` NCHEC - Become a CHES .
Become a CHES

CHES Exam Details

The CHES examination is a competency-based tool used to measure possession, application and interpretation of knowledge in the Areas of Responsibility for health educators delineated by A Competency-Based Framework for Health Educators 2006. Consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions, the CHES examination is offered in paper-and-pencil format at college campuses throughout the United States. While there are approximately 120 testing sites currently registered, any campus with a testing service is eligible to become a testing site.

Basis for the CHES Examination

The CHES exam is based on Areas of Responsibility, Competencies, and Sub-competencies that were re-verified by the findings of the National Health Educator Competencies Update Project (CUP), a six-year multi-phased national study of a representative sample of 4,030 self-identified health educators. The 163 validated Sub-competencies aligned with 35 Competencies and 7 Areas of Responsibility were first incorporated into a revised CHES examination in October 2007.

The CHES examination is based upon the following Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators, as delineated in A Competency-Based Framework for Health Educators 2006.

Area of Responsibility of Health Educators % of Questions
on CHES Exam
  1. Assess individual and community needs for health education
  1. Plan effective health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  1. Implement health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  1. Conduct evaluation and research related to health education
  1. Administer health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  1. Serve as a health education resource person
  1. Communicate and advocate for health and health education

Click here to view a more detailed listing of the above Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators.

Study materials are available to help you prepare for the examination. To view the available publications click here.

Background and Scoring Information

NCHEC contracts with the Professional Examination Service (PES), a not-for-profit national testing service with more than 50 years experience in the development and administration of professional credentialing examinations -- specializing in the health care field. PES adheres to the technical guidelines for test development recommended by the American Educational Research Association, The American Psychological Association, and The National Council on Measurement in Education, The Equal Opportunity Commission, and other relevant governmental agencies.

Criterion-Referenced vs. Norm-Referenced Testing:
The CHES exam is a criterion-referenced test. The criteria is a set score for passing the test as determined by NCHEC. The set score, or standard, represents a fixed standard of knowledge and is independent of candidate performance on the test. The passing point or passing score is set using the modified Angoff method; the most widely used criterion-referenced technique in the credentialing community. It is based on the judgments of content experts regarding the expected test performance of candidates who are minimally competent. By contrast, traditional academic grading systems typically use the norm-referenced testing method. In this method the test compares the performance of each candidate to others taking the same test. The passing score for the norm-referenced test is determined based upon the performance of all candidates (i.e. a fixed percentage of candidates pass) and is dependent on candidate's performance.

Determining the Passing Point on the CHES Exam:
The passing point is determined using a variety of statistical techniques (A modification of the Angoff method and equating) which take into account item difficulty. The passing point is reviewed and extensive statistics are computed and analyzed for every CHES exam.

Reliability and Validity of the CHES Exam:
Extensive test statistics are calculated in the process of determining test reliability and validity, including item analysis for every test item on the CHES exam. Reliability is determined by using the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 and split half reliability. Reliability coefficients above 0.80 are considered satisfactory for credentialing exams. The CHES exam reliability coefficient, as determined by the K-R 20 and split-half methods, has consistently met or exceeded the standard over the years.

Statistical Information April 2007
October 2007
Number of Items 150 150
Pass Point 94 95
Average Raw Score 105.43 107.99
Standard Deviation 16.78 16.64
Range of Raw Scores 52-142 53-141
Average Percent Score 70.29 71.99
Number of Candidates 916 551
Number of Candidates who passed (pass rate) 689 (75.2%) 429 (77.9%)

Each personís raw score is computed as the number of correct answers. A correction-for-guessing formula is not used. For the April 2007 exam, scores of the pass point 94 or higher were passing scores, and for the October 2007 exam, scores of 95 or higher were passing scores.

© 2002 The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.