ICE Exchange Preview: Exams in Transition and Stakeholder Buy-In

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An interview with Carla Caro, MA, ICE Exchange co-presenter

The annual ICE Exchange, held this year in Austin, Texas, from Nov. 6-9, is right around the corner. With a variety of sessions led by subject matter experts, focusing on some of the most important topics in credentialing, there will be no shortage of opportunities to gain new insights and make connections.

We spoke with one ICE Exchange presenter, Carla Caro, MA, program director at ACT ProExam. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, she and three other co-presenters will lead the session, “Exams in Transition: Revamping your exam program while keeping your stakeholders on board.” If you work for an organization whose exams may need updating, but you’re not sure how to present new ideas to important stakeholders, this session just may help you take that next step. In this interview, Carla shares what interests her in this topic, its importance in the field, and key takeaways attendees can expect.

Why are you interested in this topic and how does it relate to the work you do?

In the Credentialing Advisory Services group at ACT ProExam, my role includes working with credentialing organizations that have to juggle feedback and opinions from multiple stakeholders – certificants, potential applicants, members of the profession, employers, Board members, regulatory bodies and educational programs. The credentialing organizations presenting in our session were making pretty major changes to the format and content of their exam programs. As part of navigating this process, we worked with these organizations to develop cohesive and persuasive communication plans to ensure that transitions were based on reasoned decisions, well-documented and, perhaps most importantly, provided assurances that the exam programs retained their rigor and relevance. This work was particularly interesting to me because working with organizations to engender support for “new and improved” exam programs expanded upon the more typical range of advisory and psychometric services I provide.

Why is this an important topic for credentialing professionals to be aware of?

Credentialing is in a period of change right now. Organizations need to stay on top of emerging technologies, changing workforce needs, new and improved testing modalities and opportunities for efficiencies, while still maintaining valid and reliable programs. We encourage groups to take a big-picture look at their exam programs to see if it’s time for tried-and-true processes and methods to be reconsidered to ensure they meet today’s requirements. This may lead to either incremental or radical changes – but in either case, a systematic, well-thought-out approach with maximum transparency will pave the way for successful implementation of changes.

Organizations need to stay on top of emerging technologies, changing workforce needs, new and improved testing modalities and opportunities for efficiencies, while still maintaining valid and reliable programs.

When it comes to working in an organization with multiple stakeholders, and essentially multiple opinions, what are some tips to for getting buy-in, while making sure all voices are heard?

Lots and lots of proactive communication is key. Presentations at conferences, regular updates on websites, newsletters and emails can provide transparency and help communicate progress on key initiatives. Direct outreach by respected organizational leaders to key stakeholder groups can also help spread the message. To make sure all perspectives are considered, groups should include broad representation on task forces, working groups, and other committees charged with implementing changes. To provide opportunities for feedback, organizations can do targeted information gathering via focus groups, short surveys, or Q&A sessions. Certificants who are concerned that changes may affect the value of their own credential are an important constituency, and their input should be acknowledged and addressed. We have found that providing transparency and two-way communication regarding the benefits and value of changes are the most effective ways to ensure buy-in – when people feel their voices are heard, they are more likely to support organizational decisions.

What are three takeaways attendees can expect to get out of your session?

Attendees will develop approaches and learn strategies to lead change and ensure buy-in from stakeholders. They will be able to identify key policy and practical considerations that may lead to re-evaluating and revamping of the format and/or content of existing credentialing exams. Attendees will also learn strategies and approaches to transitioning exams from one format or modality to another, to ensure that credentialing initiatives continue to reflect the requirements of practice most efficiently and effectively, as well as leverage current item banks and resources.

Register for the ICE Exchange

The ICE Exchange is designed for all levels of credentialing professionals in the public and private sectors and offers an opportunity to learn about some of the most pressing topics in the industry, with plenty of opportunities to network with peers. Join us this year in Austin, Texas, from November 6-9. Register here and take advantage of early bird savings through October 5.


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