Licensing exams differ from most other exams. After each administration, every NCEES exam undergoes extensive statistical analysis to determine the minimum level of performance required for entry into the profession. This rigorous process helps ensure an equitable licensure system for candidates while upholding the standards of the profession. The steps are as follows:
- NCEES scans all answer sheets as they are received from the states. Answer sheets are flagged for review when they are missing critical information, such as the depth module that the examinees selected or candidate ID numbers. The scoring process continues only when these issues are resolved.
- A psychometric analysis is performed on a sample of answer sheets from each multiple-choice exam to identify any questions with unusual statistics. These questions are flagged for review.
- At least two subject-matter experts, who are licensed engineers or surveyors, review the flagged items. In addition, NCEES reviews all examinee comment forms, and the subject-matter experts consider comments on the forms about specific exam questions. If the reviews confirm an error in a question, credit may be given for more than one answer.
- When the analyses and reviews are completed, NCEES changes the answer keys as necessary. The passing score and final correct answers for each exam are then used to score all the answer sheets. Scanners are calibrated before and during scoring. A percentage of the answer sheets are manually verified, and the results are compared to the machine score to ensure accuracy.
- NCEES releases the results to the licensing boards and testing agencies, who in turn report the results to examinees.