Exam Development Options

Testing Services

Exam Development: Designed to meet your needs

To become a testing client, your program must be an ABC Certification Program Member.

To meet the individual needs of your program, clients have the option of using ABC’s standardized exams or to develop client-customized exams.

Standardized Exams

ABC’s national standardized exams are developed in accordance with the ISO 17024 standard in order to ensure the validity, reliability, and legal defensibility of the certification exams.  With professional psychometric oversight and guidance, ABC’s technical committees develop the national standardized exams through a rigorous process (depicted at right) that begins with a national job task analysis identifying the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities that a professional in the field ought to possess.

ABC staff and technical committees monitor the performance of standardized examination questions and examinee comments throughout the term of their use to identify and address any issues. Clients using standardized exams are assured that they are always using the most updated version of exam questions


Program-Specific Module for Standardized Exams

ABC understands that some programs must meet state and provincial regulations which require their exams to include program-specific questions. The Program-Specific Module (PSM) option allows programs to take advantage of ABC’s standardized exams while adding a section of program-specific questions (10 or 20) to the 100-point standardized exam.

Programs can select questions they feel are important for an operator in their region to know and ABC will provide separate scores for the additional section so certifiers are able to assess strong and weak areas of performance on both the standardized and region-specific content.

By using a standardized exam plus PSM, opera­tor certification programs can more easily grant reciprocity as incoming operators who are licensed in other jurisdictions using a stan­dardized exam only need to be tested on the region-specific questions for their new state or province.  The PSM is available at no additional cost when combined with a standardized exam.



The customized exam development option allows you to create an exam unique to your program.  Developed by ABC staff according to your specifications, the exam is tailored to your program’s specific technology and regulatory requirements. A customized exam may include any combination of ABC questions and your program’s questions.  ABC maintains approximately 350 backflow, 4,300 water treatment, 4,500 wastewater treatment, 3,000 distribution, 1,600 collection, and 600 very small water system questions that may be used for exam development.  

Your program is responsible for providing the information and specifications necessary for ABC to develop a customized exam, selecting the questions that appear on the customized exam, and ensuring that the customized exam is valid and meets any applicable legal requirements.  ABC does not validate customized exams or make any representations or warranties regarding the validity of customized exams.  If your program provides ABC with examination questions or other examination materials, ABC has no responsibility to verify the accuracy of those questions or materials.