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Credentialing Services

Association Options’ Credentialing Services include the design, conduct, and evaluation of processes used to identify and measure the skills and knowledge of targeted groups. Services encompass developing a business case, conducting a job task analysis, setting eligibility and maintenance requirements, codifying the body of knowledge, describing the domains and their supporting performances, setting standards, creating and validating assessments, and evaluating the effectiveness of a credential. Services may include creating preparation materials. Our services apply rules for controlling sampling, content, construct, and administrative errors essential for valid data.

Association Options has developed innovative tools and methods for developing standards, identifying competencies, determining the level of a job, fairly conducting merit reviews, assessing work portfolios, and defining the environmental factors that influence job performance. We have experience developing credentials for small populations. Here is some information about what distinguishes our work as it relates to certification.

  1. Our processes and criteria related to certification are documented. The documentation addresses feasibility, business case, governance, administration, assessment and testing, analysis and validation, remediation, rewards, benefits, and public relations, and communication. The benefits? You get a model you can use for other jobs and a way to communicate the scope of the initiative to management.
  2. We build on the work you have already done (competencies, training, tests, etc.) and the technological systems you have in place (electronic communication, testing, conferencing, tracking, registration, etc.) rather than requiring you to start over. The benefit? You can leverage your investments to date.
  3. We encourage you to base the qualification process on proven performance over time instead of or in addition to a test score. Where appropriate, we incorporate training and testing as steps in the process. The tests can include simulations, problem scenarios, check of work performed or produced, and the other more typical methods (multiple-choice, etc.). The benefit is a more defensible process that can be linked to a business driver and is easier to maintain.
  4. We encourage you to incorporate multiple criteria such as productivity measures (time at task, volume of work produced, etc.), customer satisfaction measures, quality measures (accuracy, compliance, etc.), process measures (cycle time and response time), financial measures (costs avoided, within budget, etc.), etc. In addition to strengthened defensibility, the benefit is a process that provides a legitimate platform to question expectations, assure consistent direction from management, challenge the adequacy of support systems, and confirm what will be accepted as evidence of proficiency and by whom.
  5. We have standards and proven methods for:
  • Selecting and writing items including multiple choice, fill-in, matching, and performance checklists.
  • Setting pass scores and doing item analysis.
  • Validating tests and test administrative procedures.
  • Qualifying jurors.
  • Identifying competencies and developing performance standards.
  • Determining the level of a job.
  • Fairly conducting merit reviews.
  • Defining the environmental factors that influence job performance.

Research Services

Doing a Job Analysis? Practice Analysis? Industry Study? Consider Association Options’ Research Services.

Association Options’ research services include the design and conduct of studies to identify trends and make recommendations. The methods include literature searches, surveys, interviews, observations, and the facilitation of discussion groups and strategic planning sessions. The data derived are analyzed and the resulting information is used for presentations and publication.

Association Options conducts literature searches related to current social, economic, health, credentialing, and workforce trends. The literature searches include papers published by international groups such as the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the European Commission, and the like; professional and trade associations; government entities such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics; universities and research institutes such as Georgetown University; private entities such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, Accenture, and Deloitte; and the Business press, such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and the like. Association Options does qualitative analyses of the findings, summarizes the findings, and prepares reports and presentation materials.

Association Options conducts proprietary studies for clients that include polling stakeholders, observing work tasks, and analyzing industry reports. The studies incorporate a range of data gathering methods such as surveys, individual interviews (open, structured, critical incident, sociogram), group interviews and discussions (Focus, Delphi, and Nominal Group Technique), literature searches, and observations. The findings are analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively, summarized, and documented for publication and presentation.

The output of the research is used to inform leaders and for the job task practice analysis phase of designing credentials.  The outputs are also used for developing training, talent management, and recruiting strategies.

What distinguishes Association Options’ research is its thoroughness and readability by the intended user.

Psychometric Services

Want to validate your tests?  Interpret test scores? Confirm the equitability of test forms?  Interpret survey data? Apply qualitative and quantitative analyses to your data? Consider using Association Options’ Psychometrics Services.

Association Options’ Psychometric Services include the statistical analysis of data derived from: 1) surveys, interviews, and focus groups, and 2) test results. Statistical treatments, formulae, are applied to the data to: 1) weight domains for test blueprints; 2) set standards and pass scores; and 3) measure the validity of test and assessment results, the difficulty of test items, and the reliability of test forms and methods (inter-rater, test-retest, parallel forms, internal consistency, and the like).

