Education is the development of personal intellect, ability or enhancement of one’s pleasure through learning knowledge or skills.  

Training is learning defined and specific skills used for specific economic or interest reasons and may include an outcome assessment. 

Board Certification is an independent and voluntary process, within occupations and professions, to show a minimum level of professional competency, and where there is:

·       The completion of an intensive, prescribed, customized and specific sequence of training in
        professional knowledge skills, and experience
·       A rigorous process of testing professional outcomes (not just a training’s outcomes)
·       Peer evaluation
·       An active and enforceable code of ethics.
·       A time-limited credential that must have periodic recertification
·       A continuing education requirement to remain current within the profession
·       Use of evidence-based guidelines, national standards and best practices.      


·       The primary programming focus of the NSEAI Board Certified Education Advocate credentialing is as an independent assessment of the knowledge, skills, and competencies required for competent performance in the profession of education advocacy.  It is a professional certification offered through a national professional association.  Board Certification is NOT just a training program who’s primary focus is on facilitating the accomplishment of intended learning outcomes, practicum and/or assessments.  

·       It is important to note that as a national professional association - NSEAI’s board certification is intended to measure and enhance continued competence through recertification requirements and is not just a certificate of attendance or completion of a single training.  

·       A board certification awards a professional designation, which is allowed to be use.  It demonstrates to the public, employers and peers the requisite, work-related knowledge, skills, and competencies as well as the other requirements established and met. (e.g., years of professional experience and other requisites).  

·       A professional Board Certification is open to ANYONE within the profession who meets prerequisites and is not based on membership or arbitrary screening.  The Board Certification application is an analysis to see if one has meet minimum requirements, after training and professional experience, to practice within the profession of education advocacy, based on professional standards developed by an limited/select profession.   

Program content developed in any Board Certification Program must reflect the knowledge, skill and competencies of a whole select profession (not just specific aspects of a profession or just in specific areas of training). NSEAI’s Board Certified Education Advocate program’s content is based on:  

·       Identifying and obtaining a high-level of understanding of the key concepts and fund of
        knowledge, in education advocacy, needed to address client needs and to protect client
·       Establishing the main concepts in education advocacy on which existing professional
        practices reside
·       Identifying the key interfaces between other professions and education advocacy
·       Identifying and analyzing client needs, demands, and problems regarding existing
        professional education advocacy industry practices.
·       Identifying areas that need development in education advocacy, and proposed expansion of
        professional tasks
·       Recommending controls and procedures to effectively manage education advocacy
        professional credentialing and the associated identified risks.
·       Professional education advocacy role/ act delineation
·       Specific professional education advocacy practice/ work / job/ task responsibility analysis.

Intended learning outcomes and associated knowledge, skills, and competencies are just one focus of a professional Board Certification Program and they are identified through a systematic analysis of the needs of:
·       Participants
·       Industry
·       Clients and
·       Other identified stakeholders.  

The content of a Board Certification program must be reviewed annually and updated, as needed, by interdisciplinary subject-matter experts and qualified individuals to remain current and accurate.  It must also be consistent with accepted instructional design, using pedagogical (process of learning) and andragogical (adult learning) theories of learning and standardized measurement principles that have been tested.  This is done at NSEAI.  

The instructional pedagogy used at NSEAI includes: the Bloom’s taxonomy and process of: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation to address the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning, as well as the conscious use of the 9 events of instruction, hierarchical analysis and formative analysis.     



The professional association’s governing body provides board certification programming oversight. The professional association represents the profession. This body is charged with oversight and professional updating of the certification program.  

A board certification program also sets professional standards that are enforceable.  A training program is not professionally comprehensive.  It does not set professional standards and even if they publish them, they cannot enforce them, thus they are not professional standards.  

Others outside of the select profession of education advocacy, or other programs often oversee training programs, and may have conflicts of interest associated with the profession of education advocacy, as a profession.  

The board certification governing body is administratively autonomous from other select professions or entities and maintains internal control over ALL decisions related to certification activities, oversight responsibilities and assessments related to the board certificate program. This does not occur in some training programs.   The board certification program is overseen and conducted directly by the board certifying authority or by approved educational sponsors who meet the standards required for the certificate programming.    


NSEAI and other board certifying professional associations identify and develop assessments that are aligned with required professional education vs. providing just training about aspects of the profession and evaluate only the accomplishments of the training’s learning outcome  

The purpose of the Board Certification assessment process is to evaluate mastery of the knowledge, skills, and competencies required for a professional certification, This Board Certification assessment is done through initial baseline pretesting, formative and summative assessments versus just an outcomes based assessment using just any generally accepted assessment method.  NSEAI did formative assessments, which included the baseline pretesting of the professional fund of knowledge, which included a diagnostic evaluation, with a remedial and professional improvement focus. A summative program assessment was also used to evaluate the accomplishment of the intended learning outcomes.  This is very different than just providing trainings with listed outcomes.  

NSEAI and board certifying program providers ensure that the environments in which the assessment is conducted, developed, evaluated and scored are consistent with accepted measurement principles and legally defensible. This is not done at training programs.  

NSEAI formal testing scores are normed and criterion based. The NSEAI norms were established by statistical analysis of participants. The standardization in testing provides a performance diagnosis that is fair, efficient, creates accountability, is predictive, improves future professional performance, prevents grade inflation, and is unbiased.  This process is not done with training program assessments.  

