Featuring Mike Clark, Chair, I.C.E. Terminology Task Force
Amidst complex projects, problem solving and seeking out opportunities for innovation, credentialing professionals are wise to also remain on top of something as foundational as terminology. After all, if professionals don’t agree on a shared language, it can become difficult to achieve those more complicated tasks.
In an effort to provide the credentialing community with an updated guide to such terminology and encourage widespread use, I.C.E. formed the Terminology Task Force to create the second version of the I.C.E. Basic Guide to Credentialing Terminology. The document is now available through the online I.C.E. Store and free for members and non-members.
We spoke with Michael Clark, chair of the I.C.E. Terminology Task Force, to learn more about the project.
What is the purpose of the I.C.E. Basic Guide to Credentialing Terminology and what was a driving force behind creating it?
The I.C.E. Basic Guide to Credentialing Terminology is designed to serve as a definitive reference to credentialing terms and their definitions for the credentialing community. Too often terms are used incorrectly; or different terms, with different meanings, are used interchangeably. Standardization of terms and their definitions are therefore essential within the community in order to better communicate and educate the general public about the value of credentialing.
This terminology document is an update to the October 2006 edition, with improved definitions of existing terms and the addition of new terms (and definitions) for new industry practices. Definitions provided are focused primarily on use throughout North America. The task force also attempted to harmonize terms and definitions with the latest international standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ASTM International.
Please tell us about the process the task force took to help bring this document to life. What did you learn along the way?
The task force started the process of updating the document by reviewing current credentialing terminology documents from several other sources, including other I.C.E. committees, the ISO, ASTM International and I.C.E. sustaining members.
We then selected the terms to be defined in this edition of the document and set about the process of either selecting an existing definition we felt was most appropriate, or deciding that a new definition was needed. The final steps were to validate the draft terms and definitions with the I.C.E. membership and conduct a final review/edit of the entire document.
Along the way we learned that the credentialing industry itself is not consistent in the use of many terms, nor how we define these terms. Some of this is because credentialing is an umbrella term that includes the concepts of accreditation, licensure, registration, professional certification, assessment-based certificate programs and education. Therefore, this document is intended to standardize terms and definitions that can, and likely should, be used consistently across all forms of credentialing. We do expect that some terms may need to be more narrowly defined for one or more specific types of credentialing.
What is the benefit of this document and what do you hope the community gains from it?
It is my sincere hope that this document will serve as one of the premier educational references for organizations that offer credentialing programs, those that serve credentialing organizations and those that utilize credentials. I also hope this document will be utilized as the primary terminology reference for industry standards, rather than each standards organization continuing to create or recreate its own definitions. This is the approach being taken by the I.C.E. Main Committee for the 2021 Edition of the NCCA Standards.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I wish to acknowledge the many hours of hard work and dedicated effort provided by the following industry professionals who served on this I.C.E. Task Force:
Michael Clark, Retired
National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
(Task Force Chair)
Cindy Durley, Executive Director
Dental Assisting National Board
Lawrence Fabrey, Retired
Wallace Judd, President
Authentic Testing Corporation
Felicia Lembesis, Executive Director
Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board
Jan Robinson, Registrar & Chief Executive Officer
College of Veterinarians of Ontario
Anthony Zara, VP Assessment Solutions
Access the I.C.E. Basic Guide to Credentialing Terminology (2nd Edition), free to members and non-members.