The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1998 to meet professional certification needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior-analytic services. The BACB offers 3 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 several rigorous standards intended to ensure the integrity of a professional certification program. One of those standards includes empaneling volunteers known as 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 is a volunteer who provides insight and guidance for the BACB’s ongoing examination-development and maintenance processes. SMEs must have proficiency in their area of expertise within the profession of applied behavior analysis (ABA). SMEs may be assigned to one or more examination-development or maintenance-related committee. Committees will meet regularly in person and virtually.
II. Qualifications: To be considered to serve on a committee, an applicant must be the following:
- actively certified as an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA;
- in good standing with the BACB; and
- currently working in a behavior-analytic role (e.g., practitioner, faculty, consultant, administrator, researcher).
III. Types of Committees: BACB examination development requires a variety of committee types and lengths of service. The following are examples of different committee types:
- 2-Year Commitment
- Item Writing: The item writing committee develops scenario-based items (i.e., questions) for BACB examinations.
- Item Review: The item review committee refines newly written content, improves item structure, and evaluates item performance.
- Form Review: In the final step before examination administration, the form review committee reviews all items to confirm that they are keyed correctly and to identify any potential enemy items (i.e., items that detract from the examination’s validity and reliability). Additionally, the committee ensures that the form meets all content outline criteria.
- 1-Year Commitment
- Standard Setting: Standard setting is a method of determining the passing score, or cut score, that corresponds with entry-level performance on an examination. The standard setting committee sets a cut score by engaging in a structured conversation about content standards, performance levels, the examination, and expectations for candidates.
IV. SME Responsibilities:
- participate and contribute throughout the entirety of the committee term
- be responsive to communications from BACB staff
- meet assignment deadlines
- complete all SME onboarding training
- engage and collaborate with other committee members to accomplish committee goals
- adhere to the BACB’s Confidentiality Policies and the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts and/or the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)
V. Training/Support Provided: BACB staff members conduct appropriate training to prepare SMEs for their activities. Depending on the committee tasks, training covers item writing/review, item performance evaluation, examination blueprint relevance, and the importance of security. SMEs receive guidance before any in-person or virtual event.
VI. Recruitment and Selection Process: When actively recruiting for SMEs, BACB staff will announce an open call for volunteers through various platforms. Certificants who wish to serve as an SME must complete an application with their current information. The BACB will select a diverse panel of SMEs for each committee to ensure appropriate representation, considering the following criteria, among others:
The BACB will then review applications and make final committee selections, after which applicants will be notified of acceptance or denial via email.
- have an opportunity to define and validate ABA practitioner activities
- collaborate and network with other colleagues in the profession
- help advance the BACB’s mission of consumer protection
- have on-site meeting travel expenditures covered by the BACB