The examiners take special measures to identify flawed questions before scoring takes place. They look for ambiguity, gender or ethnic bias, technical accuracy, and unusual statistics. The PE Exam is not graded ‘on a curve’ and so there is no set percentage of candidates who pass each time. But there are procedures in place to keep the bi-annual exam as fair as it can be.
All of the multiple-choice answer sheets with the pencil bubbles are machine-graded. A random sample of problems is selected for special individual scrutiny as a quality control measure. Then, a carefully appointed group of licensed subject-matter experts determines the passing score. Each of the five afternoon exams is reviewed separately. This means that the level of difficulty can vary between the afternoon exams. The passing score for the morning exam can vary from Spring to Fall etc.
Some problems are repeated as “markers” so that one set of exams can be compared to another. Success rates of individual problems reveal anomalies and help the experts to set realistic passing scores.
So when you’re anxiously waiting for your exam results and wondering why a multiple choice exam is taking so long to grade and if you indeed did pass the PE exam, remember that experts are pouring over the results to make sure that they are as fair as they can be.