The computer-generated CDA Exam is taken at a Pearson VUE Testing Center. A location near you can be found by using the Pearson VUE Website at: http://pearsonvue.com/cdaexam. You can make your appointment online or by calling 1-866-507-5627.
If you will require special accommodations related to a disability, you will need to locate and download a “CDA Exam Special Accommodations Request Form” from the Council’s website. This can be found in the Downloadable Forms and Brochures section.
This must be completed and sent to the Council BEFORE you apply for your CDA. You will indicate what type(s) of accommodations you will require and also include documented proof of your disability.
Some accommodations that are typically provided include:
- A separate testing room
- Extra testing time
- A Reader or Recorder, for individuals with mobility or vision impairments and cannot read or write on their own
When the form is completed, it is sent to the Council for approval. You will receive a response through the mail either accepting or denying your request. If it is accepted, you will mail in the Acceptance Letter along with your paper Application Form (you will not be able to apply online).
Taking the Exam costs $65. It can be canceled and rescheduled, but no later than 24 hours prior to the original appointment time. Otherwise, you will have to pay a rescheduling fee. If you happen to miss your appointment, you forfeit the fee altogether.
Remember, you cannot schedule your CDA Exam or the Verification Visit/Observation by the PD Specialist until the Council receives and approves your Application and sends you a “Ready to Schedule” email. This should not be confused with the automated email you will receive that indicates your Application was successfully submitted.
If you’re feeling a little anxious about using the Pearson VUE system to take your Exam, spend a few minutes reviewing a tutorial the Council has provided.
Knowing what to expect will help you keep your cool on Exam Day! This tutorial can also be found in the “Downloadable Forms and Brochures” section of the Council’s website.
The questions on the new exam have been revised. Although some questions are similar to those from the previous CDA process, most are more “situational” in nature. This enables you to read a short scenario or situation and then choose the best answer that describes how you would deal with it, based on your training and experience.
It is important to remember to answer the way YOU believe is appropriate, not the way your employer or director would expect you to respond. Although administrative staff should have a good understanding of developmentally appropriate practice and have had experience themselves working in an early childhood classroom, we all know this may not always be the case!
If you are a CDA trainer, a valuable exercise would be to have your students consider a number of common early childhood situations, based on the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. A good source with a wide variety of such situations can be found in the book "Ethics and the Early Childhood Educator: Using the NAEYC Code" (NAEYC). These common situations are in a card format and are excellent for group discussion.
What About My Score?
Remember, your performance on the CDA Exam is only one piece of key evidence of your competency the Council uses to make their credentialing decision. Because the Council considers your Exam results along with the PD Specialist’s evaluation of your observation and documentation collectively, you will not receive your Exam score or information on any other part of the evaluation process. The decision will be made and you will receive an email notification one way or the other. If you took the time to review and to prepare, you should have nothing to worry about, except how to celebrate your success in earning a CDA!