Testing is offered annually at an announced site, or can be taken local to the applicant, by arrangements with the test administrator (ORA), through a university's test proctoring center.
The written examination is a criterion based multiple choice question examination requiring discipline-specific knowledge. Test questions are drawn from a databank of questions, with a specific number randomly drawn from each of the curriculum areas. The candidate must complete the examination in the designated time allowed. An individual failing a section of the examination may retake that section, after a designated wait-period.
The performance examination requires the application of discipline-specific knowledge and practical experience to cases routinely encountered by document examiners. Lab equipment is provided on site as necessary. Examinations can include questions of handwriting, hand printing, altered documents, paper, printing devices and other subjects addressed in the Task Inventory. In order to pass, for each case the candidate must render a correct opinion and identify the salient characteristics or identifiers that support the opinion. If the candidate fails one of the examinations, retesting will be on the same subject.
Testing is administered by Occupational Research and Assessment, Inc. Eight hours is allowed for completion of the written and performance examinations. All testing is proctored. Samples test questions can be found at ORA by clicking on the Board of Forensic Document examiners.
Scoring of Examinations
The BFDE uses non-affiliated, third-party graders to score each test. Passing scores for each section of the written examination have been established using standard cut score methods. The test was designed specifically to have individual scores for each section of the test, rather than an overall passing score, in order to ensure competency in each of the topic areas related to examination of disputed documents. An individual must successfully pass each section of the test. Performance examinations are constructed by the development team, so that correct answers are predetermined. An individual must provide the correct opinion and identify the salient characteristics or identifiers that form the basis of the opinion.
Certification is granted for a five-year period. Every fifth year the individual must renew his or her certification through participation in the Certification Renewal Program.