How are NCCCO exams developed?

03 November 2020

Written and practical exams are developed after a comprehensive job analysis process.

Job analysis is at the core of much of what the NCCCO Certification Team does in the development and maintenance of CCO certification exams. NCCCO uses a job analysis process to help subject matter experts define the knowledge and skills needed for individuals to competently perform their duties in load handling–related occupations. The information compiled is then used to define the target content for CCO certification exams, both written and practical.

Lead Option 1

Subject matter experts identify the duties and tasks potential certificants perform on a regular basis.  

Determining essentials

When NCCCO conducts a job analysis, Certification Team psychometricians work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to first identify the duties and tasks that potential certificants perform on a regular basis. Selected SMEs are recognized by their peers as leaders and qualified practitioners in their field; these SMEs include those with decades of experience as well as those earlier in their careers because the purpose of the certification test is to identify the minimally qualified candidate for receiving the certification.

SMEs then describe and categorize the tasks performed on the job and the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform those tasks in a competent and safe manner. A representative sample of practitioners is then surveyed to identify which of the tasks, knowledge, and skills are most important for a certified individual to know and be able to perform.

The survey data is used to determine what knowledge and skills to test for on certification assessments, and how much weight is to be applied to each content area. The survey data then assists in the development of a “test blueprint” that guides the SMEs and NCCCO staff in creating the certification tests.

Continuous improvement

Jobs continue to evolve over time alongside changes in technology, safety standards, and/or federal rules. Because of this progression, a job analysis needs to be periodically updated. The cycle for updating depends on how rapidly things change. NCCCO guides SMEs through updates of job analysis information every five to ten years. An update generally includes a review of the previous job analysis, with an eye toward removing out-of-date material and adding duties, tasks, knowledge areas and skills based on new technology or standards. New test blueprints are then created for the written and practical exams, and the examinations are updated according to these blueprints.

Lead Option 2 (1)

Exams are updated through a test maintenance procedure.

NCCCO’s exams are continually updated in order to remain relevant through formal test maintenance procedures, which include a periodic review and revision of the job analysis information and adjustments to the test blueprints as needed. Additionally, NCCCO also meets with the Exam Management Committees for each certification program on a regular basis to review and revise assessments, both written and practical, as deemed necessary.

Updating process

NCCCO is currently updating the job analyses for two program areas: Signalperson and Rigger. NCCCO is also preparing to conduct job analyses for two new programs: Concrete Pump Operator and Telehandler Operator (see below). These important job analyses will serve as the essential building blocks for the entire exam development process.

Telehandler and concrete pump operator certifications

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has announced the industry experts that selected to develop two new certification programs for operators of telehandlers and concrete pumps. Both tasks forces are now closed. The selected volunteers include both experienced NCCCO contributors and new experts with more specialized knowledge, including those from unions, rental firms, training companies, construction contractors, safety consultants, insurance, and regulatory authorities. Kick-off meetings are being scheduled so that development can begin before the end of the year.

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