CSP: Examination Process
Early spring 2011, Scrum Alliance volunteers, staff, and the professional certification experts at Castle Worldwide, Inc. (Castle) conducted a Scrum-specific analysis that included in-person meetings with Scrum Alliance community members as well as a worldwide member survey. See the complete CSP Analysis Report [PDF] for details. Next, Scrum Alliance volunteers developed and validated hundreds of multiple-choice test items. These items were assembled into a beta test that was conducted in October 2011 to assure that the CSP examination met accreditation requirements and is theoretically and technically sound.
The 150-question exam is available at proctored test sites located around the world and has a three-hour time limit. CSP candidates will no longer be required to complete a lengthy application for review or schedule a follow-up interview. Those who do not currently hold the CSP credential as well as those who are due to renew their credential must take the exam until all CSP credential holders have taken and passed the exam once. To help you prepare for the exam, a CSP Candidate Handbook is available to download here. It includes test-taking tips, an exam content outline, a list of resources, and sample questions. In addition, Castle provides candidates an opportunity to simulate the online exam experience using Scrum-related test items. This 35-question practice test is available for $20 here.
You must satisfy three eligibility criteria to apply for the CSP credential: (1) be a current holder of the CSM, CSPO, or CSD credential; (2) have a minimum of 2000 hours of Scrum-related work in the past two years; (3) maintain a current Scrum Alliance membership. The registration fee for CSP candidacy is $300. When your eligibility has been confirmed and you have paid the registration fee, you will receive an invitation from Castle to schedule the location, date, and time for the required CSP exam.
License and Certificate
You will receive your CSP exam results at the proctored test site immediately after you have completed and submitted your exam. If you pass, you will receive a confirmation email from Scrum Alliance with a link to read and accept the CSP License Agreement, the last step before your new credential is confirmed. Once you accept the License Agreement, you will be able to download your CSP certificate directly from your dashboard. Your new credential will be effective for two years from the date that you pass the CSP exam.
If you do not pass the exam the first time, you may schedule another testing appointment after three months. The examination retake fee is $300 and must be paid before rescheduling.
Once you have taken and passed the CSP exam, you must renew your credential every two years.
The Scrum Education Unit Program is expected to be in place during the first quarter of 2014, once we have considered results from our pilot process. Until then and for current CSPs needing to renew their certification, please follow the official renewal process, which entails a $300 fee. Once SEUs are active, recertification will be based on the successful completion of the required SEUs.
CSP Examination Process FAQs:
Q1: Once candidate applications have been approved, how do they schedule their exams?
A1: Once CSP candidate applications have been approved, candidates will receive an email invitation from Castle Worldwide (from email@example.com) with a link to the exam registration form, which includes access to the list of locations, dates and times available for the CSP exam. The list of proctored testing sites is also available (see A6 below for exam registration steps).
Q2: Does an existing CSP whose certification is due for renewal have to take the exam?
A2: No. From May 31, 2012 forward, as their existing credentials are due to expire, CSPs may renew by paying the CSP renewal fee and are not required to take the exam. Each renewal thereafter will follow the new PDU program once it is announced. If you are currently a CSP, check your expiration date on your Scrum Alliance web site dashboard (www.scrumalliance.org). If your credential has not yet expired, you have up to 90 days after your expiration date to renew and maintain your original certification date. If your credential has already expired, you have until July 31, 2012 to renew and maintain your original CSP certification date. NOTE: The ability to renew via your dashboard will not be available until mid-June 2012. If you have already expired or do so in July, you will receive an email notice as soon as the renewal option is available.
Q3: If a CSP candidate has registered and paid but cannot locate a testing location, will Scrum Alliance refund the exam registration fee?
A3: It is most helpful if the potential CSP candidate reviews the list of worldwide proctored testing sites before registering and paying. Note that the list on Castle’s link is not exhaustive, so if you do not find a site near enough to your location, contact Castle with your request (see A7 below). Consider locations that are not only near your home or office, but those that may be near a location where you may be traveling for work or pleasure. If you have already paid and cannot locate a site after consulting with Castle, Scrum Alliance will refund the exam registration fee.
Q4: I understand that I can take the CSP exam online – may I do that from home?
A4: No. The CSP requires an online exam held only at proctored test sites around the world. The exam will not be available online from your home or work desktop, as it's important for us to assure that the person taking the exam is the person whose name will be on the certification. To find the location nearest your home, work, or travel location, visit the list of proctored testing sites from our testing partner, Castle Worldwide. Note that the list on Castle’s link is not exhaustive, so if you do not find a site near enough to your location, contact Castle with your request (see A6 below).
Q5: When will I get my CSP exam results?
A5: Immediately after you complete and submit your exam at your proctored test site.
Q6: What is the passing score for the CSP exam?
A6: This varies depending on the exam form and test-takers’ performance. The CSP examination results are interpreted using a criterion-referenced process called “scaling.” CSP exam results range from a low of 300 to a high of 600, with a passing point of 450. A criterion-referenced interpretation means that the score conveys information about an individual test-taker on specific subject matter regardless of other test-takers' scores.
There are two types of test scores: raw scores and scaled scores. A raw score is a score without any sort of adjustment or transformation, such as the simple number of questions answered correctly. A scaled score is the result of some transformation applied to the raw score. Scrum Alliance uses scaled scores to report test-taker results on the CSP exam.
