About Certification

Updated 12/10/16

The Board of Certified Psychometrists (BCP) would like to take this opportunity to answer questions and clear up possible misconceptions regarding this certification.  

The goals of certification are to offer:

    *   protection of the public,
    *   professional enhancement, and
    *   personal advancement.

The goals of certification do not include the provision of services independent of neuropsychologists and psychologists, but rather to follow the example of our colleagues by facilitating the development of a credential that is consistent with high standards of practice.  Due to the lack of educational and training standards for psychometrists, an examination administered as part of a certification program could provide an objective assessment of a psychometrist’s knowledge  for neuropsychologists and employers alike.  It is the same as in any profession where a credential provides information about an individual’s training, experience and knowledge.  Since no organized training programs exist for psychometrists, the eligibility requirements to sit for the certification examination reflect this void.  The eligibility requirements were established with full knowledge and consideration of the fact that for most psychometrists the majority of training takes place on the job.  The requirements are stringent and commensurate with other professional certification standards.

The CSP designation is earned by passing the minimum competency examination of the foundational knowledge in psychometry, much the same as the EPPP and ABPP are for neuropsychologists and psychologists, having been developed by the very same professional consultant.  The CSP is a Board certification.

Additionally, both the BCP and the National Association of Psychometrists (NAP) support the ethical and clinical standards that require that psychometric services be provided under the supervision of a qualified licensed psychologist or neuropsychologist.  To clarify, a psychometrist is trained to administer and score cognitive instruments and record behavioral observations.  While in some settings test selection and interpretation are performed by psychometrists, it is stipulated that these tasks fall outside the psychometry scope of practice.

An unfortunate result of the BCP’s efforts to develop this examination has been the comments calling into question the methods employed in its development.  In March of 
2003 the Psychometry Certification Committee (PCC) began to pursue the certification exam with Licensed Psychologist and Psychometrician Dr. Gerald A. Rosen.  Dr. Rosen has been working in the certification industry for nearly 30 years, is well respected, and is a leader in the field.  He has an excellent working relationship with several psychologists and neuropsychologists due to his previous role as the examination program director for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) exams.  His own educational training and work experience have proven highly valuable to this project given his knowledge of and exposure to several of the fundamentals utilized by psychometrists in their everyday work.  Dr. Rosen has guided the BCP through the development of the certification in accordance with all standards set forth by National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the recognized accreditation board for certification exams.  

The psychometrist certification examination conforms to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests published jointly by the American Educational Research Association, the National Council for Measurement in Education and APA.  It was designed and constructed to be consistent with and in compliance with the joint standards.

Virtually 100% of the well-designed certification and licensure examinations currently offered in the United States, the passing score for the examination is criterion-referenced, meaning that it was selected based upon a consensus of experts in the field. The passing score is not norm-referenced. Criterion-referenced passing scores are required by all national organizations that have promulgated accreditation standards for credentialing examinations (e.g., American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), American Board of Nursing Standards (ABNS).

We know of no certification or licensure examination that has been shown via rigorous validation studies to predict skills. It is not the function of a credentialing examination to make such predictions. While it is true that psychometrists develop skills by virtue of their training and experience, the same is true of psychologists. Neither the national licensure examination for psychologists (EPPP), nor the certification examinations for specialty practice in psychology sponsored by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) include a skills testing component. Just like the EPPP and the ABPP examinations, the CSP examination is legally defensible by virtue of the manner in which it is developed and administered.  Please note the EPPP and ABPP credentials are also not accredited.

The examination development process began with the selection of a panel of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), a diverse group of professionals assembled as representatives of psychometry practitioners.  The SMEs have come to be known as the BCP. Once established, the first phase of the project took place in June of 2004 in Philadelphia.  At this meeting a practice analysis was performed using the Role Delineation Method.  The purpose was the determination of the primary tasks performed by psychometrists and the knowledge required to perform the tasks safely and effectively.  Next, the group moved on to the second phase of the project, item writing.  Item writing manuals and templates were provided to all SMEs.  There were several rounds of item writing in which SMEs were paired with each other for review of the items before moving on to the next round.  At the 2004 NAP conference, the SMEs met to further analyze and review items for quality and validity.  In the next item review phase, SMEs assembled all their items and submitted them to Dr. Rosen for review.  Further revisions were made as we continued to prepare the items for the examination by entering them into the software for creation of the exam.  Once the exam was in the proper test format, three more test reviews took place before the final version of the test was completed.  The multiple levels of item review were more than sufficient to meet the highest of standards for a certification exam.

