By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, MS, CFS, Director, Food and Product Safety Programs
Exam Creation Cycle

In October 2017, our food safety team and some FMI members participated in the SafeMark® Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) Exam Review Workshop with Prometric, a leading testing and assessment authority and FMI’s SafeMark exam provider. During the two-day event, we reviewed and refined questions on the SafeMark CFPM Exam and explored the development of a Listeria micro-credential as a value-add resource to supplement FMI’s Listeria Action Plan for Retail Delis and Listeria Action Plan for Retailers. It turns out that there is a science and a lot of background work that goes into exam and assessment creation.

The Prometric Test Development Team for food safety first gave our group an introduction to test development best practices. Understanding best practices for test design and development is key for creating test questions that ensure an exam is valid, reliable and aligned to the FDA Food Code. Prometric’s in-house psychometricians continually evaluate test candidate performance on questions in their robust food safety question bank and regularly engage subject matter experts in the test development process. Prometric’s assessments are tools that help to ensure that retail food professionals have mastered the knowledge necessary to reduce risk to customers and businesses.

Prometric and FMI share a common goal to have the best possible assessment for SafeMark that enables only candidates who are qualified to pass. In addition to having quality content, it is also essential to consistently apply best practices for exam creation. In order to do this, it is important to ensure:

  • all questions are clear and not “trick questions;”
  • all questions are still relevant to current food safety practices;
  • all possible incorrect answers are plausible yet wrong;
  • all questions have only one correct answer; and
  • all questions and answers can be substantiated by a reference source, such as the FDA Food Code.

The knowledge and passion for food safety was evident among the FMI members who worked together to review and edit exam questions in order to enhance the SafeMark CFPM exam. Here’s what some workshop participants had to say about the experience:

“The Exam Review Workshop was a worthwhile exercise and helped me to better understand how much effort, expertise and experience goes into the SafeMark Exam that we use at Wegmans. I am more confident that Wegmans employees’ level of food safety knowledge is accurately assessed.”
—Paul Marra, Food Safety Support Manager, Wegmans Food Markets

“The SafeMark CFPM Exam allows our food safety managers to demonstrate their knowledge and helps ensure that we have qualified individuals protecting the public. We appreciated the opportunity to work with Prometric, FMI, and other industry peers to improve their exam process.”
—Jason Booher, Manager, Food Safety Operations, Weis Markets, Inc. 

The workshop fostered collaboration between FMI members and Prometric test developers.  In addition to enhancing the SafeMark CFPM exam, everyone was able to learn more about the food safety challenges affecting retailers today and how quality assessments, coupled with quality training, can make a difference in protecting the public and retail businesses.

To learn more about Prometric and how food safety assessments are created download the 2017 Prometric Food Safety Industry Report. Learn more about SafeMark at or contact us at