Relationship between ASQ exam questions & Quality Council of Indiana Primers

A question arose from one of the 04 December 2004 certification examinees about the relationship between the ASQ exam questions and the Quality Council of Indiana's CQx Primers. So, I asked Dennis Arter, a friend of mine, who is a member of the ASQ Quality Auditing Division Executive Committee and author of one of the standard Quality Auditing texts -- "Quality Audits for Improved Performance" -- to respond.

Following is Dennis' email. Note that the same process is used to build the exam questions for all the other CQx exams, too.

Bill Casti, CQA

>From: Dennis Arter 
>To: Bill Casti 
>Subject: re: Relationship between ASQ exam questions and the Quality Council of Indiana
>Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2004 10:08:58 -0800
>Hi Bill,
>It's easy to see how this misunderstanding occurs. It happens to me all
>the time. The instructor recommends a book and the participant hears
>something different. Common communication issue.
>I recommend four books for the CQA exam (in this order):
>a) my book, "Quality Audits for Improved Performance"
>b) ASQ Quality Audit Division handbook
>c) either ASQ self-study software, or CQI primer
>Word then goes around that the exam comes right out of my book.
>The process for developing and maintaining exam questions is actually
>quite rigorous and consists of three components:
>1. Five year review and update of the test specifications.
>Every five years (or so), the ASQ contractor contacts noted sources,
>gurus, etc., with heavy emphasis on the exam-owning Quality Audits
>Division, to validate the test specifications. (This is sometimes
>incorrectly called the Body of Knowledge.) This update appears in the
>exam brochure and becomes the basis of all subsequent exams.
>2. Exam writing workshops
>Volunteers gather in Milwaukee once or twice a year to generate new
>questions for the exam bank. All questions MUST be based on published
>material and independent of any particular quality management system. We
>don't write ISO questions or FDA questions or Boeing questions.
>3. Post-exam cleansing
>After every exam, the statistics are examined to make sure each
>individual question remains valid. If it's too easy and stats show that
>it seldom is missed, out it goes. Likewise, one that gets consistently
>answered incorrectly is thrown out. New questions from the exam bank take
>their place.
>Ron Kingen was instrumental in making these changes to the process about
>a decade ago. The approach has served us well.
>Dennis R. Arter, "The Audit Guy"
>Columbia Audit, 6951 W Grandridge, Kennewick, WA 99336
>509/783-0377, toll-free 877/597-9498, (no more fax)
>Now blogging at

Posted: 06 December 04