How is the CFRE examination scored?

CFRE International is committed to offering a written examination that is comprehensive, that tests current fundraising practice, and that is valid and reliable. To that end, CFRE International continuously reviews and revises the CFRE examination. New forms of the exam are released approximately every eighteen (18) months.

There are several series of reviews, checks and balances to be sure candidates are given the best and fairest examination possible. Several groups of current CFREs around the world volunteer their time to work with CFRE International’s professional testing agency, Pearson VUE, to assure a fair and credible examination.

CFRE International works with Pearson VUE to monitor the performance of each individual test question. Despite all the checks and reviews, there are occasions when an individual test question performs differently in an actual testing situation than expected. If it appears that the question was misleading or had more than one correct answer, CFRE International may opt to allow more than one answer to be accepted as correct, or might score the question correct for everyone. This way, no candidate is unfairly penalized for a flaw in test construction.

CFRE International reports its scores as a scaled scoreScaled scores for the CFRE exam range between 200 and 800, with 500 being the passing point. A score of 800 represents a perfect score. The candidate’s “raw score”, or actual number of questions answered correctly, is converted to the scaled score. This statistical procedure provides a common scale for reviewing and reporting results.

All candidates receive a score report that shows them the overall scaled score required to successfully pass the exam (500). The score report also provides the candidate with a breakdown by content area of their exam performance.

Candidates receiving a scaled score of 500 or greater will have successfully met the minimum for passing the examination. Those with a scaled score of 499 or less will not have met the minimum standard for passing the examination.

CFRE International uses a “criterion-referenced” exam model. As such, they may be different from “norm-referenced” exams that are typical of other exams you may have taken.

“Norm-referenced” exams are those that are graded “on a curve.” This means the candidate’s performance is evaluated in relationship to others taking the examination. This is not the case with the CFRE examination. CFRE International does not pre-determine the number of candidates they wish to have pass the exam.

The passing point for the examination, a scaled score of 500, has been set in advance using a panel of CFREs from around the globe. CFRE International’s Exam Committee works with these panels and professional testing agency staff to apply the Modified Angoff Method for establishing the passing point. This is the most commonly used method for certification exams.

The passing point for the exam will not change from exam administration to administration. It will not change from exam to exam. Your score will not be dependent on any one else with whom you are testing.

When will I get my examination results?

After you take the CFRE examination, you will receive test results at the testing centre.

CFRE International does not receive score reports before candidates receive them. CFRE International policy prohibits the release of candidate results over the phone. If more than five (5) weeks have passed since you took your examination and you have not received your results, please contact CFRE International so that a duplicate score report can be sent to you.

Upon receiving a copy of your scores, CFRE International will mail you your final certification determination. If you have been successful on the exam, you will receive your official certification letter and a certificate that is suitable for framing. If you were not successful, you will receive further instruction as to your options for proceeding.