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!

New Blog: Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

In the most recent addition to the BACB blog, we define important examination terms and debunk common myths and misconceptions surrounding the examination-development process.

For more information about who writes examination questions and how examinations measure success, please visit our BACB Blog web page.

New Episode of Inside the BACB

Tune in to the latest episode of the Inside the BACB podcast to go behind the scenes of the BACB’s examination-development process. Director of Testing and Accreditation Kyle Jordan and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik debunk common myths and misconceptions about BACB examinations and explore the vast inner world of making and maintaining examinations.

LISTEN NOW

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:

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

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

April 14, 2020

Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing is available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. This option, which the BACB is offering to RBTs on a trial basis following approval from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), is available while Pearson VUE’s in-person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for a trial of remote testing for RBT candidates during this challenging and unusual time. RBT candidates should note the following important information:

  • Once a candidate’s application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process.
  • The BACB and PearsonVUE will temporarily accept expired, government–issued IDs‚ candidates must have government–issued identification in order to sit for the RBT certification examination‚ through May 31, 2020. Both the BACB and PearsonVUE recognize the current inability to renew government–issued IDs due to the COVID–19 pandemic, and anticipate requiring non–expired government–issued IDs once again beginning June 1, 2020.
  • Candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination will need to wait until Pearson VUE reopens its physical testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font and color contrast.
  • Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high–speed internet connection for online testing, and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing, and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE’s‚ and the BACB’s‚ control.

BACB to Temporarily Offer Online Proctored Testing for RBT Candidates

The BACB will temporarily offer live, online proctored testing for its RBT candidates through Pearson VUE's online delivery system, OnVUE. This option will be available for RBT candidates while Pearson VUE's in–person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

The BACB is currently working with Pearson VUE to implement online proctored testing and will announce the date it is available in the near future. Visit our COVID–19 Updates page and listen to our latest episode of the Inside the BACB podcast for more information.

BACB to Offer Online Proctored Testing for RBT Candidates

April 14, 2020 Update: Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing will be available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. For further information, please see the Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates post above.


April 2, 2020 (Modified July 14, 2020)

The BACB will temporarily offer live, online, proctored testing for its RBT candidates through Pearson VUE's online delivery system, OnVUE. This option will be available for RBT candidates while Pearson VUE's in–person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The BACB is currently working with Pearson VUE to implement this delivery model and will announce the date it is available in the near future.

The BACB's decision to offer remote proctored testing for RBT candidates follows the National Commission for Certifying Agencies' (NCCA) announcement on March 20, 2020 that it will allow the use of remote–proctor testing delivery on a limited basis for organizations with accredited programs such as the BACB. The NCCA's announcement is in response to an urgent need for credentialing programs to make testing available following the closure of many testing centers worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCCA recently approved the BACB's application to offer remote testing for its RBT certification — each certification requires a separate application — on a trial basis. The BACB's decision to pursue remote testing for the RBT certification while Pearson VUE's in–person testing centers are closed is because the maximum length of the RBT certification examination — 90 minutes — allows the BACB and Pearson VUE to help ensure a fair testing experience for all candidates. Unfortunately, the BACB cannot guarantee such an experience for candidates taking the BCBA and BCaBA examinations, which, at four hours in length, require heightened security and accessibility at a time when wireless Internet traffic has reached unprecedented levels.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for a trial of remote testing for RBT candidates during this challenging and unusual time. Once an RBT candidate's application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process. As part of this pilot program, BACB psychometricians will closely monitor all data associated with remote testing, which will then be used by the NCCA to determine whether to allow the BACB to continue to offer remote delivery of RBT certification examinations in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: RBT candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination will need to wait until Pearson VUE reopens its physical testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font and color contrast. Additionally, Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high–speed internet connection for online testing, and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing, and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE's and the BACB's control.

For further information, listen to our podcast.