The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional certification needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior-analytic services. The BACB offers three certification programs: Registered Behavior Technician (RBT®), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA®), and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®). The RBT, BCaBA, and BCBA certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which mandates compliance with a number of rigorous standards intended to ensure the integrity of a professional certification program. One of those standards includes empaneling subject matter experts (SMEs) to contribute to the integrity of the BACB’s processes.
Examination Subject Matter Expert (SME)
I. Summary of Role: An Examination SME provides insight and guidance for the BACB’s ongoing examination-development and maintenance processes. SMEs have proficiency in their subject matter within the profession of applied behavior analysis. SMEs may be assigned to one or more examination-development or maintenance-related committees. Committees will meet regularly in person and virtually.
II. Qualifications: To be considered to serve on a committee, a SME must:
- be certified as a BCBA, BCaBA, or RBT and be in good standing;
- be currently working in a behavior-analytic role (e.g. practitioner, faculty, consultant, administrator, researcher)
III. Types of Committees: The BACB examinations require a variety of committee types including, but not limited to those listed below.
Job Task Analysis (JTA): The JTA is the first step in the examination-development process and provides the foundation for all subsequent examination-development activities. The SMEs follow a guided process for analyzing the tasks performed on the job, as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform those tasks. This committee works under the guidance of a qualified psychometrician and the BACB’s testing department. The results of the JTA provide the content for the examination blueprint.
Item Writing: The item-writing committee develops scenario-based items (e.g.,
questions) for the BACB examinations.
Item Review: The item-review committee refines newly written content, improves item
structure, and evaluates performance of items (e.g., questions).
Standard Setting: Standard setting is a method of determining the passing score, or cut score, that corresponds with entry-level performance on an examination. During the standard-setting process, SMEs set a cut score by engaging in a structured conversation that includes discussion of content standards, performance levels, the examination, and expectations for candidates.
IV. SME Responsibilities:
- participation in activities on their assigned committee for the specified term;
- contribution to core content needs;
- collaboration with committee members on issues that occur during reviews of examination content; and
- adherence to BACB’s Confidentiality Policy and Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.
V. Training/Support Provided: BACB staff conducts appropriate training to prepare SMEs for their activities. Depending on the committee tasks, specific training includes rules for item writing, evaluating item performance, relevance to the examination blueprint, and the importance of security. SMEs receive guidance prior to any in-person or virtual events.
VI. Recruitment Process: When actively recruiting for SMEs, BACB staff will send out a call to volunteer through different messaging platforms to relevant certificants depending upon the committees for which we are recruiting. Certificants who wish to serve as an SME will need to complete an application with their current information. Applications will need to be submitted every recruiting period, even if a SME has previously submitted an application or served on a committee.
VII. Selection and Terms of Service: BACB Staff review applications and determine committee assignments. The required length of service is dependent on the type of committee. Sometimes only a meeting or two will be required while at other times up to a two-year commitment will be necessary. Committee meetings will include a combination of on-site and virtual events. The BACB will select a diverse panel of SMEs for each committee to ensure appropriate representation. Some of the criteria, include the following:
- opportunity to define and validate the practitioner activities in applied behavior analysis
- collaboration with other colleagues in the profession of applied behavior analysis
- service to the profession that may be included in curriculum vitae and biographies
- advancement of the BACB’s mission of consumer protection worldwide
- opportunity to work and submit projects remotely
- on-site meeting travel expenditures fully covered by BACB