As a best practice, certification organizations periodically conduct a practice analysis, also called a job analysis or role delineation study. The practice analysis serves as the foundation for a certification examination. The practice analysis is conducted by subject matter experts (SMEs) in consultation with a psychometrician and informed by extensive input by the certificant population via a detailed survey, or a practice analysis survey. The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®, or IBCLC®, a truly global credential, is currently held by over 33,000 professionals in 125 countries from diverse backgrounds, languages and cultures.
In July 2018, IBLCE established an international practice analysis task force, under the leadership of Christina Porucznik, Ph.D., MSPH, an epidemiologist and experienced researcher in breastfeeding.
In August 2018, IBLCE disseminated a public call to recruit members for the task force, and task force members were selected to reflect the IBCLC certificant population. The Chair, psychometrician and twelve individuals from around the world representing the diversity of the IBCLC community, held their initial meeting in March 2019.
The task force went through a laborious process described in detail in the Executive Summary of the Practice Analysis, linked below, and the practice analysis survey went out in all current IBCLC languages and was shared via IBLCE’s social media. The survey resulted in over 4,000 responses with 54% from the Americas & Israel Region (AMS), 27% from Europe, the Middle East & North Africa Region (EUME) and 19% from the Asia Pacific & Africa (APA) Region. Data was received in response to surveys in 17 languages.
Due to the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic and discussions in some parts of the world related to the use of gendered language, specific optional questions on these subjects were included in the practice analysis survey and data gathered. The SMEs carefully reviewed these data and also considered language usage in the international arena given the IBCLC’s truly global presence. See, e.g., the Global Breastfeeding Collective.
Informed by the data from over 4,000 survey respondents, and in consultation with the professional psychometric team and with input by subject matter experts, this process resulted in a Detailed Content Outline which will go into effect for IBCLC examination administrations in 2023 and beyond.