ABCDEP UPDATE: EP Certification
Posted April 24, 2013

American Board for Certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection (ABCDEP) UPDATE:

By David L. Johnson, President, ITG® Consultants, Inc.

There is some exciting news to report pertaining to the development of a the professional certification as envisioned by ABCDEP for those who provide personal protection for dignitaries and executives.  The examination committee has completed development of over 200 questions for the required test item bank.  Given that the board has directed that the examination consist of 150 questions, there will be plenty of questions for multiple versions of the examination, which bodes well for insuring the academic security of the exam.  There is still a lot of work to be done, each question will have to be validated and approved by the examination committee and the Psychometrician supporting the board’s efforts.  Once that is done, then the cut score (passing score) will be identified using what is known as the Angoff Method.  


The Angoff Method is the kind of study that test developers use to determine the passing percentage (cutscore) for an Exam.  The passing grade of a test can’t be decided arbitrarily; it must be justified with empirical data.  The Angoff method relies on subject-matter experts (SMEs) who examine the content of each test question (item) and then predict how many minimally-qualified candidates would answer the item correctly.  The average of the judges’ predictions for a test question becomes its predicted difficulty.  The sum of the predicted difficulty values for each item averaged across the judges and items on a test is the recommended Angoff cut score.


While this work is being done, the board’s Candidate Evaluation Committee will be flushing out a draft candidate handbook, firming up candidate, eligibility criteria, requirements and establishing the methodology for submission and evaluation of candidate applications to take the examination.  This handbook will advise potential candidates:

  1. What job tasks are subject to being tested

  2. How each citatory of job tasks is weighted in the exam

  3. Reference materials that may assist candidates in preparation for the examination.  

As the examination committee developed each test question, specific reference material was used and page number and quotes were noted so that the board would have adequate audit trail for each question.  Wherever possible, the committee used material that is available within the public domain.  However, candidates should note that professional, formal training in protective methodology that is legally defensible within the United States will be necessary to pass the examination as there is limited publically available texts on various issues pertaining to this profession.  For example, specific Attack On Principal Drills for both formations and vehicular / motorcade use have not be widely described in publically available printed media.


We anticipate that the remainder of this process will proceed rapidly and that there will be a beta test process established for the final draft examination to further validate the test.  The process and criteria for that beta testing process is also currently under development.  Stay tuned and periodically check the ABCDEP website, which is also to be updated with the material we are currently generating, for additional information and updates.  ITG will continue to keep you updated on this very worthwhile endeavor as the process moves forward as well.