DANB Protects the Security of Its Test Administration

Sept. 1, 2007
From time to time a story will surface in the news about someone’s effort to circumvent an organization’s credentialing process and yet still earn certification.

Story Courtesy of DANB

From time to time a story will surface in the news about someone’s effort to circumvent an organization’s credentialing process and yet still earn certification. Recently, a story surfaced about someone who apparently published dozens of legal exam questions anonymously on an Internet blog. By publicly posting the questions, others would be able to look up the answers prior to taking the test, which would nullify the integrity of the exam.

To avoid situations such as this, DANB carefully protects the administration of its exams as a means of protecting DANB Certification and the meaning of its national credentials in the dental assisting profession. The DANB credentials, CDA, COA, COMSA and CDPMA, are held in high esteem by the dental profession and the public because of the due diligence of the DANB organization to protect their integrity.

To apply for any of the DANB Certification exams, candidates must meet requirements from different pathways, depending on which Certification is pursued. DANB examines proof of graduation or clinical experience, with photocopies and signature documentation follow-through. If a candidate uses clinical experience as a pathway, the employer’s signature and license number and attestation to an assistant’s knowledge in the exam content areas are required. If the candidate applies for the DANB exam using graduation from an ADA Accredited Dental Assisting Program, proof of graduation or intent to graduate plus school code numbers from the current DANB Candidate Guides are required and used for verification.

Since DANB exams are administered to candidates in person, whether in written or computer format, identity checkpoints are built into the process. When a candidate chooses to test at a computerized test center, he/she is photographed and electronically fingerprinted. At written exam adminstrations, candidates must show two forms of identification, one with a photo and a signature and a second with either a signature or name imprinted. Security measures to prevent cheating are also in place.

Additionally, DANB requires that each person applying to take a DANB exam sign an application statement form holding the applicant legally culpable if the signed statement is not honored. One of the provisions of the form states:

I understand that the content of the Certification examination is proprietary and strictly confidential information. I hereby agree that I will not disclose, either directly or indirectly, any question or any part of any question from the examination to any person or entity. I understand that the unauthorized receipt, retention, possession, copying, or disclosure of any DANB examination materials, including but not limited to the content of any examination question, before, during, or after the examination, may subject me to legal action. Such legal action may result in monetary damages and/or disciplinary action including denial or revocation of Certification.

Careful protection of the DANB exam process preserves the meaning of Certification in the dental assisting profession. DANB works very hard to protect the integrity of the Certification process - for those who already have earned DANB Certification, for those who will earn it in the future, for state regulators who rely on the quality of DANB exams and the meaning of DANB credentials, and for the public, who rely on protection through state practice regulations.

DANB Certification affirms that the individual who has passed the exam is able to perform the tasks at hand. That is one of the main reasons why dental assistants seek out Certification from DANB and go through an intense process of study and training to pass DANB exams. They want their employers and patients to know they are well qualified to do the dental assisting tasks.

When a DANB CDA, COA, CDPMA or COMSA begins working on a dental patient, the patient can be confident that the procedures to be conducted will be carried out competently with skill, knowledge and ability that have been authenticated through a strict certification process. To subvert the testing process is to impair the oral health of patients.

When DANB opened its doors in 1948, it took on the responsibility of providing credentialing services to the dental community. DANB still takes that role seriously today as it promotes the value and integrity of its credentials in the oral health care community.