Role Delineation Study

HPCC begins the development of every certification examination with a role delineation study (RDS), also known as a job analysis. The RDS is a research project that is conducted when initially developing a certification program, and then repeated approximately every five years to ensure that a certification exam is based on current practice.

The objective of an RDS is to define a role in terms of the work behaviors necessary for practitioners to safely and effectively perform the role at a specified level of expertise. The RDS is guided by an advisory committee of subject matter experts who are representative and knowledgeable of the role to be studied. The RDS uses a survey method which verifies the major domains of practice and leading to the development of the content outline. The survey is pilot tested and then nationally disseminated to individuals in the hospice and palliative team serving in the role to be studied.

The advisory committee reviews the survey responses and using decision rules, determines the detailed content outline. Next they decide the number of items (test questions) needed within each major domain of practice (ie knowledge area) on the outline to assess a reasonable sample of an examination candidate’s knowledge of the domain.

Items for the examination are then written respective to the test content outline. This chain of evidence is crucial for establishing content validity when building national examination. Every examination form developed and approved by the examination development committee will exactly match the test specifications to help ensure that all candidates have a fair opportunity to demonstrate their level of knowledge of the topics covered on the test content outline.

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