General Information INTRODUCTION

Assurance of Learning®® Assessment for Graduating HR Students:
The Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) Assurance of Learning® Assessment for graduating HR students is the new universal benchmark for students who are completing an HR degree and who have little to no work experience in HR. It benefits students by showing employers the student has acquired the minimum knowledge required to be a successful HR professional, and it gives recent graduates an important advantage over other entry-level candidates by showing the student has achieved the Certificate of Learning upon passing an exit exam. The assessment helps universities meet their accrediting body's Assurance of Learning® requirements because it helps show the HR degree program teaches what it states it will teach. And, it helps employers know that the student has taken an additional step to ensure their degree, complemented by the Certificate of Learning achievement, adequately prepares them for their career in HR. As part of SHRM's broader academic initiative, the Assessment represents an important step along an HR professional's career development path. It complements both formal classroom knowledge acquired through a degree program and experiential learning gained through internships.

Questions?
Phone
800-283-7476, ext. 3926
+1-703-548-3440, ext. 3926
E-mail
assessment@shrm.org
Website
www.shrm.org/assessment

SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment® Policies and Privacy Notice: Click here to read.

Exam Basics
The Assessment is comprised of 160 multiple choice questions, about 30% of which are scenario-related questions to test the examinee's ability apply HR knowledge. The 160 questions are categorized into six overarching content groups covering 18 separate HR content areas, detailed below. Four (4) hours are allotted for each examinee to complete the assessment. The Assessment is administered at Prometric test centers around the world. Additional fees apply if an examinee selects a test site outside the U.S.

THREE 30-DAY EXAM WINDOWS occur each year:
  • March 15 – April 15
  • July 15 – August 15
  • October 15 – November 15


  • Is this the right exam for you?
    Yes. If you are seeking an HR or HR-related degree, and are a traditional student with little to no work experience, or if you are a non-traditional student entering the HR profession for the first time even though you have work experience in a field other than HR, the Assurance of Learning® Assessment is the exam you should take. The Assurance of Learning® Assessment provides a universally recognized benchmark for traditional and non-traditional students with little to no HR work experience to achieve in lieu of certifications offered by the HR Certification Institute, whose eligibility requirements changed in 2011 and require exempt-level professional experience in HR to qualify.

    If you are a seasoned HR professional with exempt-level experience in HR, even though you are also a student in an HR or HR-related bachelors or masters degree program, you are not eligible to take the Assurance of Learning® Assessment. Instead, seasoned HR professionals who are also students should consult eligibility requirements for professional certification exams offered by the HR Certification Institute by contacting the Institute directly at www.hrci.org, info@hrci.org or 1-866-898-4724.

    Who is eligible to take the Assurance of Learning® Assessment?
    After a student determines that the Assurance of Learning® Assessment is the right assessment to take, the student must also meet other eligibility requirements. You must also provide information about the degree program you are seeking, the university you attend, the number of HR-specific courses in the major area of study or concentration and the number of topics covered on the exam that you have studied in your coursework. If eligible, you may take the exam beginning one year before graduation and up to one year after graduation.

    How does an eligible student apply and register for the exam?
    An application period precedes each test window. The first application period each year opens November 1 the previous year; the second opens April 16; the third opens August 16. Apply online at www.shrm.org/assessment. The website includes student-specific information, faculty/administrator-specific information and general information.

    How much does the exam cost?
    Students may purchase the assessment individually.
    SHRM Members: $135
    Nonmembers: $210

    Universities who require or strongly encourage students to take the assessment, and who wish to buy examination seats for their students, receive discounted rates for any quantity greater than 5 seats purchased. Specific information about the various discounts available is shown online at www.shrm.org/assessment.

    When does an examinee find out if they passed the exam?
    Students will receive a score report no later than 8 weeks after the test window closes. At the same time, universities receive consolidated reports for all students who attend their respective university and who took the test during the test window.

