CCHRA responds to complaints about HR exam

Letter to the editor
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/27/2004


am writing on behalf of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) in response to the article and letter that appeared in the Dec. 1 issue entitled, “New CHRP exam draws complaints of unfairness.” The council’s leadership read this article with a great deal of interest, and appreciated

Canadian HR Reporter

’s attempt to be even-handed and convey both sides of this important issue. We welcome hearing all concerns on this issue and take them very seriously.

We would like to complete the story by providing a review of how the CCHRA dealt with the exam results and exam writers. Since it was the first exam of this nature, we invited feedback through our member associations. The feedback and the results indicated many writers found the exam more challenging than they had anticipated.

The analysis by our board of examiners revealed 50 per cent of the questions were handled with relative ease, while the remaining 50 per cent were difficult for different groups of writers. Overall, 15 questions (out of 150) were especially problematic for the majority of writers. For this reason, 15 points were added to each writer’s raw score. The raw scores were then converted to a per cent, with 70 per cent as the passing grade.

Fifty-two per cent of the exam writers achieved 70 per cent or more. This is not unusual for a comprehensive exam of this nature, where questions are selected from a broad spectrum of functional areas, and where students come from such a wide range of educational and experiential backgrounds. However, we do hope that this pass rate will improve over time. To encourage and recognize those writers who were nearly successful in passing the exam, the CCHRA will permit those who achieved a score of 60 per cent to 69 per cent to rewrite the exam in May 2004 at no additional charge.

Statistical analysis showed that overall the September exam was fundamentally sound, but it also showed improvements can be made in the clarity and nature of some of the questions, and this will be done before the next exam.

We are committed to certifying knowledgeable and skilled HR professionals and doing whatever is possible to assist exam writers in succeeding. We urge future exam writers to obtain more direction by consulting PARC (Professional Assessment Resource Centre), our open access, online learning centre at Those exam writers who used PARC as a resource had a significantly higher success rate than those who did not.

In addition, the CCHRA is developing a comprehensive online exam preparation course which will include diagnostic tests to reveal areas of weakness, multimedia lectures, interactive exercises, tests and quizzes. This course will be available by the end of February.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the first national exam represents an historic moment for the human resources profession. We now have a national standard that defines what constitutes an HR professional across the country. The new national CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) designation is the mark of HR excellence in Canada and is increasing the recognition of the profession’s contribution to Canadian business success.

Anne Charette
Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations

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