The focus of IDEA Grant Program funding is on innovative methods or techniques for assessing an individual’s knowledge, skills, or attitudes. The proposed research should extend current thinking or practice or pursue new assessment ideas. The focus should be on methods for evaluating individual candidate performance. Evaluation of learning from new instructional methods, for example, will not be competitive for IDEA funding because the focus rests with the merits of the instructional methods. Successful proposals are those that are consistent with the goals of the Joint Commission's current and future testing programs, and have the potential to make a direct contribution to those testing programs. 

IDEA funding is designed to support projects that demonstrate potential to advance knowledge and methods for assessing whether someone has the knowledge and cognitive skills necessary for entry-level practice. When evaluating IDEA proposals, reviewers consider important criteria such as the following:

  • Rationale for proposals should be sound and include background information that addresses how the proposed research is novel and will advance the assessment of the skills necessary for entry-level practice.
  • Sound study methodology that is implemented by a research team with demonstrated experience in those methods.
  • Research design components should include:
    1. a clear description of the research question and related background;
    2. a clear summary of the methods and all analyses to be employed;
    3. a description of how data are to be collected and organized to facilitate analysis; 
    4. explicit outcome objectives; and 
    5. reference to related published research. 
  • The qualifications of key project staff should be described by including separate Biographical Data forms.