CKE Exam FAQ
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Both are similar in that both are tests of academic knowledge. The CKE 1 tests the knowledge which is required to demonstrate or acquire the competencies described in the CHRP column of the HRPA Human Resources Professionals Competency Profile. The CKE 2 tests the knowledge which is required to demonstrate or acquire the competencies described in the CHRL column of the HRPA Human Resources Professionals Competency Profile.
Competence is another matter, but an adequate knowledge foundation is necessary to develop the competence. For many exam-writers, the exam will come after completion of the coursework but before any significant work experience. The purpose of early career experiences is to transform knowledge into competence.
The HRPA Competency Profile can be downloaded from the exam central section of the HRPA website.
Both the CKE 1 and CKE 2 are comprised of four-option multiple-choice questions.
The CKE 1 comprises 150 questions whereas the CKE 2 comprises 225 questions. The reason why the CKE 2 is longer is not to make the exam more difficult, it is because the CKE 2 will include minimum scores on each of the functional areas and this requires more questions to do with sufficient accuracy. Also, each exam will contain 25 test questions. These questions are not scored and are scattered at random throughout the exams. Including the test questions, the CKE 1 is 175 questions long and the CKE 2 is 250 questions long.
The time allotment for each exam is set to give exam-writers plenty of time to complete the exam. Including the test questions, this adds up to 3 ½ hrs. for the CKE 1 and 5 hrs for the CKE 2.
The CKE 1 is administered in a single session of 3.5 hours. The CKE 2 is administered in one session of 5 hours
All exams are now delivered via computer based testing.
Using the HRPA Human Resources Competency Framework as a starting point, and using HRPA's style guidelines, HR course instructors and faculty were asked to write questions that would be appropriate for either at a diploma level or ay a degree level. But this is just the start.
The questions were reviewed for adherence to HRPA's style guidelines. Then the questions were reviewed by a psychometrician for technical correctness.
The questions were then reviewed by a copy editor for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This copy editor had no knowledge of which option was the correct answer. There would be no difference in the quality of correct and incorrect response options.
The next step was for all questions to be reviewed by Subject Matter Expert (SME) panels. These panels are comprised of experienced HR professionals. These panels confirmed that there was indeed one and only one correct answer. Questions for which there were issues were set aside.
Also at this time, 'enemy questions' were identified. Enemy questions are questions that are perfectly good questions on their own but that have some kind of connection with another question such that seeing one question provides clues that help answer the other question. Questions that are very close to each other in terms of content are also flagged as enemy questions.
The next step is final exam assembly. Based on the number of questions as set out in the test blueprint, questions were selected to provide good coverage of the functional domains.
For each question, the position of the correct response was set using a random number generator.
The order in which the questions appear on the test form was set using a random selection process. This includes the 25 'test questions'—these are scattered at random throughout the test. 'Galley proofs' of the tests were produced. The copy editor was pressed into service one more time to ensure that no 'gremlins' had crept into the questions somewhere along the way.
The tests were then printed in the required quantities.
An 'application' question is one where knowledge is 'applied' to a specific example. A good example of this kind of question is given below:
Company ABC 's strategy is to quickly expand into new markets and stimulate new opportunities. New product development is vigorously pursued and offensive marketing warfare strategies are used as a way of obtaining additional market share. Company ABC responds quickly to any signs of market opportunity, and does so with little research or analysis. This is an example of what king of business strategy?
- A prospector strategy
- A defender strategy
- An analyser strategy
- A reactor strategy
The idea is that it is not enough to know what a prospector strategy is, but to be able to 'apply' the concept to a given situation.
In any certification test, it is important that all questions perform as they should. Despite all the steps involved in developing an exam question, a certain proportion of questions will turn out not to perform as they should. The purpose of test questions is to verify that the questions are good before they are included as 'live' questions.
Yes, it would make sense for all administered questions to be scored if all candidates were administered the same set of test questions—but this is not necessarily the case. It is not necessary that test questions be administered to all candidates to get a read on the performance of a question. It is possible to have multiple forms of an exam which are identical in all respects except for the test questions. For this reason, the test questions cannot be included in the scoring of the exam.
The exams will be administered three times a year.
HRPA has contracted with Prometric - a computer based exam vendor who will administer the exam at testing centres across Ontario, Canada and globally.
No they are not held on the same day, and are admistered during separate 2 week long testing windows.
