Exam Development

The CPP, PCI, and PSP examinations are designed to assess whether a practitioner possesses the knowledge established as the basic competency level required for the chosen designation. The examination development process follows internationally accepted procedures for establishing the content validity of a test and the reliability of its scores.

Role Delineation (Job Analysis)

The first step is the role delineation, or job analysis, which identifies the areas of responsibility (domains) and important work functions required for safe and effective performance in a security position, and the relative importance in the actual practice of a profession. ASIS currently performs role delineations approximately every five years.

Examination Specifications

The importance of each domain, and of the relevant tasks, knowledge, and skills within it, determines the specifications of the examination. The relative order of importance of the domains determines the percentage of the total test items allocated to each. The examination is based on this blueprint.

Preparation of Examination Items

Questions for the examination are obtained from two sources:

  • For the CPP, members of the Item Development Groups and Legal Aspect Committees. For the PCI and PSP, which does not have legal questions, only the Item Development Group.
  • Individual CPPs may submit questions for the CPP exam for recertification credit, developed with the direction of an item-writing guide available from the Certification program office.

After the questions are drafted, they are reviewed at several different stages for content, accuracy, consistency of style, appropriate reading level, psychometric soundness, and freedom from cultural bias or unequal impact.

Examination Form Development

Each new form of the examination is created according to established test specifications with the appropriate number of items for each domain from the bank of available test questions.

Establishment of Passing Score

After a new role delineation study is conducted and new examination specifications developed, a passing point study is performed by the PCB for the first new form according to widely accepted procedures, under the guidance of the ASIS testing service. From the results of the study, the PCB establishes the number of examination questions that must be answered correctly in order to meet the "minimum competency" certification standard.

Equating of Examination Forms

Once the PCB establishes the passing score, all additional forms developed according to the most current role delineation are "equated" in order to make them of comparable difficulty to the original. "Equating" is a statistical process that is used to adjust for difficulty among forms that are constructed to be similar in difficulty level and content. The process enables the scores on any two forms to be equivalent.

Scaled Score

In order to maintain test security, the PCB produces multiple forms of the CPP, PCI, and PSP examinations with different questions on each form. Individual scores are reported as "scaled scores". These "scaled scores" are derived from raw scores through mathematical conversion so that scores from different forms can be reported on a common scale and, therefore, represent the same level of competence. Scaled scores, used widely in the certification and licensing fields, ensure that all candidates are required to demonstrate the same level of ability to pass the test regardless of whether or not they took an easier or more difficult test form. Certified public accountants, human resource professionals, and building inspectors are only a few of the many professions receiving scaled examination scores.

Item Analysis

Test items are evaluated after a statistically significant number of candidates answered them in an examination environment. If they are intended to be scored as part of the examination, or are included as pretest items, their performance will be examined and any aberrant items will be called to the attention of, and reviewed by, the PCB Test Management Committee. The committee examines each item to detect any possible flaws or ambiguities. If changes need to be made in an operational question, the scoring process incorporates credit for two or more answer options in the final scoring and the item is revised before it is used again in another form.

Examination Scoring and Reporting

After all analyses are complete, the examinations are scored. Candidates will receive notification of passing or failing the exam and score reports containing a breakdown, by domain, of the number of questions they answered correctly versus the total number of question in the domain.