ACT Learning and Professional Services
Learning and Professional Services for Workforce
Strategic and Policy Planning
How will the credential support your organization’s mission? Is there demand for a credential? If so,what type of credential should it be? What unmet credentialing needs can your organization satisfy?
Analyzing Strategic Fit
ACT® ProExam helps you align your credentialing and organizational missions at the policy level. Our goalis to ensure consistent guidance for initial credential development, curriculum alignment, and professional development and recertification initiatives.
Evaluating Program Feasibility and Business Impact
ACT® ProExam evaluates the demand for new credentials. We consider the competitive landscape, the potential market, and key stakeholder perspectives to provide a complete picture. By integrating the results with a solid understanding of the resources required, and the potential size and growth rate of your candidate population, you can make a sound “go/no go” decision.
Expanding Your Organization’s Credentialing Portfolio
What unmet credentialing needs can your organization address? New programs may make sense as technology or market forces bring about changes in the profession. ACT® ProExam provides insight about the value of adding new credentials—including micro-credentials; assessment-based certificates; and entry-level, specialty, and advanced credentials.
Ensuring Validity and Defensibility
Does your assessment accurately reflect practice? Can it survive a legal challenge?
Conducting Practice Analysis
A detailed practice analysis study—also known as acompetency profile, job analysis or role delineation—links the real world and the focus of the credential. ACT®ProExam works with content experts through a variety of complementary methods to describe the practice area in terms of competencies and tasks, as well as knowledge and skills. We validate these descriptions through surveys of practitioners and other key stakeholders to develop a rich description of practice in the profession.
Test Specifications Development
Test specifications provide the foundation for a content valid, legally defensible examination aligned with the intent of the certification. ACT® ProExam guides you in integrating empirical data and SME judgments to produce a framework (including weightings) for test construction to ensure consistency across test forms and administrations.
Establishing a defensible cut or passing score allows your organization to distinguish among candidates of various levels of competence (for example, passing versus failing; developing versus proficient versus exemplary) and make decisions about the adequacy of performance tied to the underlying mission of the credential.
Proven Guidance: unmatched insight and expertise
ACT® ProExam guides you to the best answers for your organization’s unique situation. We leverage solid research, thoughtful strategy and decades of experience to help ensure that any program you develop will help achieve your goals. "ACT® ProExam has provided outstanding guidance in leading PEBC through several highly strategic projects, including several practice analysis studies, a CBT feasibility study, and facilitation of an RFP toselect a CBT vendor.”
John Pugsley,B.Sc. Phm., R.Ph., ACPR, Pharm.D.Registrar-Treasurer, The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada
Improving and Enhancing Established Programs
Whether you want to review a credentialing program to ensure that it’s on track or evaluate an opportunity to expand a program and take it to the next level, ACT® ProExam offers invaluable expertise and perspective.
What’s a credential’s perceived worth? How well does it meet stakeholder needs? ACT® ProExam investigates how candidates, employers, professionals and other stakeholders perceive your credential. Study results identify where a credential is delivering (or failing to deliver) value, inform strategic decision making in support of product/service development or enhancement, and guide future program marketing, all of which position you organization to attract new credential earners, and retain existing credential holders.
How well does your credential travel? ACT® ProExam draws on global experience to assess how your credential can satisfy existing or emerging needs in new geographic markets. Our studies highlight similarities and differences in practice across borders. We identify conditions for cross-border reciprocity and the need for bridging programs to address gaps.
What value can you add with approaches that go beyond an objective multiple-choice examination? ACT® ProExam designs studies to let you know how technical knowledge, performance and noncognitiveskills–such as work ethic, teamwork and emotional intelligence–should be assessed. Based on your program’s needs, we can recommend, develop, and validate innovative assessments, which might include simulations, observation-based assessments, practical examinations, and portfolios.
Earning approval from a national or international accreditation body is a challenging process. When you’re seeking accreditation for licensure, certification or assessment-based certificate programs, ACT® ProExam will guide your efforts. We perform a comprehensive audit against industry standards and accreditation criteria to evaluate a program’s strengths, weaknesses and defensibility. ACT® ProExam objectively evaluates a credentialing program against nationally and internationally recognized standards (including NCCA, ANSI/ISO,ABSNC, and others). Both a psychometric analysis of the examination and an analysis of program policies and procedures are performed to identify gaps and to recommend prioritized changes designed to refine or enhance your credentialing program.
We've partnered with ACT® ProExam with the objective of building a trusted and legally defensible credentialing program that is tied to real-world requirements. Before items can be written or exams created, a guiding connection is needed between the real world in which the credential will be used and test content. That critical link is the practice analysis study, also known as a competency profile, job analysis or role delineation.
ACT® ProExam, an ACT® affiliated company, has deep expertise in practice analysis studies, applying recognized procedures that have been developed and refined over seven decades across a range of professions, industries and institutions. All with the objective of building a trusted and legally defensible credentialing program that is tied to real-world requirements.
We start by analyzing your professional, occupational or educational space in detail. ACT® ProExam works with content experts who are recognized authorities in the Firm Foundation for Examination Validity field, carefully chosen to represent the diversity of practice and key stakeholder perspectives. Together, we build a detailed content-or process-based description of practice that includes:
- Major performance domains
- Key competencies, tasks and activities within the performance domains
- Knowledge and skills underlying demonstration of competencies and performance of tasks and activities.
We gather information using a wide range of proven techniques, such as interviews with thought leaders, daily logs, critical incidents interviews with supervisorsor recruiters, independent reviews and focus groups. We scrutinize the common threads in, and distinctive aspects of, job descriptions, curricular materials and other relevant literature within the profession or industry.
This description of practice is only the first step. The initial description is validated, following ACT® ProExam’s established – and at the same time, uniquely tailored – process.
- We work closely with you to identify a representative sample of current practitioners–locally, nationally or internationally–to take part in a web-based survey;
- Survey participants review domain, competency task-activity and knowledge-skill statements, rating them with validation scales that are designed specifically for your program, and that address frequency and criticality of task performance along with cognitive complexity and acquisition of knowledge and skills;
- We analyze the survey ratings to refine the detailed description of practice and validate profiles of your profession, highlighting similarities and differences related to professional or demographic variables such as years of experience, geographic location, industry sector and work setting.
Practice, competency or role are now accurately described. ACT® ProExam uses the ratings from the validation survey to establish weightings for the specific components of the profile of practice. Working with subject-matter experts,we review and augment the study results. This creates the foundation for developing test specifications that determine the content of your program’s examination. The examination, along with decisions that are made on experience and education requirements, leads to a valid, legally defensible credential that reflects actual responsibilities and tasks. In addition to test specifications, a practice analysis study can be used to achieve other organizational and credentialing insights:
- Establishing continuing competency or re-credentialing criteria
- Creating professional development materials
- Identifying emerging areas of practice and opportunities for specialty, advanced or other new credentials
- Evaluating the value and meaning of your credential to stakeholders.
Based on industry standards, ACT® ProExam generally recommends that a practice analysis be conducted every four to seven years. We’ll work with you to determine an appropriate time frame based on the rate of change within your profession or industry.