The purpose of scaled scores is to report scores for all tests-takers on a consistent scale. The CSP examination forms vary in difficulty depending on the exam items that are assigned to each. Based on the performance of many test-takers on individual questions, a statistical process is used to determine the difficulty of individual items as well as the difficulty of the overall exam form.
To assure that all test-takers receive scores that are equivalent across the exam forms, scores on the forms are converted to a scale so that the equivalent scores have the same reported scores. For example, a raw score of 65% on an exam form whose items have been determined to be more difficult and a raw score of 70% on another exam form whose items have been determined to be less difficult are both “equated” as a score of 450 on a scale of 300 to 600.
Two well-known tests in the United States that have scaled scores are the ACT and the SAT. The ACT's scale ranges from 0 to 36 and the SAT's from 200 to 800 (per section). These two scales were selected to represent a mean andstandard deviation of 18 and 6 (ACT), and 500 and 100. The upper and lower bounds were selected because an interval of plus or minus three standard deviations contains more than 99% of a population. Scores outside that range are difficult to measure and return little practical value. Note that scaling does not affect the psychometric properties of a test. It is something that occurs after the assessment process and equating are completed.
Q7: How may I find and schedule my nearest test site outside the United States or Canada?
A7: Follow these steps:
1. Upon receiving your Notice to Schedule (NTS) from Castle Worldwide, log in to the scheduling website. On the right-hand side of the screen you will see a drop-down menu. You may select the country in which you would like to take the examination from this menu.
2. If you do not see the country for which you are searching on this menu, click on the "More International Sites" button. This button will bring up a new page with three drop-down menus and more international sites. You may choose your site from the menus as well as three possible dates on which you would like to test. Within five (5) business days, Castle will issue a confirmation notice for one of the preferred sites/dates. If none of the requested sites/dates are available, Castle will offer an alternate site/date for your approval. Upon approval, Castle will issue a confirmation notice.
3. If you would like to request a location that is not available in either menu, please email Castle at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. Castle cannot guarantee availability of any international site/date during the designated testing period, nor can Castle guarantee that a location will be established in your requested city.
Q8: You provide a vast reading list for people taking the new CSP exam. Are these simply a selection of books you recommend to choose from, or are you suggesting we should have read every one of them before taking the exam?
A8: The reading list included in the CSP Candidate Handbook includes resources used to write the examination questions as well as authoritative references recommended for a broad understanding of Scrum processes. Everyone prepares a bit differently to take a professional exam. We recommend that you read Appendixes C (Content Outline) and D (Examination Preparation) in the Candidate Handbook, then identify the references in Appendix A (Recommended Resources) that will strengthen your understanding of any content on the examination in which you have less knowledge or experience. Also, consider taking the 50-question online exam offered by Castle, our testing partner. For a fee of $50 (administered by Castle), you will have the opportunity to simulate the online testing experience as well as answer Scrum-related questions sampled from all sections of the exam. Note: none of the questions on the practice exam will ever appear on the actual exam you take.
Q9: What are the CSP eligibility requirements for work experience?
A9: How to record your Scrum experience:
You need a minimum of 12 months (2,000 hours) of experience using Scrum principles and processes in the workplace during the most recent past two years to be eligible for the CSP credential. This may include leading or working on a Scrum team in any role. Use the steps below to assure you document your work experience accurately.
1. Log in to your Scrum Alliance dashboard.
2. Click on “Add Work History.”
3. Under the “Work Experience” heading, click on “Add Work Experience.”
4. Complete the details for each field in the pop-up window (Company Name, Role, Job Begin/End Dates, etc.).
5. In the “Description” field, be sure to describe clearly for each Work Experience the projects in which you participated in any Scrum role, including how much time (days/weeks/months) was required to complete the project. If you cannot provide an exact total, a close approximation will do (“one month of full-time work” vs. “160 hours”).
6. Your Scrum-related Work Experience should total no less than one year or 2000 work hours.
a. Software Developer at Lightning Computing Services, Inc. -- East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA;
August 2010 - Present --Various software developer roles including Embedded C and C++ developer. C#.Net developer, ASP.Net developer, Scrum Team member on various teams full-time from August 2010 to December 2011. ScrumMaster on a new software development team from January 2012 to present.
b. Program Developer at Southwest Airlines -- Phoenix, Arizona, USA
February 2010 – Present (all projects listed are full-time)
February – July 2010: ScrumMaster for team responsible to deliver promotions management strategies for customer service retail products.
August – November 2010: Scrum Team member on team responsible for delivering marketing plan for system-wide customer service process improvements.
December 2010 – February 2011: Scrum Team member on team responsible for automated customer check-in kiosk experience.
c. Project Expediter at Cisco Systems, Inc. --Munich, Germany
March 2011 – present: Concept, design and implementation of components that visualize and evaluate data and extend an existing software package for digital classification. The IT system is very extensive. It is comprised of numerous hardware devices and software tools to make it easy to work with the system. Many departments are involved in this work, and it is my job to separate complex tasks into smaller tasks to manage them easily and assign them to other team members. We use Scrum to manage these tasks and respond quickly to changes.