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by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
Let Debbie answer your
Activity Questions
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

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NCCAP Finalizing National Exam
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

Standardized tests play an important role in measuring knowledge and assessing the
student’s understanding of a pre-defined set of skills and information.  The National
Certification Council of Activity Professionals has been working on a national exam for a
number of years.  It will be part of the NCCAP certification process and the final step in
achieving Activity Director Certified (ADC) or Activity Consultant Certified (ACC).
Projected test implementation date is January 1st, 2012, meaning any initial application
for ADC or ACC after that date – will require passing the NCCAP national exam.  
The content of the NCCAP National Exam will be driven by specific components defined
in the curriculum for the Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals,
commonly known as the MEPAP.  This is a 180 hour educational program, with a 180
hour practicum experience.  The MEPAP curriculum consists of 20 Core Content areas
and 163 Core Competencies.  Each MEPAP instructor follows this content, guiding their
students to meet consistent standards.  The educational goal is to have consistent
educational standards for all activity professionals across the country and now –

The NCCAP exam began with over 1800 questions submitted by MEPAP instructors
from all over the country.   These initial questions were screened by the NCCAP
Education Committee for appropriateness and relevance.  Vicki Surash, MEPAP
Instructor and Consultant from Virginia, then corresponded each question with a Core
Content area.  As you can imagine, going through 1800 questions and placing them
within 20 Core Content areas was no easy task.  The questions were reviewed again by
members of the NCCAP Education Committee.  The questions were associated
specifically to one of 163 Core Competencies to ensure the questions are relevant to
the MEPAP Curriculum.  Finally, each question was validated with a specific evidenced
based reference to ensure question content was valid and accurate.

Creating a valid and reliable standardized exam is a monumental task.  To ensure the
test measures knowledge consistently and fairly, each question must be considered
from the perspective of reliability and validity.  To have a valid test, the questions should
be appropriate, meaningful and useful.  NCCAP is working toward that end by ensuring
each question is related to a specific Core Competency defined in the MEPAP
curriculum and is supported by evidenced based research.  To have a reliable test, one
must ensure that a prepared activity professional in NJ will view the test questions in
the same way that a prepared activity professional from Ohio may view the test
questions.  Reliability is more difficult to ensure as each person views the test
questions from their personal perspective.

NCCAP is currently working on the reliability of the exam through “pilot exams” being
offered to current ADC and ACC applicants.  Many MEPAP instructors have volunteered
their students for the Pilot Exam project.  These students are not only taking the exam
but offering their insight as to the wording within the questions and ease in
understanding what is being asked within the questions.  The results have been
invaluable to the NCCAP Education Committee; allowing revision of certain questions
to ensure understanding and content is consistent and reliable.  

By January 1st, 2012, the National Certification Council of Activity Professionals will
have developed a reliable and valid standardized test. The test will be administered by
a third party testing company with a secure proctor.  This test will assist in assessing
the knowledge and competencies of new activity professionals and provide a new
benchmark in professional achievement and recognition.  

Anyone who is currently NCCAP certified, at any level, or becomes certified at any level
prior to January 1st, 2012 – will not have to take the new exam.  If you are AAC or ADPC
certified prior to January 1st, 2012, you will not have to take the exam to complete the
level change to ADC or ACC.   If you would like personal assistance in determining your
certification path, feel free to e-mail   If you need the
NCCAP application, I can e-mail that to you or you can access it at