The CII has less influence than you might imagine on the exam process. Most of the significant decisions are taken by industry practitioners.
The learning outcomes and content are put together with significant input from practitioners and employers. The exam also has to meet the correct level of learning as determined by Ofqual. The interpretation of the learning outcomes is done through meetings between CII internal staff and practitioners with relevant experience in the subject area.
A senior examiner is selected and is supported by a deputy examiner, these are both non-CII people – they are generally experienced and
respected people running their own IFA businesses or working elsewhere within financial services. They are supported by other assistant examiners, again all from outside the CII.
Once the questions are compiled, they are then run through an editing committee and once the complete paper has been compiled, it is sent to an assistant examiner to sit under exam conditions. Their feedback is used to determine whether it remains suitable as it is or whether any additional changes need to be made.
Finally, the paper is ready to be issued and the senior and the deputy examiners construct a marking scheme that will be adopted by all people who will mark the paper, again these will be the assistant examiners, your peers.
When the paper is sat, the senior and the deputy will mark a random sample to check that the marking scheme works in real life. If they notice any irregularities or that a particular question has been widely interpreted in a particular way, then they have the power to alter the marking scheme.
Then all the markers come together for a day to review the marking scheme and to run through sample papers as a group. Then they must mark 10 papers and have these double checked by the senior to ensure marking is consistent. If they cannot meet the marking standard, they are not allowed to mark the papers.
Dennis Hall, chartered financial planner, Yellowtail Financial Planning