5.11 Standard Setting, Cut Score Determination and Equating


Following each job practice analysis, the ABO and Authentic Testing collaborate to determine a cut score through a process approved by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).


  1. Following a new job practice analysis, the ABO Board selects a panel of at least five Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for participation in a standard setting study. Demographics, experience in optometry and other defining characteristics are taken into consideration during this selection process.
  2. With the aid of Authentic Testing, and using an NCCA-approved psychometric method,  the panel begins to determine cut scores. The SMEs determine the standard of minimal competence for Board Certification through discussion of the minimum level of knowledge a candidate should have in categories of basic knowledge, fundamental understanding, working knowledge and more. The SMEs then rate the items, resulting in a recommended cut score.
  3. The ABO Board convenes a final standard setting meeting to review the panel recommended cut scores, as well as other statistically valid cut scores, and makes the final decision in accordance with Authentic Testing.
  4. Authentic Testing conducts an equating process for each board certification exam utilizing past exams.
  5. Authentic Testing develops a cut score report, reliability report, equating report and standard setting report for the ABO to keep in its records.