October 7, 2015

The Professional In Human Resources Certification Exam

The computer based Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam is given during two test periods each year, in spring and winter. Candidates for the PHR certification exam are urged to complete application at the earliest opportunity, since eligibility must be confirmed before scheduling can be accomplished. The test is given at Prometric test centers both regionally and internationally; seating is limited. When capacity is reached, test applicants who have not been scheduled must choose another location or another testing date.

Before completing the online application, be sure to have all necessary information available. In addition to providing their legal name, email and mailing addresses and responding to demographic questions, applicants will need to complete the Qualifying Human Resources Work Experience portion of the application; the job positions listed by a candidate must coordinate with approved position codes or be submitted as ‘other’, which requires the inclusion of a Supporting Documentation form supplying evidence that more than half the daily tasks were human resource related, and that the position was considered to be at the professional level. Candidates will also be asked to complete a statement regarding felony convictions.

Testing costs for applications completed and received by the deadline are $495. SHRM members receive a $50 discount. This fee includes a $100 nonrefundable application fee.

Candidates who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act must submit a Special Testing Accommodation Request form with the application. This form requires a licensed or credentialed professional affirm your diagnosis together with prior accommodations that have been put into place. Special accommodations are made available only to candidates testing within the U.S., its territories or Canada.

In the event a candidate discovers the exam must be rescheduled, it is strongly suggested to do so at the earliest possible opportunity since alternate test times are limited. Should no alternative scheduled times be available, the candidate is offered the option of withdrawing and receiving a refund of 50%. Rescheduled dates must fall within the same exam period, and requests for rescheduling must be received no later than noon three business days prior to the scheduled test. Failure to reschedule within that time frame and subsequent failure to arrive at the scheduled time and complete the test means no portion of the fee will be returned. The fee for rescheduling is $150.

Candidates who must cancel a scheduled exam may do so by noon three business days prior to the exam. Have your examination number ready; it will be required to complete the cancellation request.

The Development Of Human Resources Certification Institute Exams

In order to create high quality certification examinations that accurately assess the skills and knowledge of each testing candidate, the Human Resources Certification Institute puts considerable thought and effort into the development of exam questions. The Institute follows a step- by- step process, and remains continually aware of procedures and approaches considered to be both valid and efficient by experts in the field of certification.

  • The first step is basing new questions upon the currently accepted Human Resource body of knowledge that is found in the exam content; this includes theoretical positions, applications, and procedures. Content for the questions might be drawn from job descriptions, articles published in professional journals, interviews, and professional surveys to determine applicability. As part of this first step, questions are reviewed and corroborated by professionals.
  • After certain content is selected, a panel of writers creates clearly worded multiple choice questions. Following this second step, questions are sent to another panel of reviewers.
  • In the third step, members of the panel fine tune each question to ensure they accurately reflect the information contained, and that the questions are correctly coded.
  • The fourth step involves testing questions with candidates to gather enough statistical evidence that the questions are reliable reflections of essential knowledge.
  • In the fifth step, a third group, the forms- review panel, create exam forms with 225 total questions for both the Professional in Human Resources and Senior Professional in Human Resources certification exams. There are multiple versions of each examination that pull questions from a rotating pool of possibilities to ensure that each candidate receives a unique version of the test.
  • In the sixth step, panelists decide upon a passing overall score for the test.
  • The seventh step fine tunes the value of each question by pre- equating them.

The Human Resource Certification Institute composes all of its exams solely from multiple choice questions. This format permits the tests to address a very broad range of topics addressing skills, knowledge and capability. A multiple choice format is also highly flexible; questions can be replaced as they become less relevant, or rewritten to clarify their purposes. Another benefit of structuring the certifying exams in this manner is that they can be scored by a computer, thus avoiding the possibility of human error or bias. Multiple choice questions can be formulated at a basic level of understanding, an intermediate level or a high level, as well; thus one question can be written to test for multiple things.

Multiple choice questions are composed of a premise, distracters, or incorrect answers, and the right answer. The premise is the portion of the question that poses an issue or problem. Some premise types are designed as incomplete statements, in which the four options potentially complete the statement. Others are designed as statements that are phrased as questions, for example, “Which type of assessment most efficiently evaluates team leadership qualities?” Premises may focus on an association; identification of error; sequencing; purpose; definition; similarity or cause and effect.

The Human Resource Certification Institute exams offer four possible responses for each test question. Three of these are distracters. These are designed to appear to be potentially correct, either in their phrasing or in that they contain some but not all of the correct information. The purpose of the exam is to closely evaluate how much true knowledge a candidate possesses; for this reason, the correct answer will not be obvious.

The correct answer is the one which most completely answers the question. There may be elements of the correct response in other choices, but only the correct answer contains the fullest response.

Some PHR and SPHR questions are couched as scenarios that candidates must interpret by applying knowledge from a variety of areas into an integrated whole. The SPHR certifying exam has a greater number of scenario questions than does the PHR exam.

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