258757 An Analysis of the Statistical Performance of the Certified in Public Health Examinations

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

Molly Eggleston, MPH, CPH, MCHES , National Board of Public Health Examiners, Pittsburgh, PA
Jeanne Guernsey, MA , Client Programs, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, PA
Passing the Certified in Public Health (CPH) Examination is the first step in meeting the voluntary standard for public health professionals - the CPH credential. The Examination assesses an individual's mastery of the knowledge and skills relevant to contemporary public health as defined by the ASPH MPH competencies. Based on ~2,000 examinees since August 2008, there is robust statistical data showing that the CPH Examination meets rigorous psychometric performance benchmarks for an examination of its size and purpose. The KR20 reliability estimate has been consistently higher than 0.90. Mean item discrimination has ranged from 0.21 - 0.34 range, indicating that the test items do a good job distinguishing between high- and low-scoring examinees.

Exam items are developed by volunteers selected from schools and programs of public health and the NBPHE's practice partners to represent a diverse range of academic background, expertise, practice experience, ethnicity, gender, and geographic locations. Selection is competitive, based on experience and expertise in 12 competency areas, including biostatistics. Based on training and quality assurance procedures, a final examination form is readied with 200 multiple-choice questions. Biostatistics tends to be one of the more challenging domains for examinees. Leadership of the NBPHE sets the cut score. Equating allows comparison of performance across administrations.

Creating the body of unique, validated test questions was a first for public health, and the pool of professionals who have perfected item writing adds value to the field. The result is a rigorous exam to assess higher-order thinking across the public health sciences.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the psychometric rigor of the CPH exams administered to-date Describe the educational statistics used to asess the CPH exam performance

Keywords: Certification, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a proud member of the Charter Class of CPH. I have been senior staff to the NBPHE. Currently I consult with the NBPHE.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
NBPHE NA Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.