HRPA acts in compliance with legislation to accommodate exam applicants with disabilities who need special arrangements to sit for the exam. Auxiliary aids and services will be provided except where these may fundamentally alter the exam or result in an undue burden. Accommodation requests must be made at the time of registration. HRPA needs to receive documentation from the applicant's treating physician to support the need for special accommodation. The nature of the disability, identification of the tests and protocols used to confirm the diagnosis, a description of past accommodation (if available) made for the disability and specific testing accommodations must be included. If you require special accommodation during the writing of your exam due to a physical or learning disability, please notify HRPA as soon as possible. HRPA must coordinate special accommodation requests with the exam vendor and therefore requires an adequate amount of time to process these requests. Click here for more information on
HRPA's Accommodation Policy (PDF).
Developing questions for a certification exam is a multi-step process. The questions are initially written by course instructors. CKE 1 questions are initially written by instructors who teach relevant diploma-level courses; CKE 2 questions are initially written by instructors who teach relevant degree-level courses. The questions are then given a technical review by a psychometrician and then by a copy editor. The questions are then reviewed by a panel of HR professionals. Finally, after the administration of the exam, the questions are reviewed from a psychometric performance perspective. Sometimes, questions are discarded or alterations are made to the scoring key.
The next step is to set the cut-score for the exams. The cut-score is set in one of two ways. On a new exam the cut-score is established by a process called a standard-setting process. This standard- setting process is based on the judgment of subject matter experts. The cut-score on the CKE 1 is referenced to the ability to perform at the level expected of a CHRP; the cut-score on the CKE 2 is referenced to the ability to perform at the level expected of a CHRL. Once a cut-score has been established on a base form, the cut-score on subsequent forms of the exam is set by a process called equating.
On the CKE 1 there is one cut-score for the total score. This is called compensatory scoring because a low score in one functional area can be compensated for by a high score on another.
On the CKE 2 there is a combination of compensatory and non-compensatory scoring. Candidates must score at or above the cut-score established for the total score. In addition, candidates must score above a threshold on each of the functional areas. Candidates must have a total-score above the cut-score and each of the functional scores must be above their respective thresholds.
There is nothing on either exam that would not have been covered in the required coursework. You should approach the CKE 1 or CKE 2 as you would have approached the CKE. Finance and accounting was one of the required courses, but was never included on the exam. Now, the topics covered in the Finance and accounting course will be covered in the exam in the Human Resources metrics, reporting, and financial management functional area. Similarly, many of the topics now found in the Strategy functional area are covered in courses such as Human Resources Planning. In time, as some of the more forward looking aspects of the HRPA Human Resources Professionals Competency Profile become embedded in the required HR curriculum, these topics will be introduced into the exam. The HRPA competency profile can be downloaded from the exam central section of the HRPA website.
The exams are designed to assess whether a candidate possesses the requisite level of knowledge to perform competently at different levels of practice in HR. The exams are not designed to be easy or difficult but to reflect the minimum level of knowledge needed to perform competently at the relevant level of practice in HR.
As criterion-referenced tests, the cut-scores on the CKE 1 and CKE 2 are set using what is known as a standard-setting process. Once a cut-score has been established using a standard-setting process, cut-scores on subsequent forms of the same exam can be set by a process called test equating. .
Both will be described below.
The specific standard-setting process used for the CKE 1 and CKE 2 is known as a "modified Angoff approach." The modified Angoff methodology is the most widespread and the most widely accepted methodology for setting cut-scores for credentialing exams.
An Angoff panel is a method which makes use of the combined judgment of panel members to establish the probability that a candidate at the threshold of competence would be able to answer the question correctly. The Item Performance index (IPI) for a given item refers to the average probability of answering the item correctly as averaged across panel. Summing the Angoff indices for all the questions included in the scoring of the test gives the cut-score for the whole test.
Because the cut-score for the test is derived by adding the probabilities for each question, the cut- score will vary depending on the particular set of items that make up the test. Each version of the CKE will have its own cut-score. An exam that is made up of somewhat more difficult questions will have a somewhat lower cut-score; an exam that is made up of somewhat easier questions will have a somewhat higher cut-score.
Each member of the Angoff Panel was provided a printed copy of the exam booklet, as well as the scale to be used for item ratings. In booklet sections, the group members then individually reviewed each item to determine the item performance index (IPI). Discussion then followed for each item to determine the average level of difficulty determined by the Panel. This figure was recorded as the IPI for that item.
Completely separate panels will be used for the CKE 1 and CKE 2.
Angoff panels can be conducted either before or after the administration of the exam. One advantage of conducting Angoff panels after the administration of the exam is that exam data can be useful in helping panel members at arriving at better item performance indices. The cut-score is actually determined after the exam is written.
