Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Validating the AFO Exam

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Validating the AFO Exam

Article excerpt

BRANCH/REGION NEWS

The Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) course is a two day course taught at more than 125 locations nationally and internationally through NRPA. Some 2,500 certifications are awarded each year to candidates earning a 70 or better on the national AFO certification examination.

Although the AFO exam has been successful, the process of developing the instrument for a national examination was not an easy one. A team of Subject Matter Experts including Jeff Maxey, Rich Young, clay Shuck, Maria Bella, Kent Williams (author of the AFO textbook) and Jorge L. Olaves worked under the coordination of NRPA to create a fair and accurate test.

Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc.-a full-service test development company-was hired to help ensure that the examination met or exceeded international guidelines for fairness, legal defensibility, reliability and validity.

The team toiled for three days in a tedious, yet creative manner to develop the instrument to be used to measure AFO competency. Each question underwent rigorous review prior to approval and inclusion on the examination, and each item was evaluated on technical merit, scientific accountability, style considerations, content interpretation and test development.

The team decided on 75 items employing a multiple-choice format, with each item developed in accordance with accepted psychometric practices. In addition, two alternative forms of the exam were tested statistically for equivalence, so multiple forms may be administered at any time.

Psychometric properties applied to each item included

1) Item Difficulty-sufficient to reflect minimal competency without overly challenging the most knowledgeable candidates. …

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