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Preliminary Education Task Force Survey

At its March meeting, the CAS Board authorized the creation of a Preliminary Education Task Force. The charge of the Task Force is “to evaluate educational objectives for preliminary exams and alternatives to delivering educational content.”

The need for a task force arose from two topics at the March Board meeting: a report from the Risk Management Committee and a report from the Task Force on Educational Balance. Both reports covered a wide range of issues, but with some overlap in the emphasis on the need for our basic and continuing education to remain relevant to employer needs, while also attracting required talent into the profession.

One specific issue before the task force is the need to incorporate additional statistics material in our basic education, as discussed in a recent CAS blog post and as recommended by the Task Force on Educational Balance. The task force recognizes the continued expansion of the use of advanced statistics underlying predictive modeling, the quantification of reserve variability, the development of economic capital models, and enterprise risk management. The task force will consider these topics in the light of the current topics and learning/testing methods.

The Task Force will be providing an initial report to the CAS Board at its May meeting.

Preliminary Education, for our purposes, includes:

The Task Force invites comments from members and candidates on issues related to preliminary education. An initial list of questions that the Task Force is considering includes:

1. Are there any topics currently on our exams that we might not need to test, or that we could reduce?
2. How much statistics, if any, do we need to add? What are key topics?
3. What’s the best way to learn and test the material on statistics?
4. Are there additional topics that need to be added, such as practical predictive modeling?
5. What topics must continue to be tested at the level of rigor of our current exams?
6. Are there topics that can be taught or tested better through a university course environment?
7. Is there a way to require a higher level of rigor than VEE but one that is less stringent than our current exams?
8. Could we teach some of this material through an in-person hands-on modeling seminar that includes an assessment (exam or assignment) afterwards? Are there other alternatives we could consider?
9. What features of the educational process will attract more college students to an actuarial career specializing in property-casualty insurance? Examples include but are not limited to: Less frequent exams that are broader in scope and longer in duration of exam? University-based credits? Online courses? Seminars with credits? More frequent exams that are shorter in scope of syllabus and duration of exam?
Note that the Task Force is not focusing only on content, but also examining alternative methods of educating and testing candidates. Different methods could be considered for different subject areas; ir., not all material must be taught, learned, tested, in the same way

Please respond by 20 April 2012.