CFA® Scores: Precision or Derision?

Do precise CFA® scores matter? This seemingly simple question is soon coming to the fore front of bean counting brains near you.

In a move that may have implications for the thousands of finance professionals qualifying for CFA® qualifications in the UK, a candidate is to pursue legal action the organization under the UK Data Protection Act for failing to disclose exam results in detail. CFA® exam results are provided in a summarized form that does not reveal the actual marks.

Keeping in mind that the CFA® is a U.S. based organization, this legal plea may be a case of much ado about nothing. It is worth mentioning, however, that the CFA®  does have some murky reporting standards and that it is pretty tough to make the case that paying several thousands of dollars for a certification exam does not grant takers the right to know what score they earned.

Throwing all conspiracy theories aside, it still seems more than a bit odd that the CFA® would keep actual scores so tightly under wraps. There is certainly a huge benefit to knowing exactly how you scored on such an important exam for a multitude of reasons. Not the least of which is validation that you shoud or should not go ahead with a pursuit of the designation. Being 1 vs. 24 points short of passing does indeed make a big difference in terms of this decision.

The CFA®'s current by the margins score reporting format does not give candidates a clear picture of how well they did all it does is place them generally relative to the scores of fellow competitors, which is neither here nor there.
With 145,000 candidates signing up for the June exam this year, the CFA® exam continues to grow as one of the financial industries most silently potent cash cows.

Thousands of candidates over the years have begun pursuit of the designation without completing it. Considering the sizable capital outlay required to simply begin your candidacy, I really cannot understand the logic in not giving test takers access to scores.
What do you guys think? I know that many of you are taking or have taken the CFA® , what did you think of the scoring system and how did it affect your preparation going forward?

I have never taken the test, but I have had about a dozen friends who have. The ones who pass on the first try generally don't care. Those who flunked their first attempt, however, were very eager to know exactly how they scored. This includes people whose first failure was on Level 2 and Level 3.

I am really, really curious as to why the CFA® institute does this. Is it a possible marketing ploy? Are they attempting to protect the implicit prestige of their product or is there a reasonable reason that I am not seeing? Do you think a UK legal change can inspire as US based organization to change its policy?

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