Compliance with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Standards requires separation between certification and any education or training function having to do with exam review. Certification programs must maintain autonomy and impartiality to avoid conflicts of interest and protect the integrity of their credential(s).
In this paper, the author addresses the NCCA Standards dealing with this issue, concentrating primarily on Standard 3 – Education, Training, and Certification. To a lesser extent, peripherally related Standards are also addressed. Details of those Standards and the author's interpretation of Standard 3 and its Essential Elements are discussed from two unique perspectives: as a submitter to the NCCA both in his own previous applications for accreditation and in his current role as an advisor to my clients, and as a reviewer of applications as a former NCCA Commissioner.
Standard 3 will be discussed in relation to: 1) the types of exam review materials that a certifying organization can offer, 2) the ways in which exam review materials can be marketed, 3) the roles that subject-matter experts (SMEs) and non-SME certification organization personnel may play regarding the development of the certification exam and exam review materials, 4) the roles that faculty from an educational program leading to certification eligibility should play in the live certification exam development process, and 5) the certifying organization’s role in the review and approval of third-party providers of education and training that may be a prerequisite to sit for the exam.
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Disclaimer: The opinions and interpretations made by the author in this paper are his own and should not be viewed as reflecting those of the NCCA and/or the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE).
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About the Author
Ronald E. Hanchar, MBA, Hanchar Consulting Services, LLC
In Ron’s previous roles as Executive Director and Director, he has managed all aspects of certification governance, program development, operations, and maintenance for several certifying organizations. As a result, the expertise he has gained continues to be sought after by those organizations needing help in the development and maintenance of their certification programs. Ron understands the importance of working with stakeholders in developing and monitoring quality certification programs to assure that they are legally defensible and psychometrically sound.
Ron obtained baccalaureate degrees in History and Business Management from Calumet College of St. Joseph’s, as well as a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Purdue University.