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CPACC exam

Published on April 28, 2019 in Education category

IAAP logo alongside the CPACC certification title

Discussed a bit in my Introduction to accessibility world, CPACC is a basic certificate which certifies that you are familiar with general accessibility terms, problems and processes. It’s a first step towards the CPWA certificate which requires you to have both CPACC and WAS certificates.

For an official overview see IAAP - CPACC Overview.

Why?

Certificates sometimes tend to be quite polarized - either it’s great that you have one, or it’s a waste of time and money better to be used somewhere else. Karl Groves also wrote a piece on certification as a tool to “weed out” the imposters and why it’s better to grow and educate, than “weed out”.

For me it was quite simple - as a relative newcomer to accessibility and usability I’m looking for ways to enhance my knowledge about the subject, know what is the bar for calling myself a web accessibility professional (at least defined by the leading accessibility non-profit), and signal future clients what my focus is.

Preparation

What I’ve seen, generally it’s recommended to go through the Book Of Knowledge (last updated in June 2017) and Deque CPACC course and you should be good to go. IAAP lists other CPACC resources and providers as well.

Deque course goes for $45.00 for CPACC, $150.00 for WAS, or $170.00 for both. It’s free for people with disabilities. Note: you still need to pay for the exam itself, which is $425.00 (or $150.00 if you are in a developing country).

I found out that recommendation is quite spot-on, although I would say that Deque course is much better than the BOK (Book Of Knowledge) which seems a bit copy-pastish with bad formatting all over the place. Maybe the better version would be in Markdown and published online which could be then converted to PDF, Word, printed, etc.

Coming from the developer background, at first I expected it to be much more technical but soon realized that is reserved for the WAS exam instead. CPACC is mostly about theory around accessibility, all the disabilities, laws, processes, etc.

I went through the Deque course in a few days with an additional day or two for the book of knowledge. Overall, I would say it took a week to go through everything, including the quizzes at the end of each chapter on Deque which were quite helpful!

Exam itself

It’s 100 multiple-choice questions with four (4) possible responses for two (2) hours. There is plenty of time to review the answers as you can even mark individual ones to be reviewed later, which was helpful. I would say it took me around 1h 20min to get it all solved with 40min to review it.

It was proctored on 17th of April, 2019 by the local Kryterion Test Center with modern facilities professional staff. Fun fact: I wasn’t expecting the physical check of the sleeves, but I’m glad they did that as well.

Results

The not-so-great things about the exam are that you:

  • do not get the results immediately, but only 4-6 weeks after the exam period closes
  • cannot see what is your score in terms of correct questions - there is only passed/failed score update: you receive an overall score, alongside the passing score
  • cannot see what you answered correctly and where you made mistakes

The reasoning for those is given by Samantha Evans, Certification Manager at IAAP:

As part of a certification development program, there is an established point for pass/fail, above pass and below fail, this is known as a cut-score. This is the number of points that is required to pass. We do not publish the cut-score, this is not unusual for certification programs. We utilize a modified Angoff Method to determine the cut score in the exam development process. This is determined by a group of subject matter experts assessing each question with the following question, what is the percent chance that a candidate with the minimum skills indicated be able to successfully answer the question. After a pilot exam is delivered for the first time, a passing score study is developed and reviewed to determine if the perceived cut score was valid and that the audience performance is meeting this level of knowledge.

As I’m waiting for the results for the CPACC exam (expecting to arrive in late May), I’m preparing for the WAS exam, expecting to become fully CPWA certified later this year.

UPDATE: May 20, 2019 - Great news! Today I’ve been informed that I successfully passed the IAAP – Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competency (CPACC) examination.

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Sven Kapuđija
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