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Scoring the NCIDQ Exams

All CIDQ grading processes are developed and maintained to ensure the exam is fair, valid, and reliable.

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The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practicum (PRAC) exams are scored by computer.  Scores are reported on a scale ranging from 200 (0 correct) to 800 (all correct), with the passing point anchored at 500.


As CIDQ prepares new versions of the exams, statistical equating procedures are utilized to ensure that all versions are equal in difficulty.

Results for each exam are processed within 6-8 weeks of the close of the window. Candidates who sat for the exam will receive an email notification once the score has been processed and is available to view in MyNCIDQ. CIDQ takes this time to guarantee that all scores are fair and accurate.


In collaboration with interior designer practitioners, educators, and testing professionals, CIDQ has set a passing point (or cut score) for each NCIDQ Exam. Meeting the passing standard for all three exam sections and achieving NCIDQ certification demonstrates that a candidate is competent to practice in a way that protects the health, safety and welfare of the public.  The passing point does not change based on your location, the number of candidates taking the exam, or the performance of other candidates taking the exam. 

To determine the passing point of any new version of the exam, CIDQ holds a Standard Setting Meeting. At this meeting, a diverse group of subject matter experts (SMEs), all NCIDQ certificate holders, work with CIDQ’s test developers to analyze the exam using the Angoff Method. The Angoff method instructs SMEs to examine the content of each test question and then predict how many minimally-qualified candidates would answer the item correctly. The average of the SMEs predictions for a test question becomes its predicted difficulty. The sum of the predicted difficulty values for each item averaged across the judges and items on a test is the recommended Angoff cut score.

Here are the steps of a Standard Setting Meeting using the Angoff Method:

  1. Select panel of SMEs with varying levels of experience, expertise, age, gender, etc.; ensure they are properly trained on how to use the Angoff Method and informed on the test’s purpose.

  2. SMEs take the exam and rate each question based on whether or not a minimally-qualified candidate would answer the item correctly or incorrectly.

  3. Responses are statistically analyzed and correlated so SMEs can discuss the deviations in the predicted difficulty. The analysis includes review of the consistency of the ratings of each judge as compared to other judges, the standard deviation of judgement (dispersion in judges’ ratings, and the standard errors of the judgments (average amount of judgment deviations from the ‘true’ value among the panel members.

  4. SMEs are asked to rate the items again for a second round. The second round of ratings give the SMEs the opportunity to review their initial rating of an item and decide whether or not they might like to modify their decisions based on the discussion and perception of other SMEs.

  5. A second round of ratings is then averaged across the SMEs to determine a final passing point recommendation for the exam.


In the end, the Angoff Method ensures that the passing point of an exam is determined empirically, is legally defensible and meets the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. The final passing point for the exam is formally approved by the CIDQ Board of Directors.


Candidates will typically receive a preliminary pass/did not pass decision via email to the email address in their MyNCIDQ account within an hour after taking the IDFX and IDPX. Preliminary results for the PRAC exam are not currently available. 

IDFX, IDPX, and PRAC Exam candidates will receive an official score via email approximately 6 weeks following the end of the exam administration (six weeks from April 30th or October 31st).


All candidates who sat for the NCIDQ Exam will receive a score report with their score, exam date, and a breakdown of performance by knowledge area. It is recommended that candidates who did not receive a passing score on the exam focus their future preparation efforts on the knowledge areas in which they were the weakest.

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