    TESTIMONIALS

    Lisa L Freeman
    Master of Science, Human Resources Development
    Villanova University

    "The Certificate of Learning was required as the comprehensive exam for my MS-HRD degree. It means a great deal to know that the hard work I put in during my two years of coursework at Villanova culminated in a high score on the assessment."

    Litonya Tolson
    Bachelor of Science Business, HR Management
    Western Governors University

    "The Certificate of Learning means that I can show to potential employers that I possess the proper knowledge to begin work in the HR field. The HR field is a hard one to tap into as a beginner, even with a degree. I am hoping that this Certificate will give my resume the competitive edge I need in order to set me on the path in my preferred career field."

    BACKGROUND

    In 2006, SHRM created its Academic Initiative—an effort to set the agenda for the future of HR education, based on a multi-year, multi-method research study to define minimum standards for HR education at the undergraduate and graduate level. Part of the long-range strategy for the Academic Initiative was the development of an Assurance of Learning® assessment for graduating HR students. SHRM commissioned the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in November 2009 to conduct a series of studies to inform the potential development of a new assessment for graduating HR students.

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    CONTENT AREAS COVERED ON THE EXAM

    Employee and Labor Relations (20 questions)
      Labor Relations; Negotiation skills
    Employment Law (28 questions)
      Employment law; Risk Management—workplace health, safety, security
    Strategy (40 questions)
      Organizational strategy; Globalization; Mergers and acquisitions; Managing diversity; Leadership skills
    Compensation and Benefits (20 questions)
      Compensation and Employee benefits
    Training and Development (12 questions)
      Career Planning; Training and development
    Workforce Planning (40 questions)
      Workforce planning and talent management; Staffing—recruitment and staffing; Performance management; HR information systems; Metrics and measurement

    Click here for a detailed listing of exam topics.

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    ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

    Undergraduate students and graduate students in HR or HR-related degree programs are eligible to take the exam beginning as early as one year before graduation and up to one year after graduation. The application website will require the applicant to provide information on a variety of areas, including but not limited to the degree program sought, the university the student attends and the number of HR-specific courses in the major area of study or concentration. Any applicant who meets the eligibility requirements will be given a registration number and information about selecting a test-taking site.

    If you are a non-traditional student entering the HR profession for the first time even though you have work experience in a field other than HR, the Assurance of Learning® Assessment is the exam you should take. The Assurance of Learning® Assessment provides a universally recognized benchmark for traditional and non-traditional students with little to no HR work experience to achieve in lieu of certifications offered by the HR Certification Institute, whose eligibility requirements changed in 2011 and require exempt-level professional experience in HR to qualify.

    If you are a seasoned HR professional with exempt-level experience in HR, even though you are also a student in an HR or HR-related bachelors or masters degree program, you are not eligible to take the Assurance of Learning® Assessment. Instead, seasoned HR professionals who are also students should consult eligibility requirements for professional certification exams offered by the HR Certification Institute by contacting the Institute directly at www.hrci.org, info@hrci.org or 1-866-898-4724.

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    EXAM WINDOWS

    THREE 30-DAY EXAM WINDOWS occur each year:
  • March 15 – April 15
  • July 15 – August 15
  • October 15 – November 15

  • Spring window – March 15 – April 15: application period opens on November 16 the previous year.
    Summer window – July 15 – August 15: application period opens on April 16.
    Fall window – October 15 – November 15: application period opens on August 16.


    2015 EXAM WINDOWS

    EXAM WINDOW APPLICATION PERIOD ELIGIBILITY GRADUATION DATE*
    March 15 – April 15 November 16, 2014 - March 5, 2015 January 1, 2014 - April 15, 2016
    July 15 - August 15 April 16, 2015- July 5, 2015 April 16, 2014 - August 15, 2016
    October 15 - November 15 August 16, 2015- October 5, 2015 August 16, 2014 - December 31, 2016

    * If your graduation date falls within this range of dates, you are eligible to take the exam during the associated exam window. If it does not, select an exam window that corresponds with your graduation date, and register for that exam.

