(1)(a) The department shall provide, contract, or approve services for the development, preparation, administration, scoring, score reporting, and evaluation of all examinations, in consultation with the appropriate board. The department shall certify that examinations developed and approved by the department 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 the department when there is no board, may reject any question which does not reliably measure the general areas of competency specified in the rules of the board. The department may contract for the preparation, administration, scoring, score reporting, and evaluation of examinations, when such services are available and approved by the board.
(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 each examination, the relative weight to be assigned in grading each area tested, and the score necessary to achieve a passing grade. The department shall assess fees to cover the actual cost for any purchase, development, validation, administration, and defense of required examinations. This subsection does not apply to national examinations approved and administered pursuant to paragraph (c). If a practical examination is deemed to be necessary, the 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, or the department when there is no board, may conduct such exercise. Therefore, board members, or employees of the department when there is no board, may serve as examiners at a practical examination with the consent of the board or department, as appropriate.
(c) The board, or the department when there is no board, shall approve by rule the use of one or more national examinations that the department has certified as meeting requirements of national examinations and generally accepted testing standards pursuant to department rules.
1. Providers of examinations seeking certification shall pay the actual costs incurred by the department in making a determination regarding the certification. 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 and supply test score information to the department. 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.
2. Neither the board nor the department may administer a state-developed written examination if a national examination has been certified by the department. The examination may be administered electronically if adequate security measures are used, as determined by rule of the department.
3. The board, or the department when there is no board, may administer a state-developed practical or clinical examination, as required by the applicable practice act, if all costs of development, purchase, validation, administration, review, and defense are paid by the examination candidate prior to the administration of the examination. If a national practical or clinical examination is available and certified by the department pursuant to this section, the board, or the department when there is no board, may administer the national examination.
4. It is the intent of the Legislature to reduce the costs associated with state examinations and to encourage the use of national examinations whenever possible.
(d) Each board, or the department when there is no board, shall adopt rules regarding the security and monitoring of examinations. The department shall implement those rules adopted by the respective boards. In order to maintain the security of examinations, the department may employ the procedures set forth in s. 456.065 to seek fines and injunctive relief against an examinee who violates the provisions of s. 456.018 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. The scores of candidates who have taken state-developed examinations shall be provided to the candidates electronically using a candidate identification number, and the department shall post the aggregate scores on the department’s website without identifying the names of the candidates.
(e) If the professional board with jurisdiction over an examination concurs, the department may, for a fee, share with any other state’s licensing authority or a national testing entity an examination or examination item bank 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.
(f) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this subsection.
(2) For each examination developed by the department or a contracted vendor, the board, or the department when there is no board, shall adopt rules providing for reexamination of any applicants who failed 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 on which the applicant 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 the department when there is no board, of passing the other portion. Except for national examinations approved and administered pursuant to this section, the department shall provide procedures for applicants who fail an examination developed by the department or a contracted vendor to review their 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 the applicant’s examination grades. Notwithstanding any other provisions, only candidates who fail an examination with a score that is less than 10 percent below the minimum score required to pass the examination shall be entitled to challenge the validity of the examination at hearing.
(3) 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 this section.
(4) Meetings of any member of the department or of any board within the department held for the exclusive purpose of creating or reviewing licensure examination questions or proposed examination questions are exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution. Any public records, such as tape recordings, minutes, or notes, generated during or as a result of such meetings are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. However, these exemptions shall not affect the right of any person to review an examination as provided in subsection (2).
(5) 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. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, applicants for examination or reexamination pursuant to this subsection shall bear the full cost for the department’s development, preparation, validation, administration, grading, and evaluation of any examination in a language other than English prior to the examination being administered. Requests for translated examinations must be on file in the board office 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, the board shall consider the percentage of the population who speak the applicant’s native language. Applicants must apply for translation to the applicable board at least 6 months prior to the scheduled examination.
(6) In addition to meeting any other requirements for licensure by examination or by endorsement, and notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph (1)(c), an applicant may be required by a board, or the department when there is no board, to certify competency in state laws and rules relating to the applicable practice act. Beginning October 1, 2001, all laws and rules examinations shall be administered electronically unless the laws and rules examination is administered concurrently with another written examination for that profession or unless the electronic administration would be substantially more expensive.
(7) The department may post examination scores electronically on the Internet in lieu of mailing the scores to each applicant. The electronic posting of the examination scores meets the requirements of chapter 120 if the department also posts along with the examination scores a notification of the rights set forth in chapter 120. The date of receipt for purposes of chapter 120 is the date the examination scores are posted electronically. The department shall also notify the applicant when scores are posted electronically of the availability of postexamination review, if applicable.
History.—s. 46, ch. 92-33; s. 23, ch. 93-129; s. 1, ch. 95-367; s. 304, ch. 96-406; s. 1081, ch. 97-103; s. 54, ch. 97-261; s. 238, ch. 98-166; s. 79, ch. 99-397; s. 49, ch. 2000-160; s. 46, ch. 2000-318; s. 12, ch. 2001-277; s. 2, ch. 2005-62.