To create the FSA Level I and Level II exams, SASB used best practices within the testing and credentialing industry. More than 40 volunteer subject matter experts—who have experience in sustainability, finance, law, and accounting—contributed to the exam development, which included reviewing the study guide and writing and reviewing the exam questions. SASB also worked with a professional examination development company that has decades of experience in exam development. The exam was rigorously developed to meet expectations of fairness, validity, and reliability.
The first step in the exam development was identifying the Learning Objectives. The Learning Objectives subsequently determined the exam questions and the content for the study guide. To scope the Learning Objectives, SASB considered the following questions:
• What skills and/or areas of knowledge are essential for professionals in this space?
• Which skills and/or areas of knowledge are more important? Less important?
• How much detail is appropriate for each skill and/or area of knowledge?
• What is an appropriate number of questions for each Learning Objective?
To provide a common knowledge base from which exam questions could be developed, SASB collaborated with subject matter experts to create a study guide. The study guide for each exam discusses the essential information that is tested.
Volunteer subject matter experts, trained by the professional examination development company, wrote the exam questions. The questions assess the knowledge and skills reflected in the Learning Objectives. Each question has undergone numerous reviews and revisions to ensure:
• It tests one or more of Learning Objectives
• It is fair and based on the content in the study guide
• It is unbiased
To protect the integrity of the exam, SASB takes multiple precautions including:
- Conducting every exam administration with a proctor
- Administering multiple, statistically-equivalent versions of the exam
- Delivering the set of questions in a random order, with the answer choices in a random order
- Introducing new questions periodically to minimize over-exposure
Every administration of the exam is conducted with a proctor. Click here for more information about the proctors.
There are multiple forms (versions) of the Level I and Level II exams. Although the forms are different, they have been tested to ensure they are statistically-equivalent in their assessment of a candidate’s understanding of the Learning Objectives.
The same form (version) of the Level I and Level II exams will have questions delivered in a random order for every administration of the exam. The answer choices for the questions are also randomized.
Each exam administration includes a certain number of unscored questions. These questions do not affect the candidate’s final score. The results from unscored questions are aggregated and assessed against standard statistical performance criteria. Questions that satisfy the criteria may be included in future administrations of the exam. This process allows new questions to be introduced and prevents any single question from being over-exposed.
Collectively, these precautions help protect the integrity of the exam and minimize the risk of candidates gaining unfair information about exam questions.