455.217 Examinations.—This section shall be read in conjunction with the appropriate practice act associated with each regulated profession under this chapter.
(1) The Division of Professions of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall provide, contract, or approve services for the development, preparation, administration, scoring, score reporting, and evaluation of all examinations. The division shall seek the advice of the appropriate board in providing such services.
(a) The department, acting in conjunction with the Division of Service Operations, the Division of Professions, and the Division of Real Estate, as appropriate, shall ensure that examinations adequately and reliably measure an applicant’s ability to practice the profession regulated by the department. After an examination developed or approved by the department has been administered, the board or department may reject any question which does not reliably measure the general areas of competency specified in the rules of the board or department, when there is no board. The department shall use qualified outside testing vendors for the development, preparation, and evaluation of examinations, when such services are economically and viably available and approved by the department.
(b) For each examination developed by the department or contracted vendor, to the extent not otherwise specified by statute, the board or the department when there is no board, shall by rule specify the general areas of competency to be covered by the examination, the relative weight to be assigned in grading each area tested, the score necessary to achieve a passing grade, and the fees, where applicable, to cover the actual cost for any purchase, development, and administration of the required examination. However, statutory fee caps in each practice act shall apply. This subsection does not apply to national examinations approved and administered pursuant to paragraph (d).
(c) If a practical examination is deemed to be necessary, rules shall specify the criteria by which examiners are to be selected, the grading criteria to be used by the examiner, the relative weight to be assigned in grading each criterion, and the score necessary to achieve a passing grade. When a mandatory standardization exercise for a practical examination is required by law, the board may conduct such exercise. Therefore, board members may serve as examiners at a practical examination with the consent of the board.
(d) A board, or the department when there is no board, may approve by rule the use of any national examination which the department has certified as meeting requirements of national examinations and generally accepted testing standards pursuant to department rules. Providers of examinations, which may be either profit or nonprofit entities, seeking certification by the department shall pay the actual costs incurred by the department in making a determination regarding the certification. The department shall use any national examination which is available, certified by the department, and approved by the board. The name and number of a candidate may be provided to a national contractor for the limited purpose of preparing the grade tape and information to be returned to the board or department or, to the extent otherwise specified by rule, the candidate may apply directly to the vendor of the national examination. The department may delegate to the board the duty to provide and administer the examination. Any national examination approved by a board, or the department when there is no board, prior to October 1, 1997, is deemed certified under this paragraph. Any licensing or certification examination that is not developed or administered by the department in-house or provided as a national examination shall be competitively bid.
(e) The department shall adopt rules regarding the security and monitoring of examinations. In order to maintain the security of examinations, the department may employ the procedures set forth in s. 455.228 to seek fines and injunctive relief against an examinee who violates the provisions of s. 455.2175 or the rules adopted pursuant to this paragraph. The department, or any agent thereof, may, for the purposes of investigation, confiscate any written, photographic, or recording material or device in the possession of the examinee at the examination site which the department deems necessary to enforce such provisions or rules.
(f) If the professional board with jurisdiction over an examination concurs, the department may, for a fee, share with any other state’s licensing authority an examination developed by or for the department unless prohibited by a contract entered into by the department for development or purchase of the examination. The department, with the concurrence of the appropriate board, shall establish guidelines that ensure security of a shared exam and shall require that any other state’s licensing authority comply with those guidelines. Those guidelines shall be approved by the appropriate professional board. All fees paid by the user shall be applied to the department’s examination and development program for professions regulated by this chapter. All fees paid by the user for professions not regulated by this chapter shall be applied to offset the fees for the development and administration of that profession’s examination. If both a written and a practical examination are given, an applicant shall be required to retake only the portion of the examination for which he or she failed to achieve a passing grade, if he or she successfully passes that portion within a reasonable time of his or her passing the other portion.
(2) For each examination developed by the department or a contracted vendor, the board or the department when there is no board, shall make rules providing for reexamination of any applicants who fail an examination developed by the department or a contracted vendor. If both a written and a practical examination are given, an applicant shall be required to retake only the portion of the examination for which he or she failed to achieve a passing grade, if the applicant successfully passes that portion within a reasonable time, as determined by rule of the board, or department when there is no board, of his or her passing the other portion.
(3) Except for national examinations approved and administered pursuant to paragraph (1)(d), the department shall provide procedures for applicants who have taken and failed an examination developed by the department or a contracted vendor to review their most recently administered examination questions, answers, papers, grades, and grading key for the questions the candidate answered incorrectly or, if not feasible, the parts of the examination failed. Applicants shall bear the actual cost for the department to provide examination review pursuant to this subsection. An applicant may waive in writing the confidentiality of his or her examination grades.
(4) For each examination developed or administered by the department or a contracted vendor, an accurate record of each applicant’s examination questions, answers, papers, grades, and grading key shall be kept for a period of not less than 2 years immediately following the examination, and such record shall thereafter be maintained or destroyed as provided in chapters 119 and 257. This subsection does not apply to national examinations approved and administered pursuant to paragraph (1)(d).
(5) Meetings and records of meetings of any member of the department or of any board or commission within the department held for the exclusive purpose of creating or reviewing licensure examination questions or proposed examination questions are confidential and exempt from ss. 119.07(1) and 286.011. However, this exemption shall not affect the right of any person to review an examination as provided in subsection (3).
(6) For examinations developed by the department or a contracted vendor, each board, or the department when there is no board, may provide licensure examinations in an applicant’s native language. Applicants for examination or reexamination pursuant to this subsection shall bear the full cost for the department’s development, preparation, administration, grading, and evaluation of any examination in a language other than English or Spanish. Requests for translated examinations, except for those in Spanish, must be on file in the board office, or with the department when there is no board, at least 6 months prior to the scheduled examination. When determining whether it is in the public interest to allow the examination to be translated into a language other than English or Spanish, the board, or the department when there is no board, shall consider the percentage of the population who speak the applicant’s native language.
(7) In addition to meeting other requirements for licensure by examination or by endorsement, an applicant may be required by a board, or by the department, if there is no board, to pass an examination pertaining to state laws and rules applicable to the practice of the profession regulated by that board or by the department. This subsection does not apply to persons regulated under chapter 473.
History.—s. 30, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 73-97; s. 3, ch. 77-115; s. 5, ch. 79-36; s. 286, ch. 81-259; s. 30, ch. 81-302; s. 4, ch. 82-1; s. 39, ch. 82-179; s. 80, ch. 83-218; s. 10, ch. 83-329; s. 1, ch. 88-49; s. 2, ch. 89-162; s. 2, ch. 91-137; s. 1, ch. 91-140; s. 11, ch. 91-220; s. 15, ch. 92-149; s. 5, ch. 94-119; s. 70, ch. 94-218; s. 303, ch. 96-406; s. 1080, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 97-228; s. 12, ch. 97-261; s. 18, ch. 99-7; s. 28, ch. 2000-160; s. 6, ch. 2000-356; s. 23, ch. 2008-240; s. 1, ch. 2009-54; s. 1, ch. 2009-69; s. 63, ch. 2009-195; s. 9, ch. 2010-106.