CESP™ Exam Development Updates: Specifications, Item Writing, and Review

The Certified Employment Support Professional™ (CESP) certification is working on regular exam development to create a new exam form. This is part of regular exam maintenance as part of a credentialing program. APSE has contracted with PSI testing services to work with their team of psychometricians to lead this process.

Process showing job analysis, item writing & review, exam form creation in blue. Testing of candidates and continued exam development are clear, indicating they haven't happened yet.
Exam Development Steps

Exam Specifications (Component of Job Analysis)

After the job analysis was completed (see previous post), a group of subject matter experts met to review the results of the survey, confirm the topic areas developed, and finalize content weighting for the exam.

Employment Support Professionals were assembled by APSE to serve as subject matter experts (SMEs). The individuals selected for participation in all aspects of exam development represent a wide variety of work‐related characteristics such as years of experience, work setting, geographic location, and areas of specialty. This helps in developing a scope of practice that is reflective of the roles and responsibilities of an employment support professional and is relatively free from bias.

The SMEs decided to keep the exam a 3-hour examination, with 135 items on the exam. Beginning in August 2019, the exam will have 115 scored items on the exam (contribute to a candidate’s score), while 20 will be “pre-test” and not scored. These are to allow for the continued growth and development of new exam items on the test.

Exam item writers were recruited from the over 3,000 CESPs. Nearly 175 newly written questions for the exam were submitted.

Item and Exam Review

Thank you to our item reviewers who joined from across the country to review new questions written for the exam. It was a full two days of discussion in April to ensure all exam questions are written clearly and concisely and that all tie back to a reference.

A new exam form has been put together that meets the specifications of the test following the content outline. APSE will be bringing together more reviewers in late May to review the exam form before it will be used to test candidates for the CESP beginning in August 2019.

We will continue to provide updates about exam development, including upcoming testing updates. 

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