Become a volunteer Test Constructor

The ADA seeks volunteer Test Constructors. Find out how to lend your time and expertise to support critical dental exam programs – and the next generation.

Test Constructor responsibilities

Your valuable knowledge and expertise can contribute to the continued excellence of your profession. Volunteer your time to ensure that the next generation of health professionals possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to practice safely. Volunteers also receive CE credit.

Examination programs rely on volunteer subject matter experts (SMEs) to help create accurate, reliable, valid, and fair test content. A “subject matter expert” is broadly defined as anyone possessing expert knowledge on a particular subject, such as dentistry, dental hygiene, biomedical science, or related fields. 

With the assistance of ADA test development staff, test constructors are asked to complete tasks such as:

  • Writing and reviewing items
  • Writing and providing case materials
  • Reviewing exam forms
  • Submitting clinical images
  • Writing reading passages
  • Drawing visuospatial graphics

Volunteers do not need prior test development experience to apply. Department of Testing Services (DTS) staff will provide all necessary training and resources. 

Why should I volunteer?
Volunteering to serve on a test construction team is not only a great way to contribute to your profession and earn CE credit, but it is also a unique and rewarding experience. 
Additionally, Test Constructor Team meetings give you an opportunity to meet peers from across the United States. While COVID-19 concerns mean that all meetings will be held via videoconference for the foreseeable future, you can still build connections with your peers. 

How much time is required? Do I need to travel?
Volunteer Test Constructors are selected into a Test Construction Team (TCT) that balances the needs of the program with volunteer availability. These TCTs are formed for a single specific meeting, which means that the teams can vary from one meeting to the next. 

If you are selected, you will be invited to a meeting. For the foreseeable future, these meetings will take place via videoconference. Each exam program meeting typically lasts for two to three days. Test constructors may be approved to serve on a TCT for more than one exam program, and may be asked to attend more than one meeting in a given year. Requests to attend meetings as a test constructor are typically sent at least four months in advance of a meeting, and we ask that you confirm whether or not you are able to attend the meeting in a timely manner. In addition, continuing education credit may be available to volunteers for their participation. (For details, please contact curtisa@ada.org).

Who should apply?
Each exam requires different areas of expertise. As such, we must recruit a variety of subject matter experts in both generalized and specialized dentistry, for both educators and practitioners. In addition, there are often volunteer opportunities in areas such as biomedical sciences, as well as basic sciences and mathematics. 
Ideally, volunteer Test Constructors exhibit these characteristics:

  • Ability to be flexible and adaptable
  • Ability to work with different groups
  • Intellectual curiosity and openness
  • Writing and communication skills
  • Range of knowledge and skills
  • Interest and enthusiasm for the role
  • Receptive to feedback from peers and staff

Who is eligible to apply?
While some volunteer opportunities do require a doctorate level degree, there are various opportunities for volunteers with a master’s level degree. Please see the Test Constructor Teams and Selection Criteria (PDF) document for full details.

When can I apply?
Applications are collected during the first quarter of each year. Most TCTs are assembled in the second quarter of each year (April through June), but additional TCTs are sometimes created as needed.  

Which exams rely on Volunteer Test Constructors? 
DTS provides professional psychometric and test development services for high-stakes testing programs in dentistry and healthcare, including:

National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)
Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE)
Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination (DLOSCE)
Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT)
Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

Volunteers are assigned based on their expertise and interests.

What if I have other questions?
Contact DTS at nbexams@ada.org to answer any other questions. 

Submit your images

Don’t have time to volunteer? We always need images to use within the exams. Upload your case images to the Image Portal.

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