    2016 EXAM WINDOWS

    EXAM WINDOW APPLICATION PERIOD ELIGIBILITY GRADUATION DATE*
    March 15 – April 15 November 16, 2015 - March 5, 2016 January 1, 2015 - April 15, 2017
    July 15 - August 15 April 16, 2016- July 5, 2016 April 16, 2015 - August 15, 2017
    October 15 - November 15 August 16, 2016- October 5, 2016 August 16, 2015 - December 31, 2017

    * If your graduation date falls within this range of dates, you are eligible to take the exam during the associated exam window.

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    HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE EXAM

    SHRM Assurance of Learning® Assessment Study Guide Completing coursework toward an HR or HR-related degree program is the primary method of preparation for the SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment. Examinees should review the content areas on the exam to make sure their degree program covered all or most of the content areas tested on the exam. Click here to see content areas on the exam.

    Preparation Materials: SHRM recommends that examinees create an individual study plan based on coursework studied throughout the HR degree program, and then fill in the gaps by taking advantage of the study materials SHRM has created:
    • Practice Tests
    • Study Guide
    • Review Materials
    Practice Tests
    Practice Tests help examinees determine which content areas tested on the exam might need additional focus. Four Practice Tests are available through the SHRMStore. Each Practice Test has 80 questions and may be purchased individually, or all four Practice Tests may be purchased in a bundle at a greatly reduced price.
    • Individual test, Member: $35
    • Individual test, Nonmember: $40
    • Bundle of all four tests, Member: $100
    • Bundle of all four tests, Nonmember: $110
    Taking a Practice Test provides a preview of what to expect on the exam: an examinee can determine knowledge gaps that can be strengthened through additional study. After taking the Practice Test(s) to identify gaps in knowledge, SHRM suggests using the Study Guide and Review Materials to supplement topics studied in an HR degree program.

    Purchase Practice Tests here.

    Note: The Practice Tests are available only as e-documents. Orders for Practice Tests are filled Monday – Friday (9am – 5pm), Eastern time. Practice Tests are sent via e-mail from academics@shrm.org. Orders placed Friday - Sunday will be fulfilled the following Monday.


    Study Guide
    • Member: $45
    • Nonmember: $55
    Register for the Exam!

    Note: The 2015 Study Guide supersedes all earlier versions of the Study Guide.

    SHRM has created a Study Guide available through the SHRMStore with a sample exam of 160 questions. The sample exam helps examinees acquaint themselves with the style of questions on the exam. The examinee may wish to use this sample exam when nearing the end of the study period, but before taking the Assessment, to better assess readiness for the Assessment exam. .Sources used as the basis for individual questions on the Assessment and rationales for correct answers are in the Study Guide. Test-taking tips highlight important information to consider prior to taking the Assessment. By using the list of sources, the examinee may supplement texts, research and websites studied as part of a degree program. The sources listed in the Study Guide are the ones item writers use to create the actual test questions.

    Purchase the Study Guide here.

    Universities: To purchase the Study Guide at bulk discounts, please call the SHRMStore 1- 800-444-5006, option 1.

    Please be aware that other exam preparation materials may be developed by non-SHRM sources; however, SHRM only can confirm the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the preparation materials created by SHRM and available exclusively through SHRM.


    Review Materials
    Review Materials cover the six (6) overarching content areas tested on the exam. They include a syllabus for a 45-hour study plan (equivalent to a 3-credit course), six power point slide decks with teaching notes, detailed study aids that accompany each module and a comprehensive spreadsheet that highlights additional resources to complement a comprehensive study plan. Each of the six individual modules may be purchased as a stand-alone module, but it is most economical to purchase the bundle of all 6 modules. Many examinees use these materials as self-study.

    • Individual Module, Member: $40
    • Individual Module, Nonmember: $50
    • Bundle of Six Modules, Member: $99
    • Bundle of Six Modules, Nonmember: $135
    Note: The Review Materials are available only as e-documents. Orders for Review Materials are filled Monday – Friday (9am – 5pm), Eastern time. Review Materials are sent via e-mail, from SHRM Academics. Orders placed Friday - Sunday will be fulfilled the following Monday.

