On May 13, 2014 the ESA Certification Board (CB) held its second quarter meeting via teleconference. In anticipation of launching the ACE-International program later this fall, the CB made several decisions which will also modify the domestic ACE program. The goal is to have the two programs be as similar as possible with as little stratification as required. Two decisions that affect the ACE program -- both of which will take effect on October 1, 2014 -- are:
1) Modify the application requirements to require submission of two letters of professional reference. Currently the program only requires the applicant to list one professional colleague who would be able to vouch for the candidate's professionalism. This new requirement mirrors the BCE requirement for submission of two letters.
2) Modify the application requirements to adjust the years of experience required. Currently the ACE program requires seven years of professional experience in structural pest management -- a number that was derived arbitrarily at the program's inception. Two panels of subject matter experts reviewed the decision and felt that the point at which a professional was able to acquire the minimum amount of experience to competently perform their duties up to the ACE standard would be closer to five years.
This latter decision is in keeping with the rules of certification. According to Jerald Jacobs in the Association Law Handbook, "The best way to maximize validity is to have an open process by which all affected constituencies may participate … a broad base of participation and input will help ensure that the requirements do not unfairly bias or discriminate against any eligible professionals and accurately measure competency… The criteria, standards, or principles should be no more stringent than necessary to ensure the levels of competency or quality that the program aims to measure have been achieved by the candidates."
In other words, the rule for setting the requirement is to find the point at which the minimum is met, not the maximum.
Said another way by Mickie Rops, CAE (who also served as ESA's Certification Consultant during the program review in April 2012), "It is important that eligibility requirements are linked to the actual needs of the role being certified, not randomly chosen; this concept is often called job-relatedness. It is sometimes tempting for a certification committee to drift towards wanting to recognize excellence rather than competence in a role, and for the eligibility requirements to become unnecessarily high. Requirements should be reasonable and reflect the need-to-have, not the nice-to-have."
Both of these rules will be implemented with an effective date of October 1, 2014.