Some have purported that the methods used to validate the examination items were insufficient because there was no pre-test of the items.  The fact is that the majority of certification programs do not do any pre-testing.  In fact, the majority of licensure programs do not pre-test.  What is more common, and what we did, was validate the test answer key prior to the final scoring of the examination using statistical data obtained from the test and item analyses performed by Dr. Rosen.

An important point to make here is why pre-testing does not occur in the majority of programs.  It is time consuming, very expensive, and increases item exposure.  Furthermore, in a profession like psychometry, where numbers are small, it is very difficult to find enough people available to accomplish pre-testing.

It has also been indicated that the development of a certification exam was premature given the lack of consensus among state legislation regarding the use of psychometrists.  It is important to point out that this is not at all unusual for most professions.  Just as a psychologist must demonstrate qualifications that vary from state to state, it is likely psychometrists will also have varying requirements.  It is a goal of the BCP that the certification program will contribute to the evolution of a national standard.  If we were to wait for a national consensus among the states as to the role of psychometrists we would never have a certification program.  By establishing the certification for psychometrists we now have a voice in creating a consensus instead of having members of other professions mandate it upon psychometrists.

Some of the concerns with certification result from confusion between certification and licensure.  A license is exclusively for the purpose of protecting the public and is mandatory for legal practice.  For example, you need a license to drive, carry a concealed weapon, and practice medicine.  Certification is voluntary.  Occasionally, certification examinations are adopted or endorsed by jurisdictions for licensure purposes.  For example, there were certification examination for nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and direct-entry midwives before there were laws regulating these professions.  Once jurisdictions adopted laws to regulate these professions, some/most/all of the jurisdictions (depending on which profession we are speaking of) chose to use the existing certification examinations for licensure purposes.  The examinations remain certification examinations but  are used for licensure purposes in some jurisdictions.  The current climate is consistent with the pre-legislative climate of other professions that did not have any regulations in place that required conformity among standards.  While it is far too early to know if this is the course certification for psychometrists will follow, many professionals believe that updates to standards are necessary and methods for ensuring that psychometrists meet these standards are necessary.  Providing a certification examination is a high-quality method for accomplishing this goal.

The CSP exam is both challenging and has good reliability - over 0.81 (2005-2013).  In the earlier years of the exam, the passing rate was 67% (2006-2008) with an exam reliability of 0.80.  In 2009, the passing rate was 82% with a reliability of 0.84, in 2010 the passing rate was 85% with a reliability of 0.83, and in 2011 the passing rate was 77% with a reliability of 0.90.  See the FAQ page for current reliability information.

Another goal of certification is to improve compensation for psychometrists.  One of the most influential factors in people’s perception of their value to an institution is their salary.  If psychometrist's wages cannot compete with the cashier at the local mega-mart, then high quality professionals will not be attracted to the position and the rate of turnover will be high.  When this is the case, the public and practitioners suffer.  If the benefits of the position and professional identity associated with being a psychometrist improve then service delivery to patients will also improve.  Psychometrists will identify as professionals and feel integral to the many components of a patient’s care.  They will develop a commitment to the quality of their work and neuropsychologists will be more committed to providing the necessary resources for proper training.

An important consideration are the new CPT codes that went into effect on January 1, 2006.  APA has spent the last several years working on these new codes with the expectation psychologists will finally get the recognition they deserve.  There was a time not too long ago when Medicare did not feel a licensed psychologist could sign off on their own reports without the supervision of a medical doctor.  As a matter of fact, psychologists were classified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as “technicians.”  A tremendous amount of ground work has been covered in this area and for the first time psychometrists (aka technician codes) will have their own billing codes.  However, these new codes are going to draw a lot of attention to the technician codes (E.g., 96119 & 96102).  Medicare and commercial insurance carriers are going to want to know why they are paying technicians for these services.  And just as Medicare refused to pay for reports not supervised by MDs, they will likely question paying for testing performed by non-credentialed technicians (i.e., Psychometrist).  The certification examination will be paramount in addressing this matter.

The field of neuropsychology is on the brink of requiring psychometrists to have credentials (such as certification), driven in part by those paying for services (especially Medicare) and in forensic evaluations. Just as lawyers and IME referral sources are seeking the assessment services of those PhD's with ABPP credentials they will also seek out those psychometrists who are certified.

Some recruiters for the Department of Defense will only consider CSPs for psychometry positions - starting with the State of Virginia.

It is our hope that this information will serve to clear up any misinformation and concerns that professionals in the field may have about the certification for psychometrists.  Please feel free to contacts the BCP with certification questions.  We appreciate your interest in our organization as well as your support.

Our psychometrician, Dr. Gerald A. Rosen, a licensed psychologist, who for eight years was the testing company director for both the EPPP and the ABPP examinations, would be happy to speak with anyone about the CSP examination program if more information is needed.

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