I’ve read quite a bit of LEED exam feedback lately, mostly speculation about exam pass rates and the new LEED standards. The unofficial consensus seems to be that the USGBC intends to push the pass rates for the LEED exams down by making the exam harder and asking more detailed questions. The intent seems to be to maintain the integrity of the standard.
Is LEED’s Marketability at Risk?
With the massive increases in people taking the exam and becoming LEED APs, the LEED accreditation risks getting watered down in the sense that if everyone has it, then the standard is no longer something special or something to be valued.
On the flip side, the mission of the USGBC is to spread the green building standards as far and wide as possible. In many ways, their challenge for both LEED-certified buildings and individuals will be to maintain the special nature of LEED, which makes it attractive as a distinguisher in the market place while also becoming more prevalent.
It’s certainly a double-edged sword.
And as a third point, how can we make a sweeping declaration about the difficulty of the LEED exam without knowing more information about the demographic taking the exam? For example, exam pass rates will differ greatly depending on whether a candidate has LEED project experience, whether he/she studied for 1 hour versus 30 hours, and whether he/she is a good test-taker. The pass rate may not have anything to do with USGBC intentionally making the exam harder to preserve its integrity. It seems that someone out there is trying to get folks riled up; now is the perfect time, with the new LEED standards on their way.
I digress; the real point of this post is to ask for feedback from readers about what they’ve heard while attending USGBC workshops about the current LEED exam pass rates and what the new LEED standards will bring.