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 the 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 examination-development and maintenance processes.

I. Position Title: Subject matter expert (SME)

II. Summary of Role: SMEs provide 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 will be assigned to one or more examination-development or maintenance-related committees. Committees will meet regularly in person and virtually.

III. Qualifications: To be considered to serve on a committee, SMEs must:

  • be certified as a BCBA, BCaBA, or RBT for at least two years and be in good standing;
  • be a current or former practitioner in behavior analysis or be a qualified individual who may work in other roles within behavior analysis (e.g., supervisors, university faculty members, regulators);
  • have extensive knowledge in the scope of practice of applied behavior analysis that is commensurate with their certification type;
  • have experience that includes day-to-day practice expectations of a behavior analyst (BCBA/BCaBA) or behavior technician (RBT) in both content and context; and
  • be able to fulfill a two-year term commitment.

IV. Scope of Authority: A variety of committees require SMEs, including, but not limited to, the Job Task Analysis, Item Writing, Item Review, and Standard Setting committees. Each of these types of committees is described below.

Job Task Analysis: The Job Task Analysis (JTA) committee member actively creates the JTA for each certification type. This committee works under the guidance of a qualified psychometrician and with the supervision of the BACB’s Director of Testing and Accreditation and Certification Program Manager. A JTA is a systematic process for analyzing the functions and tasks performed on a job, as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform those tasks. The JTA, also known as a job analysis or practice analysis, is the first step in the examination-development process and provides the foundation for all subsequent examination-development activities. The results of the JTA describe the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills that must be covered by the certification examination in order for it to be deemed valid, credible, and useful. The results of the JTA provide the material for the examination blueprint and the task list.

Item Writer: Under the guidance of the BACB’s Certification Program Manager and with the supervision of the Director of Testing and Accreditation, Item Writers create items (e.g., questions) and scenarios for BACB examinations.

Item Reviewer: Under the guidance of the BACB’s Certification Program Manager and with the supervision of the Director of Testing and Accreditation, Item Reviewers will review the content, construction, and performance of live and pilot items to identify problems and conceptualize solutions for BACB examinations.

Standard Setter: Standard Setters work under the guidance of a qualified psychometrician and with the supervision of the BACB’s Director of Testing and Accreditation and Certification Program Manager to set entry-level standards that assess competence via examinations. Standard setting is a method of determining cut scores that correspond with performance levels. The standard-setting process is implemented with a committee of certificants who understand the assessment content standards and the performance of candidates. During the standard-setting process, SMEs set cut scores by engaging in a structured conversation that includes discussion of content standards, performance levels, the examination, and expectations for certificants.

V. Key Responsibilities:

SMEs will:

  • fully participate in their assigned committee for the duration of the two-year term;
  • have the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of certificants to perform given responsibilities and tasks as related to the scope of practice;
  • contribute core content and supply source materials, reference items, and supplemental resources used to validate answers to written items in the examination;
  • consult with committee members on issues that occur during reviews of examination content;
  • meet all agreed-upon times for deliverables and reviews; and
  • adhere to BACB’s Confidentiality Policy and Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.

VI. Training/Support Provided: BACB staff will conduct appropriate training. Specific focus will be placed on item writing, rules for writing distractors, the need for specific citations, and the importance of security. SMEs will be able to receive guidance via an online web meeting in most cases.

VII. Selection Method and Term of Service: BACB staff will review applications and determine committee assignments. The required length of service is two years and will include a combination of on-site and remote committee meetings. The BACB will select a diverse group of SMEs for each committee utilizing the following benchmarks:

  • demographics
  • education/training
  • employment
  • experience
  • geography

VIII. Benefits:

  • 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
  • advance the BACB’s mission of consumer protection worldwide
  • yearly honorariums provided for committee service
  • opportunity to work and submit projects remotely
  • on-site meeting travel expenditures fully covered by BACB