. What this means is that a scaled score of 500 represents (in scaled form) the exact number of questions you’ll need to answer correctly to pass the exam.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, you don’t actually need to know what the “raw passing number” is for your exam. It’s really more beneficial to just focus on two things:
- How well you do for each content area
- Your overall scaled exam score
About passing and failing NCIDQ Exam scores
On the NCIDQ Exam, the raw passing score translates to a scaled score of 500.
Passing scaled scores fall between 500-800, depending on the total number of correctly answered items at or above the raw passing score.
Failing scaled scores fall between 200-499, depending on the total number of correctly answered items below the raw passing score. A scaled score of 200 means 0 correct, while a scaled score of 499 is just below the passing point.
So a score of 500 represents the exact number of correct answers required to pass the exam, without knowing the passing point.
Again, it’s all about the scaled scores. With each new iteration of the exam (Spring 2016 for example), a new passing point is set.
In this example above from IDPX Spring 2016, scoring higher on the content areas that are worth more (because they have more questions) can make the difference between not passing and passing.
In this next example, compare the 2 passing scores and the performance in the higher weight content areas, along with increases in lesser weight areas raises the scaled score. BUT, keep in mind the difference is immaterial, so long as both are over the passing scaled score, explained next.
So how can you use this? Focus on these content areas first, especially if you did not do well. Don’t neglect the others, just don’t spend the bulk of your study time on these.
MOST IMPORTANT: Although a score below 500 will be reported as “fail”, please don’t consider it as failure, it’s a learning experience. You only fail if you give up.
Why are passing points required?
Legally, any exam that is used for registration or licensure must have a defensible, criterion-referenced passing score. This score, which separates candidates who pass from candidates who fail, must be based on the minimum competence required to protect the public from harm.
How are passing points created?
CIDQ works with their testing consultant, Prometric, to determine this passing point, which they define as the level of an interior designer’s ability to practice independently (without supervision) in a manner that will protect the public health, safety and welfare.
A committee of subject matter experts use standard psychometric methods (more about this below) to create these passing points, and apply them to all candidates for a specific exam. There is no grading curve, and there is no target passing percentage the way there is in most U.S. educational testing.
How different forms of the NCIDQ Exam are compared: equating
Different versions of the exam are called forms.
Scores are compared for each next form of the exam using the same content outline or blueprint. The raw passing score using a group of questions from the first exam determine the passing score on the second exam.
The current exam blueprint used on the IDFX and IDPX exams went into effect this past spring, 2016. The distribution of questions is different than the first administration of IDFX & IDPX in 2013-2015, and from the previous Section 1 & 2 exams.
Equating different forms of an exam using the same group of questions is a psychometric method commonly used in the world of standardized tests. It’s used to determine whether or not a subsequent iteration (or form) is slightly easier or harder than the original exam.
If the total scores of all candidates on the equator questions (those used for the comparison) show that the second exam is slightly easier, then the raw passing score is increased. If the second exam is revealed to be slightly harder, then the raw passing score is decreased.
But since the scaled passing score is the key goal, candidates will not know (or need to know) whether the number of correct answers needed to achieve a passing scaled score of 500 was higher or lower than the number needed for a previous exam.
All future forms of the exam are scored from 200-800 based on the newly-equated passing point.
OK, what’s the TLDR (too long didn’t read) version?
The main thing to understand is that the aggregate statistics for the equator questions determine whether the raw passing score needs to be adjusted from one exam to the next. Then all raw scores are scaled accordingly.
For one of the simpler explanations of equating, read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equating
Experimental or pretest questions (making the test better for you)
The exam also includes experimental or pilot questions that CIDQ is pretesting for validity/relevance and clarity of wording, as well as how well designers score on them for both IDFX and IDPX. These questions do NOT count towards your score.
You will not know which questions are “experimental” and which are not. Remember they’re used by the people who construct these tests (psychometricians) to determine the level of difficulty of each exam and which questions are too hard or too easy to be included in future versions/forms.
How do Qpractice test scores compare to NCIDQ Exam scores?
Qpractice tests follow the same distribution of questions as the actual exam, but keep in mind that our scores are raw scores, while CIDQ uses scaled scoring.
The question pool used in Qpractice tests changes over time. Your questions will vary with each practice test, but we do not use equating to compare test takers’ scores on specific questions.
We include learning questions, but these questions are not necessarily in the same format or language as in the actual exam, which are confidential.
We can display your overall percentage score—even broken down by content area as it will be shown to you when you receive your scores on the actual exam— but always remember that this percentage score is NOT the same as the scaled score you’re aiming for with the actual test.
What practice test scores mean for you
We think it’s beneficial to see how you did overall, and how you scored in different content areas relative to one another. But remember, the scoring on our practice tests cannot be identical to that used on the NCIDQ Exam. Ours are meant as a guideline.
Knowing where you’re solid and where you need a bit more studying can make all the difference in your confidence level. We’re here to help you so don’t let confusion over scaled scores distract you from your overall path.
Just do your best to answer all questions as well as you can, and reach out to us for detailed explanations and discussion in office hours and our member study groups.