The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a leading certification body for the public relations profession, has announced fourth quarter and final 2011 results for the examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. In 2011, a total of 212 earned their Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credentials, including three who earned the APR+M designation for military public affairs professionals. APR+M candidates must pass the same computer-based exam as other APR candidates, but they also are required to meet additional, rigorous criteria unique to military public affairs practices. "Fourth quarter 2011 results continue to show increases in pass rates for both the computer-based examination and Readiness Reviews compared with previous years," said Janet E. Kacskos, APR, 2012 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, in a news release. Comparing the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011, the number of candidates taking the computer-based examination fell slightly — from 88 to 80 — but the pass rate rose from 67.04 percent to 71.25 percent. The number of non-military candidates completing readiness reviews in the fourth quarter also declined slightly, from 61 to 57, but the pass rate increased from 77.05 percent to 91.23 percent. APR+M candidates undergo a separate Readiness Review process. The overall pass rate for the computer-based examination was 71.43 percent in 2011, compared with 66.67 percent in 2010. "The quality and variety of resources to help candidates prepare for the examination continues to improve. Also, the increased pass rate reflects on the candidates themselves, and the effort they’re putting in to prepare for the examination," said Kacskos.
Examination content is based on knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) identified in a public relations practice analysis. The examination underwent a significant revision in 2000, to reflect KSAs identified in a practice analysis conducted early in the Accreditation re-engineering process. While some executional tactics have changed — especially with the growth of social media — a practice analysis update completed in late 2010 showed that the strategic focus of advanced practitioners remains largely unchanged. While the examination is refined and updated continuously to remain consistent with today’s public relations practices and to reflect improvements recommended by the testing firm, the board doesn’t anticipate any significant changes to the examination in the near future.