Certification Frequently Asked Questions
Testing & Assessments
- What is Pearson VUE?
- When can I start taking a SPēD Certification assessment at a commercial testing facility?
- It's been more than 15 days. Why haven't I been approved to test yet?
- My Request for Authorization to Test form was approved. Now what?
- It looks as though my form was rejected, what does that mean?
- It looks as though my request to test was denied, what does that mean?
- How do I prepare for an assessment?
- Are there any test-taking tips I should employ?
- How do I cancel or reschedule my assessment?
- How do I find out the result of my assessment?
- What is a cut score?
- Does CDSE in Linthicum still deliver assessments?
- Will there still be large-scale public testing events at security conferences?
What is Pearson VUE?
The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE) has partnered with Pearson VUE to deliver SPēD Certification assessments through their comprehensive and secure network at over 900 sites worldwide, including many DoD bases. Pearson VUE provides DSS the capability to offer SPēD Certification assessments at dates, times, and locations convenient for candidates.
When can I start taking a SPēD Certification assessment at a commercial testing facility?
SPēD Certification assessments are now available through Pearson VUE. To schedule an assessment, begin by checking the box in the Profile section of your Security Training, Education, and Professionalization Portal (STEPP) account indicating your desire to participate in the SPēD Certification Program. Then follow the directions in the email you receive 24 to 48 hours later.
It's been more than 15 days. Why haven't I been approved to test yet?
After 15 days, contact your DoD Component SPēD PMO for assistance.
My Request for Authorization to Test form was approved. Now what?
Log in to your My SPēD Certification account. Click on the "Schedule Exam" link on the left navigation to schedule your assessment. Alternatively, you may contact Pearson Customer Support at 888-477-0284 to schedule your assessment.
It looks as though my form was rejected, what does that mean?
Re-submit your form after completing the requested actions in the messaging you receive.
It looks as though my request to test was denied, what does that mean?
If your request was denied, you were not authorized to test. Contact your DoD Component SPēD PMO if you have additional questions.
How do I prepare for an assessment?
Select the Prepare for SPēD Certification link and choose the desired certification to find Competency Preparatory Tools and Resources. Competency Preparatory Tools include a Knowledge Test, Experience Checklist, and Sample Test. Resources include the Candidate Handbook and the Areas of Expertise, which identify the courses, information, and materials available to assist you in increasing your proficiency within each of the five security functional categories (General, Industrial, Information, Personnel, and Physical).
Are there any test-taking tips I should employ?
- Do what is needed to feel comfortable and relaxed before the test. Check out the location in advance, get enough rest, eat a good meal, etc.
- Arrive at least 20 minutes before the scheduled test time.
- Trust first impressions; do not overanalyze questions.
- If uncertain about a question, return to it later; if you are still uncertain, make an educated guess. You are not penalized for guessing.
- Do not look for answer patterns.
- Do not select an answer based on length.
- Do not rush. Consider each choice before selecting the best one.
- Use your time well. Extra points are not awarded for finishing early.
How do I cancel or reschedule my assessment?
To cancel or reschedule an assessment, sign in to your Pearson VUE testing account. At your homepage, click on the appointment you wish to cancel or reschedule and follow the system prompts. You may also call Pearson VUE at 1-888-477-0284 to cancel or reschedule.
If you cancel less than 24 hours before your appointment or do not appear at your scheduled time, you will be required to wait 90 days before resubmitting a request for authorization to test.
Please note, cancellations or rescheduling cannot be made through the test center, your DoD Component SPēD Program Management Office (PMO), or the DSS SPēD Certification Branch. All changes must be made through Pearson VUE.
How do I find out the result of my assessment?
Assessment results are provided immediately upon completion of your test.
A copy of your score report is also available in your My SPēD Certification account. Click the "Schedule Exam" link on the left navigation, then select "View Score Reports" under "My Account."
What is a cut score?
The Angoff method is used to set the minimum passing score for the core SPēD Certification assessments. The Angoff method has a well-established history of determining creditable passing standards for multiple-choice examinations. The method involves two basic elements: conceptualization of a minimally competent examinee and using subject matter experts (SMEs) to estimate whether a minimally competent examinee will answer an item correctly.
Given this, a panel of SMEs makes predictions for each item on the SPēD Certification assessment, and the average ratings given by the SMEs on each item sets the minimum passing score for the assessment. Results of the Angoff method establish the foundation for the provisional cut score. The provisional cut score is then calibrated using data collected during the beta test phase.
Does CDSE in Linthicum still deliver assessments?
No. All SPēD certification assessments are delivered via the CDSE commercial testing vendor, Pearson VUE.
Will there still be large-scale public testing events at security conferences?
No. CDSE has authorized over 1,000 sites worldwide, including on many DoD bases, with our commercial testing vendor. Please request an authorization to test from My SPēD Certification (MSC). After approval, log in to your MSC account and click on the "Schedule Exam" link on the left navigation to schedule your assessment. Alternatively, you may contact Pearson Customer Support at 888-477-0284 to schedule your assessment.