2017 Edition, Issue 1


2014 CSE Test Plan

The California Supplemental Examination (CSE) is administered by the California Architects Board (Board) to assure the public that licensure candidates meet the minimum standards of competency and possess the architectural knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for responding to the unique requirements and conditions in California. The foundation for developing the CSE is the Test Plan. The development process for the Test Plan follows prescribed national standards, which is required to assure the CSE is a valid and defensible examination.

The ongoing evolution of the profession and changes to contemporary practice necessitate periodic updates to the Test Plan, thus maintaining relevance of the CSE. The Board commissioned the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) to conduct an Occupational Analysis (OA) of the profession. An OA is a specialized type of job analysis generally conducted every five to seven years by surveying practitioners in order to define architectural practice in terms of job tasks that newly licensed architects must be able to safely and competently perform. The results of the OA serve as the formative basis for the Test Plan.

To collect invaluable input, OPES conducted stakeholder focus groups that included building officials, contractors, and engineers to identify qualities an architect should possess for practice in the profession. Practicing architects served as subject matter experts (SMEs) to review and analyze the information collected during the focus group sessions. The conclusions drawn by the SMEs subsequently drove the process for the development of the OA questionnaire used to identify job tasks and areas of knowledge required for practice in the profession—a critical component of the OA.

The resultant description of practice developed from the survey data functioned as the framework of an examination outline for safe and effective architectural practice in California at initial licensure. Ultimately, this culminated in a significant revision of the CSE Test Plan that eliminated any redundancy in testing.

CSE development based upon the new 2014 Test Plan has begun and commenced March 1, 2017.