CompTIA Data Forensics

What is a valid certification exam score?

CompTIA uses proprietary, ANSI-accredited processes to develop and deliver our high-stakes certification exams. The end result of each exam is a pass / fail status, determined by a score. The score is indicative of the candidate’s ability to perform the tasks described in the certification exam objectives. Hence, a candidate who achieves a passing score is someone who achieves certification and is deemed competent (certified!) to perform the job function as described in the certification exam objectives. As long as the exam development and delivery process remain intact and secure throughout the entire process, CompTIA deems issued scores as valid. If there is a change or breach throughout any part of the process, CompTIA can deem such scores to be invalid.

Why is CompTIA concerned about test score validity?

The global IT industry and academia relies on CompTIA certification exams to determine competency for specific job roles. It is CompTIA’s desire and responsibility to ensure skills gaps are minimized and certified professionals are performing to minimum industry standards on the job. CompTIA’s goal is to ensure certification serves as a reliable predictor of an employee’s on-the-job knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Unfortunately, on occasion, candidates and employers alike have contacted CompTIA via our hotline form to report a breach of policy or security. For example:

  • Instructors (intentionally or unintentionally) provide students with unauthorized training material during a course, allowing future candidates to have pre-knowledge of exam content.
  • Candidates hire proxy testers to complete the exam on their behalf
  • Candidates admit to using unauthorized training material via online forums, etc.

These and many other scenarios can lead to issuance of scores that CompTIA deems invalid.

Why data forensics?

CompTIA has established statistical thresholds for the validity and interpretation of test scores. When these thresholds are exceeded, CompTIA deems the score invalid.

Data forensics uses non-automated, probabilistically-based statistical analyses conducted by psychometric professionals (PhD) to detect testing pattern anomalies. Psychometricians uncover threats indicated by data analysis and provide interpretation of statistical patterns.

Although these patterns can result in the invalidation of a candidate’s exam score, these patterns may also be indicative of exam pre-knowledge, security breaches, fraud, and/or broader security threats.

In order to complete any CompTIA exam, all candidates are required to agree to the Candidate Agreement which informs them of the use of Data Forensics as described above.