A critical aspect of the FPH final membership examination is reliability. This is enabled by having a small group of well-trained examiners who mark objectively by referring to clear marking guidance for each scenario.
Marking examiners are expected to grade candidate performance on the basis of a good, average or poor performance as laid out in the marking guidance using grades A, B, C, D and E. The narrative words ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ are excluded from the marking criteria to support this approach.
The weighting system and the method used to score the examination performances is designed to address any systematic effects of a difficult or easy question, rather than weightings of any specific competency over any other.
The objectivity of marking against criteria is helped if examiners do not know of these weightings i.e. they do not know what effect each mark they give for each competency will have on the overall outcome.
Objectivity and equal treatment on merit of each mark would be impossible if weightings were published, as would individual examiners making judgements about overall pass/fail thresholds rather than performance against specific competencies.
Educationalist advice has also been to keep weightings and other details of the results process confidential. For these reasons, the weighting/conversion process is known only to a small group of people (the Chair and Deputy Chair of the examination, the Academic Registrar, the Director of Education, Standards and Advocacy and the External Educational Examiner Advisor at the FPH). It is used at all examination sittings and is regularly reviewed.