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Why does it take so long to get my IBLCE exam results?

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Breastfeeding as a Non-Birthing Parent Breastfeeding as a Non-Birthing Parent
You sat the IBLCE exam recently, and are now counting the (many long) days until your exam results are available. Your friend who sat for her boards to become a registered nurse could access unofficial results in two days! We regularly get asked why it takes so long to get your results for the IBLCE exam, so we asked Angela Love-Zaranka, BA, IBCLC, RLC LER’s Program Director to share her thoughts with us.
First of all, I have so much compassion for those of you waiting for your exam results! I know how much energy you have put into preparing to apply to sit for the exam and studying. For many of us, sitting the exam is stressful, and now it can feel like a long time until you receive your results. I hear you!
I have served as a board member of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, so I have some insight into why it takes many weeks to receive your results. While some of the details may have changed recently during COVID, the general process that I will share will hopefully help you understand why it is a multi-week process.
Important background: The credential and the exam are international. The exam is offered in multiple languages for those practicing in a variety of different settings around the globe.
Now imagine the process of writing and scoring an exam that is applicable in all of those practice settings and accurately assesses achievement of the standards. There’s a science that helps ensure best practices in testing called psychometrics. IBLCE consults with an expert psychometrician to help guide the process of writing and scoring each exam.
With this in mind, let’s look behind the scenes at a testing cycle. You just completed the exam and your answers to each question have gone to IBLCE. Why can’t they just mark the right and wrong answers and decide on a passing score?
When everyone’s scores return to IBLCE at the end of the testing period, first they are compiled. Some people still take the exam with pencil and paper and they have to be sent back to IBLCE and scanned into a computer. Then the results of each question are reviewed to ensure that the question is working as intended: assessing knowledge of a specific point on the detailed content outline. Did it do so in every language? Did it do so in every country?
How does IBLCE set standards for the profession?
The exam is one of the ways that IBLCE ensures that IBCLC credential holders meet lactation care standards. To help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, IBLCE follows the credentialing process outlined by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. IBLCE starts by surveying lactation consultants around the world. Next, they compare current practice to the Detailed Content Outline and modify where necessary. In this way, they are able to reflect and measure incoming IBCLCs knowledge and skills with those currently in the field.
When everyone’s scores return to IBLCE at the end of the testing period, first they are compiled. Some people still take the exam with pencil and paper and they have to be sent back to IBLCE and scanned into a computer. Then the results of each question are reviewed to ensure that the question is working as intended: assessing knowledge of a specific point on the detailed content outline. Did it do so in every language? Did it do so in every country?
Historically, these results have been reviewed by an IBLCE exam committee or chair. After every question has been reviewed, the “cut score” is established. Anyone who scores above the cut score passes the exam. This number varies each year based on a number of things, including how many questions were found to not be performing as expected. (If you really want to dig deep, check out the IBLCE website here to see past test analysis reports.)
Once the cut score is created, the individual scores must be made available online, and the mailing prepared, all for thousands of applicants. While IBLCE has paid staff to support operations, the work of the exam committee is completed by volunteers who commit many hours to the review process.
In case you have not marked your calendar yet, this process typically takes about 8 to 12 weeks, with September exam results posted by January 1 and April exam results available at the end of June.
Best wishes as you await your exam results!
Looking for a way to make the best use of your time while waiting for exam results? Start building your library now with free parent handouts from LER. Deepen your skills (it is never too early to start preparing to recertify!) with one of these online, on-demand conferences offered by LER: Breastfeeding as a Non-Birthing Person, Hormones of Lactation, or Comprehensive Review of Infant Suck.
You sat the IBLCE exam recently, and are now counting the (many long) days until your exam results are available. Your friend who sat for her boards to become a registered nurse could access unofficial results in two days! We regularly get asked why it takes so long to get your results for the IBLCE exam, so we asked Angela Love-Zaranka, BA, IBCLC, RLC LER’s Program Director to share her thoughts with us.
First of all, I have so much compassion for those of you waiting for your exam results! I know how much energy you have put into preparing to apply to sit for the exam and studying. For many of us, sitting the exam is stressful, and now it can feel like a long time until you receive your results. I hear you!
I have served as a board member of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, so I have some insight into why it takes many weeks to receive your results. While some of the details may have changed recently during COVID, the general process that I will share will hopefully help you understand why it is a multi-week process.
How does IBLCE set standards for the profession?
The exam is one of the ways that IBLCE ensures that IBCLC credential holders meet lactation care standards. To help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, IBLCE follows the credentialing process outlined by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. IBLCE starts by surveying lactation consultants around the world. Next, they compare current practice to the Detailed Content Outline and modify where necessary. In this way, they are able to reflect and measure incoming IBCLCs knowledge and skills with those currently in the field.
Important background: The credential and the exam are international. The exam is offered in multiple languages for those practicing in a variety of different settings around the globe.
Now imagine the process of writing and scoring an exam that is applicable in all of those practice settings and accurately assesses achievement of the standards. There’s a science that helps ensure best practices in testing called psychometrics. IBLCE consults with an expert psychometrician to help guide the process of writing and scoring each exam.
With this in mind, let’s look behind the scenes at a testing cycle. You just completed the exam and your answers to each question have gone to IBLCE. Why can’t they just mark the right and wrong answers and decide on a passing score?
When everyone’s scores return to IBLCE at the end of the testing period, first they are compiled. Some people still take the exam with pencil and paper and they have to be sent back to IBLCE and scanned into a computer. Then the results of each question are reviewed to ensure that the question is working as intended: assessing knowledge of a specific point on the detailed content outline. Did it do so in every language? Did it do so in every country?
Historically, these results have been reviewed by an IBLCE exam committee or chair. After every question has been reviewed, the “cut score” is established. Anyone who scores above the cut score passes the exam. This number varies each year based on a number of things, including how many questions were found to not be performing as expected. (If you really want to dig deep, check out the IBLCE website here to see past test analysis reports.)
Once the cut score is created, the individual scores must be made available online, and the mailing prepared, all for thousands of applicants. While IBLCE has paid staff to support operations, the work of the exam committee is completed by volunteers who commit many hours to the review process.
In case you have not marked your calendar yet, this process typically takes about 8 to 12 weeks, with September exam results posted by January 1 and April exam results available at the end of June.
Best wishes as you await your exam results!
Looking for a way to make the best use of your time while waiting for exam results? Start building your library now with free parent handouts from LER. Deepen your skills (it is never too early to start preparing to recertify!) with one of these online, on-demand conferences offered by LER: Breastfeeding as a Non-Birthing Person, Hormones of Lactation, or Comprehensive Review of Infant Suck.
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