Response to a legal challenge. Five steps to defensible credentialing examinations

Eval Health Prof. 1991 Mar;14(1):13-40. doi: 10.1177/016327879101400102.


In 1975 the National Board for Respiratory Therapy (currently the National Board for Respiratory Care) was named as a defendant in a class action suit field on behalf of three individuals seeking relief for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Sherman Antitrust Act. Although a pretrial settlement was reached, the conduct of this case demonstrates the potential vulnerability of credentialing examinations to complaints regarding discrimination and the necessity for credentialing organizations to be socially responsible for the potential use of test results by employers. The board has since instituted a systematic five-step research and development process that is used for all of its examinations to ensure and document that they are fair, valid, and defensible. This article recounts the salient aspects of the class action suit, discusses implications and current applicable technical standards and legal guidelines, and describes the components of the "Five Step Examination Development Process."

MeSH terms

  • Chicago
  • Credentialing / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Educational Measurement / standards
  • Employment / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Minority Groups
  • Personnel Selection / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Prejudice*
  • Professional Competence
  • Respiratory Therapy / education
  • Respiratory Therapy / standards*
  • Respiratory Therapy Department, Hospital / legislation & jurisprudence*