The CKE 1 uses compensatory scoring approach whereas the CKE 2 uses a non-compensatory scoring approach. 'Compensatory' scoring is when a high score on one sub-test can compensate for a low score on another sub-test. When a cut-score is set on a sum of sub-test scores, scoring is compensatory. On a test made up of seven or eight sub-tests, it would be possible for a candidate to have a very low score on one or more sub-tests and yet pass the exam as a whole. With non- compensatory scoring, candidates would be expected to achieve a given score on each sub-test to pass the exam.
Non-compensatory scoring makes sense intuitively; especially given that the profession has a 'generalist' perspective. It does not seem right that some candidates with narrow or uneven knowledge of the field could pass the exam simply because of the compensatory nature of the scoring. It is also possible to combine compensatory and non-compensatory scoring approaches. For instance, we could have a cut-score on the overall score and minimum scores for each of the sub- tests. This was the approach taken for the CKE 2.
For the CKE 2, in addition to the overall cut-score a cut-score is set for each sub-test. However, the cut-scores on the individual subtests are set such that the probability is less than 1 in 20 that someone with such a low score has a true score above the cut-score.
An individual must have an overall score that is equal to or above the overall cut-score and a score that is equal or above the cut-score for each of the nine functional areas. It is possible to get a score at or above the cut-score on each of the functional areas and yet still not meet the overall cut score. It is also possible to get an overall score at or above the overall cut-score and still fail the exam because one has failed to meet the cut-score on one or more of the sub-tests.
In subsequent forms of the CKE 1 and CKE 2, the cut-scores will be established by equating. In equating, a common set of questions are used. These are known as the bridge items. Using the bridge items, it is possible to calculate what the cut-scores should be on the newer form.
Eventually, the coursework requirements for the CHRP and the CHRL will be different—the CHRP will require diploma-level coursework and the CHRL will require degree-level coursework. But that has not happened yet. HRPA is working to introduce these separate coursework requirements. Once these separate coursework requirements are introduced, there will be a transition period after which it will be required to have completed the coursework appropriate to the level of designation. Until then, candidates who meet the current coursework requirement can chose to write either the CKE 1 or CKE 2.
You must be an active member or registrant in good standing that has been approved for the register and have met the coursework requirement to register for the exams. Only those candidates that have been deemed eligible will be permitted to register for the exam. To confirm your eligibility you must submit your official transcript to HRPA for evaluation.
It really depends on which designation you are going for. If you intend on getting the CHRP, you should write the CKE 1. If you intend on getting the CHRL, you should write the CKE 2. If you do not have a degree and don't intend to get a degree, you should write the CKE 1.
No, the CKE 1 is not a pre-requisite nor is it required to write CKE 2. The CKE 1 is only valid for the CHRP designation, however the CKE 2 is valid for both the CHRP and the CHRL designations. An applicant who successfully completes the CKE 1 will earn the CHRP. If an applicant decides later that they wish to earn the CHRL, they will need to have successfully completed CKE 2 exam at that time.
Whereas the CKE was directly comparable to the NKE, it is more difficult to establish a direct comparison between the NKE and either the CKE 1 or CKE 2. The NKE uses a similar but different competency model.
No. The other provinces use the NKE, and Quebec also has its own knowledge test which it uses only for candidates which did not graduate from recognized programs in HR.
As of 2017 CKE 1 and CKE 2 exams are being delivered on a computer via computer based testing.
The CKE 1 and CKE 2 are designed to test knowledge that would be covered in the required courses. These courses are offered in Ontario colleges and universities. The list of approved courses is posted on the HRPA website.
No. The table below gives the relative weights and the number of questions for each functional area for each exam.
# of Questions
# of Questions
|Strategy||4%||6||10%||22 - 23|
|Organizational effectiveness||12%||18||14%||31 - 32|
|Workforce planning and talent management||12%||18||14%||31 - 32|
|Labour and employee relations||12%||18||10%||22 - 23|
|Total rewards||12%||18||10%||22 - 23|
Learning and development||12%||18||10%||22 - 23|
|Health, wellness, and safe workplace||12%||18||8%||18|
|Human Resources metrics, reporting, and financial management||12%||18||12%||27|
|Test items (not scored)||||25||||25|
The exam fee for the CKE 1 is $290. + HST. The exam fee for the CKE 2 is $340. + HST.
There is no limit on the number of times one can write the exams per se. However, the qualifying coursework cannot be older than 10 years.
The validity period for exam results has been set at 10 years.
HPRA has online exam prep programs for the CKE 1 and CKE 2 exams.