How was the CESP™ exam developed?

In January 2011, The ESPCC launched a role delineation study (RDS) as the first step towards developing a national certification program.

A representative panel of nine subject matter experts (SMEs) developed the RDS to correspond to the job content elements that are related to effective entry-level ESP performance. Established reference materials from the profession were used to identify 80 content elements grouped into content domains, sequenced in the order in which they are most typically performed.

Following a systematic and scientific process, the survey was created and then sent to employment professionals around the country. Upon completion of the study, the data was collected and analyzed. Means and standard deviations were computed for each of the content items. Combining the criticality and frequency means for each of the six content domains resulted in the basis for the exam content outline. The content outline was reviewed, revised (primarily by combining two of the domains for better balance), and finalized by a group of SMEs.

Following the approval of the content outline, a diverse group of exam question writers were recruited and trained to submit questions for the exam. Questions were subsequently reviewed by additional SMEs before being assembled into an exam for a final quality check and review.

Following each administration of the exam, question statistics are calculated and reviewed along with candidate feedback to identify any concerns or areas for improvement. Inappropriate questions are removed from grading. Following this quality assurance step exam grading is finalized and score reports are issued to candidates.

The ESPCC oversees a continual process of question writing, review and evaluation to ensure that exam content remains up-to-date, accurate, and consistent with the content outline.

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