How the Exam is Developed

SCSA contracted with Professional Testing Inc. (PTI), a testing company, to revise and update the CSA exam according to psychometric standards.

The Test Development Process:

  • The job analysis study is the first step to creating an exam. It represents the input of a large number of CSAs and a CSA SME committee. The result of the job analysis study is the content outline for the CSA exam – the CSA Exam Outline. Percentages for the key areas of the exam outline are set by the CSA SME committee.
  • Item writing: All test items are drafted, written and reviewed by CSA SMEs. Items are then reviewed for relevancy, currency, importance, and accuracy by a CSA SME committee. If the item meets the evaluation criteria, it is approved. Test questions cover the health, social, and financial aspects of aging
  • Creating the test: Approved items are assembled into a test, at which time a group of CSA SMEs review the test form in its entirety. Once all issues are resolved, the test is approved for administration.
  • Establishing the passing score: After the test is administered to a sufficient number of candidates, a psychometric review of the statistical performance of the items is conducted to determine the passing score range.
  • Any issues are brought to the attention of SCSA, a group of CSA SMEs, and the independent SCSA Certification Council.The Certification Council gives final approval to the passing score.
  • Ongoing quality control of the exam: When the exam is given to CSA candidates, a test comment form is provided to obtain feedback and ensure test items are meeting the expected standards.
  • Feedback from candidates is investigated and the statistical performance of items is analyzed and considered. A test item is re-written or replaced with a new item as needed.
  • Keeping CSA exam current: PTI uses professional psychometric standards to keep the CSA exam current. Activities include ongoing item writing to replace individual test items and test forms as required for statistical validity and reliability, as well as ongoing item and exam analysis, and an annual psychometric review.

The SCSA Certification Council determines the schedule for the next CSA job analysis, based on the frequency of material changes in the senior advisor industry.