Board certifying associations should use authentic assessment methods. Closed-book assessments relying entirely on memory and are now recognized as an artificial testing environment for professionals.  Many training programs use this method. They do not reflect the type of challenges faced in professional application of knowledge.  Many universities and board certifying associations use open-book assessments that are formal authentic examinations that reflect the ability to use information to solve problems and carry out tasks.  Authentic examinations evaluate higher-cognitive and functional professional skills, concept understanding with application to novel situations, analysis of components and relationships, and demonstrate synthesis of the material, vs. just memorization.   NSEAI’s authentic assessments are administered in a secure electronically proctored environment  that is consistent with this level of examination.  Successful completion of the summative practicum assessments are also required to receive the NSEAI Board Certification. 


NSEAI’s programming assessment was validated through:
·       A formal education advocacy study
·       Job/practice analysis with role delineation conducted in accordance with accepted practice.

·       Listing of the knowledge, skills and competencies needed for participants to accomplish the intended learning outcomes
·        Identification of how the specified knowledge, skills, and competencies are covered by the assessment are outlined  

Assessment validation findings focused NSEAI curriculum committee in the development of the knowledge, skills, and competencies represented on the examinations. Assessment content is periodically revised, as needed, so that it continues to reflect current professional practice in education advocacy.  

NSEAI’s board certification program uses an assessment standard methodogy professionally accepted for setting the passing standard that is linked to performance, and proficiency, accomplishment of stated learning outcomes as well as the professional level of knowledge. Assessments are consistent with the intended use of the knowledge.  This is often arbitrary or not done with training programs. NSEAI is the governing body for the board certification program and retains authority for setting/approving the passing standard.    

Select professional associations offer board certification and credentialing.  Training programs have no credentials.  Board Certificants are awarded an acronym or letters for use after their names to signify that they have obtained and maintained a professional level of credentialing, through a professional association. Board Certificants may note their credentials on their resume and business cards, as a professional certification.

Board Certification program providers publish an explicit statement regarding the primary purpose of the certification program (e.g., to protect the public, to provide employers with a tool for identifying qualified individuals…). They also provide guidance to the public as to what may be inferred about a certificant as related to the stated purpose of the board certification and the type of assessments, evaluation, scoring procedures, and standard-setting methodologies utilized, continuing education requirements and public complaint procedures. Training programs do not do this and if they do it is without the supporting infrastructure or a select professional association's authority. Association boards also cannot represent multiple professions and are unique to, and manged only by the profession it represents.   

There are many good training programs and a training program attendance certificate may be noted on a resume and should be  noted only as attendance. Training program participants noting their training completion in any other way than a training are, "unprofessional and unethical", per all the national credentialing standards organizations. 
Use of language like:
     “I am a graduate of ___ program.",
     "I am ___ certified education advocate.", and
     "I am a _____ trained educated advocate."
infer and misrepresent the program coming from a certifying professional association board, which is required for board certification.

These inferences and gross misrepresentations are inconsistent with the stated purpose of the attendance certificate and the type of assessments used, even if they include a practicum component. Programs offering a training certificate, which are not defined as anything other than attendance certificates, are misleading the public.       (See the Institute for Credentialing Excellence)    

NSEAI Board Certifications expire. They will lapse at the end of a predetermined time period if recertification requirements are not met. Specified activities are designed to measure continued competence and are required. This sets the NSEAI Board Certification apart from even the best training.  A training taken 10 years ago will not validate that an education advocate is up to date with current practices, laws, research based programming and trends. Training programs can not REQUIRE continuing education nor can they ENFORCE continuing education or manage a public complaint and decertification process. A professional association’s board certification program does.  

Board Certificants must be subject to disciplinary policies by a select homogeneous professional association. Training programs do not have disciplinary policies for it’s professional members. Advertising voluntary compliance to a professional standard is misleading to the public since it is inferred that it is enforceable.      





A step toward board certification is the completion of up to 30 continuing education hours, dependent upon certification level. These CEUs must be related to special education and are outside of and in addition to the NSEAI approved training.  This provides for an increase in diversified training, specialization and background fund of knowledge.   TRAINING A step toward board certification is the completion of a comprehensive, 12 course training program, through NSEAI or an approved provider.  

Candidates for board certification must pass 6 hours of exams. This demonstrates the cognitive ability to practice as an education advocate.  

Practicum experience evaluation is required to qualify for the BCEA credential. Candidates may complete a minimum of 3 different levels, Consultant, Diplomat or Fellow levels. BCEA supervision is available and a broad range of experience in regions, school districts and number of clients is required to promote analytical ability, competency and professional communication skills.  

Additional qualifications are required that include professional reference(s), agreement to the NSEAI Practice Principals and Guidelines and code of ethics, attestation to not provide false, misleading or inaccurate information and, lack of previous disciplinary action from any other professional or governmental organization is done to assure a minimum level of accepted professionalism.  

Members must also demonstrate current active practice to continue to use the BCEA credential privileges. Continuing education is required every year to help maintain the BCEA’s knowledge base. NSEAI allows BCEAs to return and audit the Board Certified Education Advocate Training Program (for a below cost fee) so to encourage updated skill development


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