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Certification and Licensure Examinations: Norm Referenced or Criterion Referenced?

August 26, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Examinations can be split into two types: norm referenced and criterion referenced.  Norm referenced examinations compare each examinee’s score to a normative sample.  Criterion referenced exams compare each examinee’s score to an established standard.  Let’s think of each of these types of exams in terms of running a race.  Typically, when people come out and participate in a race they are being evaluated based on the performance of everyone else in the race. This process is similar to how examinees are evaluated on a norm referenced examination.  Whoever crosses the finishes line first will be considered the winner of the race regardless of what time they cross the finish line.




Competencies as a Common Language

August 19, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

By: Roy Swift, Ph.D., Executive Director, Workcred - an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Credentials hold the power to build education and career paths. But the last decade has seen enormous growth in the number and variety of labor market credentials – college degrees, educational certificates, industry certifications, occupational licenses, and micro-credentials such as badges. This growth has fueled confusion among students, workers, job seekers, and employers who are left to navigate the “credentialing maze” without a guiding compass.




Reliability and Decision Consistency

August 12, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

There are many philosophical debates as to what constitutes validity or the validity of test score inferences. Within certification we hear things like “a job analysis is typically conducted every five years unless the content changes more or less frequently.” You may have also heard that more than eight SMEs are required for test development activities, while others suggest six or more is sufficient. Some suggest that SMEs should not overlap with separate test development meetings.  So in essence psychometricians will typically say “it depends” in response to questions about the appropriate way to design a certification examination program.