Exam development undergoes a rigorous process to ensure credibility to the exam content and ensure the exam is valid and reliable.  The following steps occur for each new version of the GPC exam.

  1. Conduct a job analysis. The job analysis (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 is the first step in the test development process and provides the foundation for all subsequent test 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 test blueprint and the detailed content outline (GPC Competencies and Skills). A JTA should occur at least every five years. This task is completed by a Job Task Analysis committee in partnership with GPCI’s psychometrician.
  2. Update competencies and skills. Competencies and skills relevant for a GPC are reviewed as a secondary step to the job analysis.
  3. Item development for multiple choice. Current items on the multiple choice section of the exam are analyzed to determine if they are still relevant and applicable to the updated competencies and skills. Those items not performing well are either eliminated altogether or rewritten for clarity. Items are developed for new competencies and skills as necessary to ensure an accurate representation across all competencies with regards to what weight they were given for a well-rounded grant professional.
  4. Prompt development for written portion of exam. Written prompts relative to the various sections of a grant proposal are written as needed. Prompts are also crafted around the core competencies and skills.
  5. Cut Score (or Standard) Setting for competence. This step incorporates a strict methodology to set the minimal levels of competence on assessment instruments. Standard Setting is a method of determining cut scores that correspond to performance levels. The standard setting process is implemented with a standard setter committee of certificants who understand the assessment content standards and the performance of candidates. During the standard setting process, participants set cut scores by engaging in a structured conversation that includes discussion of content standards, performance levels, the test, and expectations for Certificants. Standard setters work under the guidance of GPCI’s psychometrician and the chair of the Test Development Committee. A minimum of one-third of the standard setters must be different individuals than those who completed the item writing sessions.

More articles on exam development can be found here HERE.