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Recent Blog Posts

Innovative Item Types: Strengths and Weakness

May 11, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Do you have multiple choice items that are not accurately assessing the content of an exam?  If so you may want to implement innovative items.  In our workshop at the 2015 ATP Conference we presented four innovative item types, along with when each one should be used.

The key factor that should be considered before adding an innovative item type is whether it can improve the measurement quality of the exam.  The first step in implementing innovative items is choosing the right type.  To help guide your decision on which types to implement, it is helpful to have a general understanding of the structure, strengths, and weaknesses of each item type.

Careful Selection of Subject Matter Experts is the Key to a Successful JTA Meeting

April 29, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

A job/task analysis is (JTA) is a very close look at a job, portion of a job, or concept job in order to identify the tasks and associated knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required to competently perform the job.  A JTA is the foundation for the development of a certification program or a certificate program.  Only after the KSAs have been identified can a certification body or educational program determine how to measure competence of the KSAs or how to teach the KSAs.  There are multiple methods for conducting a JTA including using focus groups, structured interviews, job shadowing and observations, and surveying practitioners.  When conducting a JTA as the basis for a certification program, the method used is not as important as making sure the right subject-matter-experts (SMEs) participate in the process. 

Has Your Board Been Immunized?

April 21, 2015  | By  | 1 Comment

Occupational regulation has experienced a remarkable level of expansion over the past several decades and the public protection role of occupational regulation has generally been accepted as the logically justifiable rationale for its creation.

Indeed a large body of economic literature has shown that free markets for professional services may not produce efficient outcomes resulting from market failures of information asymmetries, natural monopolies and externalities that harm the public.

While common ground can be found in a market failure rationale for regulatory intervention, much of the regulatory power at the State level rests with occupational licensing boards, whose members consist of active participants in the profession being regulated. Licensing boards regularly meet to establish and maintain requirements for entry into hundreds of occupations. Scholarly research on the effects of this structure in occupational regulation have concluded that among its unwanted consequences is the creation of industry captured cartels, limiting competition and increasing costs to consumers, without a proportional welfare benefit in terms of quality or safety.

Does Livestreaming Have a Place in Certification Programs?

April 17, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

In March a livestreaming video platform by the name of Meerkat exploded at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, just two weeks after its initial launch. Shortly after Meerkat’s SXSW debut, Periscope, another live video streaming app recently acquired by Twitter, made a grab for the spotlight. As these new platforms for learning evolve we must ask ourselves, does livestreaming play a role in certification programs? We believe they can.

The Role Error Plays in Candidates’ Scores

April 8, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

A candidate’s observed score can be broken down into two components: their true score and an error component. The error component of observed scores can be further split into two types, random and systematic.  Random errors of measurement affect candidates’ scores purely by chance, such as the room temperature where a candidate is testing, the candidate’s anxiety level or misreading a question. However, systematic errors of measurement are factors that consistently impact a candidate’s scores.  For example, when measuring a candidate’s math skill level through word problems, the candidate’s reading level could have an impact on their scores.  If the same test on math ability was administered over and over again to the same candidate under the same conditions this error would continue to be exhibited. 

Transitioning an Exam Program in the Modern Age

April 1, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Transitioning an exam program from paper to computer-based administrations may appear to be a very straightforward process but there are a variety of variables to consider when a sponsor is making this decision.

Five Key Tenets for Governing Certification Boards

March 25, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Governing a certification board takes a special set of skills members of your certification board may not be familiar with, or even experienced in leadership positions they’ve held.  Often members of the certification board come from the profession and may have held leadership positions within related associations and societies—this is great exposure.  But while they may understand the dynamics of their profession, even those with experience serving on boards will benefit from having their responsibilities described in the particular context of certification.  Consider orienting your certification leadership to these key tenets in governing certification programs before their service begins (frequent reminders are also a good idea!)

Alternative Item Types – The Big Picture

March 18, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Alternative item types (AIT) is a catch-all term, and can refer to any item type that's new or a bit different from the standard multiple choice (MC) item. AITs are sometimes called innovative item types or technology-enhanced items.

This post is the first in a planned series on AITs. In this post we’ll consider why program staff might want to add AITs to an exam program and a useful approach to designing the item types so that they will be successful. Future posts will address some popular AITs individually, along with other factors to consider when implementing new item types.

Your Certificants are Your Best Marketers

March 11, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

You have built your certification program from the ground up: from conducting market research to calculating the ROI of your program. You have identified experts to enhance the profile of your program and recruited customers to build a network of certificants. The next logical step forward is expanding your program. While traditional forms of marketing and advertising are necessary for program growth, no program can make it on its own.  It is increasingly important for you to look to your certificants as ambassadors and equip them with the tools to bring recognition and credibility to your program.

Helping your certificants market their certification also helps establish good will between you and the certificate holders and helps underscore their value in investing in this certification. It is a way that you can remind your certificants that they have made a commitment to their career and personal development by seeking out certification, that their new credentials are a representation of having achieved and exceeded industry standards for skill and knowledge, and that your program is here to support them.

Creating Profitable Certification Programs

February 25, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Certification is a buzzword in the assn world and few would argue that offering a certification isn’t a great idea. Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of certifications (in the thousands) develop across industries and professions with nonprofits leading the way. But many nonprofits do not create a business and marketing plan that realistically outlines the long-term investment needed to develop and sustain a profitable program.