ATP Words of the Issue

by Laura Hemmer, FCAS

Hopefully everyone has seen the CAS’ Admissions Transformation Plan (ATP) that details the CAS’ plans for the future of Admissions. If not, please visit The ATP has a wealth of details and milestones on what changes you can expect in the next few years as Admissions evolves. But there’s also a lot of words in there that have specific meanings to the CAS. In our ongoing series, we will be highlighting a word or two each issue to make sure Future Fellows readers are as informed as possible about what the ATP really means.

Content outline — Rather than a syllabus, each exam will eventually have its own content outline. Also referred to as the exam blueprint, it is built from the Job Task Analysis and, rather than learning objectives, it identifies the domains, tasks and knowledge and skills on which the candidate could be tested. Just as the CAS syllabus does today, it also includes the weight that each topic will be covered.

Items — This term indicates that not all exam questions are stated as questions. Every item on a professional certification exam tests knowledge that is essential for the competent actuarial practice of the minimally qualified candidate.

Minimally qualified candidate (MQC) — Performance-level descriptor that distinguishes between test takers who are minimally proficient in the identified qualifications from those who are less than proficient. This description is foundational to designing the content outline, writing items and determining the passing score.