Episode 13: Common Misunderstandings About the BACB

As one of the oldest organizations in a young profession, the BACB and its functions are often misunderstood. To combat this disconnect, CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik explore the BACB’s history and break down these common misconceptions in this episode of Inside the BACB.

Resources:

For a transcribed version of this episode, please watch the episode on our YouTube channel with closed captions.

2021 Hemingway Award – Call for Nominations

The BACB is pleased to call for nominations for the 2021 Michael Hemingway Behavior Analysis Award. In memory of the life and contributions of Michael Hemingway, this annual award honors an individual distinguished for their contributions to public policy related to behavior analysis and/or for their efforts to increase the availability of behavior-analytic services.

We are accepting nominations until 5:00 PM MST on October 20, 2020.

Updated Demographic Data Now Available

We are pleased to share updated demographic and practice-area data from BACB certificants. These data are available on the BACB Certificant Data web page and will be updated periodically as certificants update their account information. Many thanks to those who have already done so, as your input has made it possible for us to publish this preliminary snapshot of certificant characteristics.

RBT Application Processing Update

The BACB has recently experienced delays in RBT application processing. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience, as we understand the importance of credentialing to the profession and that any delay is critical to many of you. We are working as quickly as possible to process your applications and have implemented new systems that will allow us to better manage the greater-than-expected growth of our profession.

We are pleased to announce that we are now processing applications received less than a week ago and should be back to our historical 1-2 day turnaround within a week or so. For current processing times, please visit our Customer Service Updates web page.

Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

  1. An effective RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination is:
    1. Reliable
    2. Valid
    3. Fair
    4. Confidential and proprietary
    5. Informed by the practice of behavior analysis
    6. All of the above

Knowing the Terms

To better understand how the BACB develops and maintains examinations, it’s helpful to know these terms:

  • Criterion-Referenced: Criterion-referenced examinations measure success in relation to fixed requirements set by qualified professionals. The BACB’s examinations are criterion referenced.
  • Examination Blueprint: The purpose of an examination blueprint is to provide a structure for the content that will be covered in an examination. Essentially, it’s an overarching arrangement that precisely tracks how the different content components of an examination will be emphasized.
  • Psychometrician: An expert in the science of educational and psychological measurement who determines the reliability, validity, and fairness of a test or examination. The BACB works closely with psychometricians, subject matter experts (SMEs), and members of the BACB Board of Directors when establishing examinations.

7 Myths and Clarifications About BACB Examinations

There are many myths surrounding the way examinations are developed and maintained at the BACB. So, in the list below, we break down and debunk some of the most common myths about BACB examinations.

  • Myth #1. The BACB created the processes they use to develop and maintain examinations.
  • Clarification. The processes used for examination creation and maintenance are based on the best practices used in the measurement, assessment, and testing professions. These processes are widely accepted and practiced in the development of high-stakes examinations.
  • Myth #2. BACB staff members write examination questions.
  • Clarification. To create examination questions, the BACB consults a panel of SMEs who currently practice applied behavior analysis (ABA). The SMEs write and edit all BACB examination questions.
  • Fun fact: Over 100 SMEs helped write and edit BACB examination questions in 2019 and 2020!
  • Myth #3. The BCBA and BCaBA examinations are the same, but the BCBA examination has 20 additional questions.
  • Clarification.. Although the BCBA and BCaBA examinations are similar due to the overlap in their content and practice requirements, each set of certificants must be tested on this content at a different level of understanding. SMEs who help write and review examination questions are trained to account for the different levels of performance necessary to practice at each certification level. So, while the BCBA and BCaBA examinations may share similar content, they do not share questions.
  • Myth #4. The comments testers write will impact their examination scores.
  • Clarification. Examination comments do not impact the score a tester receives on their examination. In fact, the comments testers write are only used if a question is reviewed by SMEs at a later time.
  • Myth #5. Some examination questions have more than one right answer.
  • Clarification. While multiple answers to an examination question may seem correct, there is only one best answer. This is because each question is designed to differentiate between individuals who fully understand the content and those who do not. So, in some cases, subtle details make the difference between a good answer and the best one.
  • Myth #6. Examinations get harder with each retake.
  • Clarification. Every BACB examination adheres to the difficulty established by a base examination. Each base examination is developed alongside every new version of the examination blueprint and then approved by the Board of Directors. All following examinations developed by the BACB Testing department are statiscally equated to the base examination before they are administered in Pearson VUE testing centers.
  • Myth #7. The BACB examinations are norm referenced (i.e., they measure success in relation to a group with like characteristics rather than a set standard).
  • Clarification. Every BACB examination is criterion referenced. Criterion-referenced examinations measure success against a fixed standard that was established by a panel of experts using a formal process. This standard does not move or change regardless of the testing group’s characteristics (e.g., training quality, skill level). For example, an entire group of individuals taking the examination on the same day might all pass—or they might all fail. The test taker’s score really depends on the quality of training that they received, not on the skill levels of the other people taking the examination at a given time.

Bonus question: Why don’t we provide scores to individuals who pass the examination?

Many certificants who pass the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination ask to see their raw score afterwards; however, the BACB does not provide raw scores. This is because our examinations are designed to put candidates in two categories: those who have learned enough to safely practice ABA and those who haven’t. Anyone who passes an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination is qualified to practice at their relevant level of certification. So, while we don’t provide your numeric, raw scores after you pass a BACB examination, rest easy knowing that you have met the minimum requirements to practice as a certified RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA.

For more information about BACB examinations, listen to Episode 12 of the Inside the BACB podcast. Happy testing!

Episode 12: Myths and Misconceptions About Examination Development

In this episode of Inside the BACB, Director of Testing and Accreditation Kyle Jordan and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik do more than debunk common myths and misconceptions surrounding BACB examination development. Tune in to find out who writes examination questions, how success is measured, why the BACB doesn’t provide raw scores to those who pass the examination, and much more.

Resources:
Examination Information Page
Pearson VUE’s website
Subject Matter Expert (SME) Information

For a transcribed version of this episode, please watch the episode on our YouTube channel with closed captions.

August 2020 Newsletter

We are pleased to announce the publication of the August 2020 BACB Newsletter (PDF download).

IN THIS ISSUE…

  • Changes to the BCaBA Task List (5th ed.)
  • When to conduct a standardized assessment (e.g., the Vineland)
  • Common supervision issues
  • Why RBTs must know their BACB account details
  • How to protect yourself from professional identity theft
  • COVID-19 reminder: Experience/Fieldwork Requirements