How is passing/failing the NSCA CSCS exam determined?
The total scaled score will determine whether the candidate passed. This scaled score is statistically derived from the raw score and can range from 1 through 99. The passing scaled score is 70 for the exam. The reason for calculating scaled scores is that different forms (or versions) of the exam may vary in difficulty.
As new forms of the exam are introduced, a certain number of questions in each content area are replaced by new questions. These changes may cause one form of the exam to be slightly easier or more difficult than another form. To adjust for these differences in difficulty, a procedure called “equating” is used. The goal of equating is to ensure fairness to all candidates.
The experts evaluate each question on the exam to determine how many correct answers are necessary to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to pass the exam. A candidate’s ability to pass the exam depends on the amount of knowledge displayed and is not based upon the performance of others taking the exam (i.e., the exam is not based on a “curve”).