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CAS Task Force Releases Report on Exam Restructuring

A CAS Task Force recently released a 44-page report regarding restructuring the examination process. The report discusses strengths and weaknesses of our current education system, educational principles that guided the restructuring effort, core competencies for future casualty actuaries, and a proposed restructuring of the examinations. The report was approved by the Board of Directors for implementation beginning in the year 2000.

The following are the major features of the restructuring proposal:

A complete description of the revised exam structure and transition rules are set forth in the report.

The Task Force included a cross-section of the membership, including one new Fellow, Canadian members, current and former admissions committee members, and Fellows representing the general membership. A liaison representative from the Society of Actuaries also participated.

The Task Force began by identifying strengths and weaknesses of the current system. The length of the exam process, international issues, and concerns about broadening actuarial education, particularly in the financial area, were of special significance.

The Task Force then developed a list of core competencies that they believe actuaries will need in order to survive and flourish in the future. Of particular significance was a broadened education in investments, asset risk, dynamic financial analysis, and other financial areas. Also identified were communication skills, decision making, business planning, and management skills.

The Task Force began discussions with the Society of Actuaries early in the process. It quickly became apparent that we had potential for joint sponsorship of at least two, and possibly as many as five, exams. In order to explore joint sponsorship of these exams, the Task Force appointed joint working groups for proposed CAS Exams 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8. The Task Force recommended joint sponsorship if, but only if,

a. both organizations want to test the same material and concepts, and
b. both organizations wish to test that material with similar intensity.
The joint working groups were able to develop new Exams 1 and 2 within these principles. With respect to exams 3, 4, and 8, the joint working groups did not recommend joint sponsorship. The difficulty with Part 3 was that the CAS wanted more emphasis on statistics than did the SOA, and the SOA wanted more emphasis on life contingencies than did the CAS. The CAS and the SOA representatives reached agreement regarding cooperative development of the educational material for the new CAS Exams 3, 4, and the investment portion of Exam 8.

The Task Force encourages you to send any comments and suggestions regarding the restructuring proposal to the CAS Office, attention of Kevin Thompson, Vice President-Admissions.

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Steven G. Lehmann, Chairperson, CAS Task Force on Education, wishes to thank the members of the Task Force. Task Force members include: Claudette Cantin; Janet Fagan; Wendy Johnson; John Kollar, Vice-Chair; Mike LaMonica; Glenn Meyers; Michael Toothman; and Cecil Bykerk, Liaison Member for SOA.