Protecting the Integrity of the Examination Process
ABRET has been credentialing technologists for 44 years. During this period, over 6700 technologists and 38 EEG laboratories have earned registration, certification or accreditation from ABRET. Throughout this long history of evaluating competency and performance, ABRET has had to deal with candidate and certificant unethical behavior and fraud. Unfortunately, the problems seem to be coming more frequently and are of an increasingly more serious nature. ABRET takes examination security very seriously. The purpose of this article is to continue to educate candidates and certificants about cheating and other unethical behavior which undermines the integrity of the examination process and can cost them their credentials.
The development of examination questions requires a significant effort and outlay of resources by ABRET. Examination development includes training writers, reviewing items, contracting of professional services, developing and evaluating examinations, coding, and conducting various studies to prepare an examination for administration. These efforts and associated costs constitute a major investment for ABRET. When questions are compromised by theft or other events, they must be permanently removed from the item bank and replaced prior to the next examination administration. ABRET cannot simply absorb these costs. ABRET will pursue legal recourse against the individuals involved in any activity which exposes ABRET items.
ABRET requires that candidates have a level of knowledge and competency in order to be eligible to take an ABRET credentialing examination. The process of studying and reviewing literature should make someone a better candidate and ultimately a better technologist. Gaining an understanding of one’s profession and building on experience is what makes one a competent and desirable employee. Earning credentials should be a goal and a stamp of accomplishment for everyone who considers themselves a professional. Credentials should be earned, and therefore be legitimate proof of one’s expertise. Cheating undermines this process.
ABRET advises that you:
- Carefully read the required security agreement and non-disclosure statement prior to taking the ABRET examinations.
- Be cautious when selection a “board prep” program. ABRET does not sanction or review and “board prep” program. Each program should provide attendees with this disclosure. In addition, they should never use ABRET’s trademarked credentials in advertising their programs without a disclaimer.
- Be wary of programs that claim a 100% guarantee that attendees will pass the examination.
- Be aware of the “brain dump” method which is a violation of the ABRET security and non-disclosure agreements. Under this method, test takers write down everything they can remember after taking an examination and share or sell that information. This information may be unreliable since it is dependent on the memory of the test taker, and may or may not appear on future examinations, rendering it useless to the program attendee.
- Report to ABRET any website or service that makes claims of having actual test questions.
Falsification of credentials and violation of intellectual property laws are serious matters. ABRET’s trademarked credentials are reserved for technologists who have met the requirements and successfully completed the ABRET examinations. Misuse of ABRET intellectual property (such as divulging or disclosing test questions memorized from the exam) is a violation of ABRET’s Code of Ethics and may also violate federal and state laws. Candidates and certificants caught cheating, stealing questions, or otherwise misusing ABRET intellectual property are at risk of being banned from taking the ABRET examinations in the future or losing credentials already earned. Persons attending a program where they unknowingly were provided protected test questions may be at risk of having their examination scores invalidated. ABRET is committed to protecting the ABRET examinations and credentials on behalf of all of those who legitimately earn them.
Board of Certification Newsletter. (2008, Spring). BOC Exam Security Measures
[Electronic version]. Omaha, NE: Author.
Hoover, L. (2006). Watch out for brain dump test prep sites. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from
Williams, R. (2008, March). Braindumps, Gunmen, and Cheaters (revisited).
Retrieved June 11, 2008 from http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/25581