Casualty Actuarial Society

Exams & Admissions

Examining The Process-Part V

The Appeal Process

by Arlene F. Woodruff, FCAS

I got a five! No way-I knew the material cold! What does the analysis say? I see the problem! There were three questions where I knew the answer but I didn't get full credit. There must have been a mistake in scoring those questions. I'll appeal those three questions and maybe it will change my score to a passing grade.

"Once candidates have received an analysis of their exam, they may appeal their grade. Only candidates with valid appeals will be considered....Candidates should address specific issues that are based on their review of the analysis" (CAS 1997 Syllabus of Examinations).

The Syllabus gives a framework of what should be a valid appeal, but the wording has been vague and open to many interpretations. The Examination Committee will revise this section in the 1998 Syllabus to give candidates more guidance on what is considered to be a valid appeal.

The first type of appeal (pertaining to multiple choice and true/false questions) is an administrative check of the short-answer card. The CAS Office can verify that the card reader scanned the card correctly and that the output file contained the data that the candidate filled in on the card. The Examination Committee does not grade on the exam booklets. Even if a candidate does not keep the exam booklet, there is no way to verify that the candidate intended to fill in a certain circle. It is the candidate's responsibility to make sure that the card is filled in correctly. It is the Examination Committee's responsibility to correctly read and grade the card that the candidate submitted.

The second type of appeal (pertaining to all questions) is an incorrect answer. This can be appealed in two ways. The first scenario is where a candidate believes that the model answer is incorrect and the candidate's answer provides a better solution. The second scenario is where the model answer is correct, but the candidate has an alternative solution that is also correct. In either case, candidates must give specifics to explain why their solution is correct. With specific information, the Examination Committee can research the answer properly and reply to the candidate.

In the case of the candidate at the beginning of this article, she may be correct in appealing the three questions, but she must explain why her three answers were correct. If she were to write to the CAS Office requesting that the questions be regarded without providing more detail, it would not be considered a valid appeal.

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