    Purchase Review Materials here.

    Universities who want to conduct a formal review course can buy one copy of the Review Materials for each student in the class, for a discounted price.

    Please note: All SHRM study tools are intended to help examinees better prepare to take the Assessment; however, the materials do not “teach the test.” SHRM makes no warranty that use of SHRM preparation materials guarantees an examinee will pass the Assurance of Learning® Assessment.


    Can I take the Assessment internationally?
    If you plan to take the exam at a test center outside of the United States or Canada, please e-mail assessment@shrm.org before registering. The Assessment staff may need to manually register you because there is a subsidy charged for certain country test locations outside of the United States.

    Litonya Tolson
    Bachelor of Science Business, HR Management
    Western Governors University

    The top benefit of the assessment guide was the rationale that was provided for each answer in the back of the book. It helped me think more in depth about the questions and know what to expect on the exam. The listing of acronyms to learn in the back of the guide was a great help as well.

    Janis Puglia
    MS in Human Resource Development
    School: Villanova

    The study guide was a great investment because it demonstrated how the test questions were structured and this allowed me to feel very relaxed and confident taking the exam. I also appreciated the comprehensive list of resources in the study guide, which helped me to delve deeper into the topics.

    *NOTE: CORRECTIONS TO 2013 STUDY GUIDE:
    • Question 68. In the answer key section (Appendix A), the correct answer should be D acceptance of gifts. (“Understanding of business terminology” is noted as the correct answer.)
    • Question 132. In the answer key section (Appendix A), “National origin” is noted as the correct answer. It is not one of the choices available in the multiple choice answers. This question and the possible answers will be re-written for the 2014 Study Guide.
    • Question 155. In the Sample Exam (Section 4), all choices for #155 are labeled “D” --rather than “A,B,C,D”. The multiple choice answers should be labeled as A, B, C, and D (consistent with the multiple choice format).
    HOW CAN FACULTY HELP STUDENTS PREPARE?

    Faculty members are also encouraged to review the contents of SHRM’s HR curriculum guidelines periodically and advise students to supplement their coursework through experiential learning and additional study. For example, understanding the current research and thought leadership by reading, analyzing and applying the results of empirical studies—especially on topics that are covered on the assessment but might not be covered in the university’s required coursework—would help students become acquainted with those topics. Studying HR topics through case study methodology is also an effective way for students to learn to assimilate and synthesize the various HR disciplines and integrate them into solutions and applications they may encounter as an entry-level professional.

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    REPORTS AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS & UNIVERSITIES

    For the first exam administration, students will receive a passing score report in addition to a Certificate of Learning approximately 8 weeks after the close of the test window. Universities will receive pass/fail information and scores for their students.

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    THE TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

    Many of the decisions about the structure, content, administration and scoring policies of the assessment are guided by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC for the SHRM Assurance of Learning® Assessment is composed of a variety of psychometricians, academics, former practitioners who are now academics and HR practitioners. Members of the TAC are chosen based on individual expertise as well as how well each represents one of the intended stakeholder groups.

    Current TAC members:
    • Wayne Cascio, Ph.D. (TAC Chair), University of Colorado Denver
    • David Allen, Ph.D., SPHR, University of Memphis
    • Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM
    • Grace A. Dobson, SCRP, SPHR, Gracie Banks, LLC
    • Jennifer McIntosh, MA, SPHR, GPHR, AACSB
    • Sue R. Meisinger, J.D., SPHR, author, speaker, consultant on HR
    • Gayle Porter, Ph.D., SPHR, GPHR, Rutgers
    • Mark Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM Foundation
    • Neal Schmitt, Ph.D., Michigan State University
    • Cheryl Wyrick, Ph.D., SPHR, California State Polytechnic University Pomona

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    Please go to the Frequently Asked Questions section for more information