Thursday, 5 April 2012

Key Steps to Building a Certification Program: Developing Testing Programs and Marketing Strategies

Testing Program:
When selecting an assessment method, it is important to consider what it will assess, how appropriate it is from the psychometric perspective, whether it is going to be accepted by candidates and organizations, and how much it costs. In Certification Industry Scan, Knapp & Associates (2007) found that 97% of certifying bodies administered a written examination as one form of individual assessment and that in almost all cases, the written examinations included multiple-choice questions.

For a certification program to avoid opposition, it is critical that its assessments tools be legally defensible and psychometrically sound. Assessment tools must be related to the competencies required for performance on the job. They must measure that for which they are intended (content validity) and do so consistently (reliability). Assessment tools must also be fair and free from bias toward candidates from designated groups. To ensure the soundness of the assessment tools, their development should be guided by testing and measurement specialists. Also, when possible, it is recommended to pilot test the content of the assessment tool to ensure it delivers intended outcomes.

Develop Marketing and Communication Strategies:
To successfully promote a program and stimulate uptake, it is necessary for certification bodies to create awareness of the certification, to reinforce the desired image of the program, and to counter competition. To accomplish these tasks, certification bodies need to clearly identify their target market, know their stakeholders, position the certification such that all stakeholders clearly perceive the features and benefits of the program, and create value both in the form of tangible (e.g., job promotion, safety of the public) and intangible benefits (e.g., pride in occupation; Knapp & Knapp, 2002).

This post is based on content from 'ABC's of Certification' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

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