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About Lamaze

Certification: Exam Development Plan 


This policy document is designed to serve as a roadmap for maintaining the certification program, outlining the steps to develop the exam and maintain the exam item database. This policy document serves as overall outline of the program while detailed policies and procedure documents will identify and define more specific detail for each.

Exam Frequency and Format: The exam will be administered twice a year during a three-day exam window. The exam will be administered by computer based testing software at PSI locations where available and via a private proctor as approved per the established policy and guidelines. There will be one, unique test form developed and constructed for each exam administration.

Translation: The exam form developed for each exam administration will be translated per the exam and language translation policy which states that the translated Spanish exam will be given for each administration and the Romanian translation will be given once a year during the fall exam administration. Additional languages/translations can be approved and made available for a no less than 15 candidates. 

The translation process consists of a professional translation of the item text, a back-translation by a bilingual subject matter expert (SME), and a third review by an additional bi-lingual subject matter expert to identify and reconcile any differences between the source English text and the back-translated English text. Statistical analysis of candidate response patterns is also used to identify items with substantial performance disparities that may be indicative of a subtle translation flaw.

Item Writing Meeting Goals: The item writing meeting is designed to bring together SMEs who represent the candidate population to write new items, revise existing items for which revision has been noted, and assign a tentative Angoff index (final assignment is done by the Exam Council). 

Meeting Frequency: The Exam Development Committee and invited guests meet once a year at the item writing meeting. Invited guests include high scorers, Lamaze Accredited Childbirth Program Directors, the President of Lamaze International and other SMEs as necessary. 

Exam Items

Items reflect entry-level knowledge that a childbirth educator should have. In general, the Council encourages application items that that are scenario based rather than simple recall of information.

Pass-Fail Cut Score

The passing score for each form of the exam is determined by the Angoff technique and based on item difficulty. A two-step process is used for this process. The percentage pass-fail cut score is the average of the item Angoff indices.

Item Review / Candidate Comments

The Council conducts a conference call after each exam to review the initial exam and item scoring statistics.  This online meeting includes a native speaking, bilingual SME for any translated language for that exam form. During this review call items will be examined when flagged during the scoring process for ambiguity, translation and cultural issues, and statistical outliers. The committee reads each flagged item and addresses them individually.

Item Bank Maintenance

Several item databases are maintained: one per language, and a separate database for storing item calibrations related to forms equating. Each database is updated with item statistics after each exam cycle is complete. Item text and response keys in each linguistic database is reviewed as part of the item writing and exam development procedures.  

Exam Blueprint

The exam blueprint is based on a job task analysis, conducted every 5-7 years, and is used to indicate how many items will appear on the exam in each competency. Each competency has several sub content classification codes that aide in balancing exam content.

Job Task Analysis (JTA)

The JTA is designed to evaluate the current practice of childbirth education and job content elements that are related to effective entry-level performance in an effort to validate and, if necessary, update the identified knowledge and skills required to practice competently as a childbirth educator. Established publications from the profession, are used to reference items. This research, conducted at least every 5-7 years, will help ensure that the Lamaze Certification Exam continues to measure the competencies that are required of a current practicing entry-level childbirth educator.

December 2017; May 2018