Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Construction Science and Management

Committee Member

Dr. Joseph M. Burgett, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Roger W. Liska, Co-Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Dennis Bausman, Co-Chair


Construction education is relatively young as a discipline in academia. Due to the combination of the diverse curriculum offered by different construction programs and the unique nature of every construction project, it is very challenging to standardize the skill set demands of industry. A certification exam has the potential of acting as a bridge between the requirements of both industry and formal college education. As observed, the student AC exam pass rate varies for every construction program by a relatively large margin. The objective of this research was to identify the factors responsible for this variation in results and make recommendations to construction programs for improving student performance on the AC exam. After recommendations were made, the programs could further use the exam to more accurately reflect student learning. In the process of this study, the first stage was to identify the possible factors affecting the performance of a test-taker on standardized testing. Two factors were identified: motivation level and preparation method of the test-taker; therefore, in the second stage of the study, the impact of these two major factors was observed by determining and statistically analyzing various sub-factors within the context of preparation and motivation. Participants representing three diverse data points were considered for multiple surveys: 1) test takers at Clemson University in the fall of 2016, 2) overall student test takers for fall of 2016, and 3) Department Chairs of construction programs. Based on the results of statistical analysis and referring to study material provided by AIC, the similarity of course content of their program with AC exam syllabus and higher study hours invested for preparation positively influence the scores of test takers. Additionally, test takers who considered the exam personally important and at the same time acknowledged the importance of the exam for their program performed better than test takers who did not acknowledge the same. However, test takers who valued the exam as more important for future employment purposes did not perform well in the exam.



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