Association Options’ psychometric services also include training subject matter experts in how to develop tests, designing research and job analyses studies, analyzing test and research data, and documenting findings with recommendations.

Training. Association Options has training on how to develop response supplied items such as, multiple-choice, matching, and drag and drop. It also has training on how to develop performance-based tests and their supporting scoring tools such as checklists and rubrics. The performance-based tests include evaluating physical and cognitive behaviors demonstrated in simulations, oral interviews, lab exercises, games, job tasks, and the like. The training includes workbooks, practice exercises, quality controls tools, examples and non-examples. The training can be delivered in-person and virtually.

Association Options offers the Mini Assessment Series that consists of short webinars ranging from 45 to 90 minutes.  Topics include Multiple-choice Items, Performance Items, Checklists, and Rubrics. Visit Events to find out more and to register. Training can also be scheduled at a time convenient for you and your staff.

Association Options also offers the Mini Data Gathering Series. It consists of short webinars ranging from 45 to 75 minutes. Topics include Operational Definitions, Observational Interviews, Sociograms, and Critical-Incident Interviews. Training can also be scheduled at a time convenient for you and your staff.

Analytic, Psychometric, and Evaluation Analyses. Association Options performs psychometric treatments to test, survey, interview, and research data. The analyses of test data measure the validity and reliability of tests, the difficulty of test items and tests, the internal consistency of test items, the equivalency of test forms, the significance of findings, and the degree test results correlate with other external measures. The analyses of survey, interview, and other data gathering methods determines the significance of findings, the differences across populations, and the frequency and classification of themes.

Statistical treatments include but are not limited to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to determine the standard error and standard deviations of samples of 20 or more such in test items or test scores; Rank Correlation Coefficient (Rho) to discover if there is a relationship between two sets of variables such as passing rates and errors rates; t Test of Dependent Variables to determine gains or growth in skills or knowledge; Chi Square Goodness of Fit to determine if there are significant differences in samples as small as six with what is expected; P tests to identify underperforming items, and Chronbach’s Alpha to measure internal consistency of items and reliability of tests.

Design. Association Options also offers advice on the design of job and research studies and use of statistical treatments. Association Options focuses on controlling sampling, content, construct, and administrative error.  Sampling error occurs with stakeholders are under or not adequately represented. The Center recommends the most appropriate sampling strategy given the goals of the study or analysis such as random, stratified, convenience, and representative.

Content error occurs with the line of inquiry is not related to the goals of the study. Construct error occurs with the form of the inquiry is ill-formed, misleading, or does not follow the principles of Plain Language. Administrative error occurs when there is a lack of consistency in the administration of tests or lines of inquiry.

What distinguishes Association Options’ psychometric services is the integrity of the design, line of inquiry, and analysis of the findings.

Editorial Services

Want logical, readable training materials? Policy and Procedure Manuals? Instructions to test takers? Test items?  Consider using Association Options’ editorial services.

Association Options’ Editorial Services include the drafting, revising, and editing of test items, scoring devices (checklists and rubrics), instructions (applications, test taking, appeals), and governance and ethics documents (policies, operating procedures, by-laws, charters). Association Options follows the practices proposed by the Plain Language and Global English Standards (clear and concise). Association Options’ editorial services include developmental editing, copy editing, and proof reading.

Developmental editing. The focus of developmental editing is to assure consistent structure of the content and linguistic style. This is especially challenging when a group of people write the material. Developmental editing strives for a single voice. Structure is about the logical organization of the content both for the whole document and within sections and paragraphs. Consistency in style improves readability, comprehension, and retention of the content. The addition of relevant graphics, examples, and stories also improves comprehension and retention.

Developmental editing includes fact checking, consistent flow and clarity of the content, conformity in style and tone, and partial rewriting when necessary. It also includes facilitating expert scrutiny of obscure or complex concepts to assure consensus.

Copy editing. Copy editing is done to check grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and the consistent use of terms and dialect.

Proofreading. The purpose of proofreading is to identify and correct spelling, grammar, formatting, and typographical errors.

What distinguishes Association Options’ editorial services is our adherence to Plain Language and Global English Standards, keeping the reader or user in mind by striving for a reading level appropriate to the literacy level of the reader, our skill at creating a logical structure, our ability to achieve a consistent tone, and our use of graphics, stories, and examples to communicate complex concepts and procedures.

Dr. Judith Hale, Director of Accreditation and Certification leads this practice area for Association Options.

Contact us today and book your consultation