You may have heard that the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is in the process of launching an official sustainability certification program, filling a gap in the industry. This program has been in the works for some time, and after surveying professionals in the sustainability field and working out the preliminary kinks, ISSP launched the ISSP Certification beta exams for its entry-level ISSP Sustainability Associate and advanced ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional programs in November 2015. ISSP hosted its monthly info session on Dec. 8 to recap the findings of the beta and talk about next steps.
ISSP Sustainability Associate Certification – Beta, Round 1
There were 153 candidates who took the ISSP-SA beta exam. Following this process, ISSP made several changes to the exam registration and application processes. They found that common areas of study for ISSP-SA candidates are:
- Environmental Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Urban Planning
Other demographic information regarding the ISSP Certification beta exam candidates is as follows:
ISSP will use psychometric analysis to create the ISSP-SA “cut score” – that is, the passing score. This requires reviewing results for all questions, removing questions determined not usable, and asking an expert panel to evaluate remaining questions.
The cut score should be determined by Dec. 15 (in less than a week), but ISSP probably won’t announce the first cohort of ISSP-SA credential holders until mid-late December.
ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional Certification – Beta
Within ISSP’s sustainability certification program, only candidates who pass the ISSP-SA exam will be able to go on to the advanced ISSP-CSP exam. Given that the cut scores haven’t yet been determined, the ISSP Certification beta exams are only available to ISSP members, and from there, only ISSP members who took the ISSP-SA exam could go on to take the ISSP-CSP exam. Of the 153 ISSP-SA beta candidates, only 62 proceeded to the ISSP-CSP level. Everblue’s Vince DiFrancesco, Steve Alfaro, and Joan Darvish-Rouhani were among the 62 ISSP-CSP candidates.
As with the ISSP-SA beta process, the ISSP-CSP beta exam revealed some areas of improvement regarding the exam registration and application processes. ISSP has since updated those processes.
The cut score for ISSP-CSP should be determined by early January, with the announcement of the first cohort slated for mid-late Jan.
ISSP Education Partners
A committee for the ISSP Certification Educational Partners Program launched this week, with Everblue President Vince DiFrancesco sitting as co-chair. The committee has been tasked with creating a program description and application process. They hope to launch the education partners program in January 2016.
The purpose of the ISSP Education Partners program is to identify organizations that provide quality sustainability education and work with them to continually improve offerings to align with the needs of sustainability practitioners, aspiring sustainability practitioners, and the organizations that hire sustainability practitioners. In short, the ISSP Education Partners will provide quality training to professionals that will give them real-world skills and knowledge to pass the ISSP Certification exams.
ISSP Sustainability Associate Certification Beta, Round 2
In an effort to evaluate the changes made from the initial beta, ISSP will launch a second beta exam for ISSP Sustainability Associate. This process will help to provide additional data for additional psychometric analysis. The cut score for the second beta will be based on the first beta results, so the turnaround time will be much faster for second beta candidates. They can expect to receive news of whether they’ve passed within 2 business days. Please note: The second ISSP-SA beta is again only open to ISSP members. The cost will be the same as the first ISSP-SA beta, at $100. It is a 2-hour test with 75 questions.
As for the remaining 91 ISSP-SA beta candidates who did NOT go on to take the ISSP-CSP beta exam, they wil have to wait for the official launch of ISSP-CSP to take that exam. Prices for the non-beta exams have not yet been determined but will likely be more than the price of the beta exams. The beta cost for ISSP-CSP was $200.
The ISSP Sustainability Certification exams are scheduled to debut in second quarter of 2016.
There will be a 3-year recertification process for both ISSP Sustainability Associate and ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional. ISSP is still working on the actual requirement but have said that it will be similar to the requirement of other certification programs. ISSP members are encouraged to supply suggestions. The requirement will likely be determined by the ISSP Education Partners.
ISSP Exam Prep Material
Currently, the only material available from ISSP is the Candidate Handbook (free). The handbook, however, is NOT a study guide. It’s more about the certification process and includes a brief outline of exam topics. There are no test questions included in the candidate handbook. The handbook will be updated by January with feedback from the first beta exam.
ISSP is planning to develop a study guide. More ISSP Exam Prep material will be available once the Education Partners program officially launches. Everblue hopes to take a more active role with ISSP exam prep and plans to launch training for ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP. Stay tuned!